An exciting way into the contexts of pre-1770 drama texts. The cultural, social and historical context of the plays of this period are introduced, using substantial extracts from many of the set texts.
- Uses visual and textual material from the period and by modern historians, to introduce contexts, including paintings of Elizabeth I and James I, theatre designs and short quotations from writers and critics.
- Explores the main thematic preoccupations of Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatists, including religion, magic and superstition, order and disorder, gender, class, science and learning.
- Introduces ideas about comic and tragic genres, exploring their roots in Classical forms of drama.
- Includes extracts from set texts such as The Duchess of Malfi, The White Devil, Dr Faustus, Volpone, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night and Antony and Cleopatra.
- Offers a case study of performances of a play through the ages, allowing students to speculate on how context affects the way texts are staged and interpreted.
- Offers modern critical readings, with activities to support understanding of different critical positions.
- Promotes close reading of the language of the plays.
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