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Shakespeare Matters

University of Adelaide via edX

students interested

Shakespeare’s work has influenced the way we think about our relationships and ourselves. His plays are still as relevant today as when they were written almost 400 years ago.

In this introductory course, you will learn how Shakespeare uses emotion in his plays, how his characters experience and manipulate emotions, and how the emotional resonance of the plays makes them powerfully relevant to the modern world.

As you follow and engage with the emotional journeys of characters in tragedy, comedy, tragicomedy, and history; you will discover patterns of plot, action, and speech that will help you appreciate, understand, and discuss Shakespeare’s plays.

Each week of the course will focus on a different emotion. You’ll cover the range of emotions found in Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, The Winter’s Tale, and King Henry V.

This course includes interactive activities, and interviews with a range of people engaged creatively and professionally with Shakespeare’s plays. You’ll be encouraged to interpret Shakespeare in your own way - to find ‘your Shakespeare.’

You will learn how to read a Shakespeare play and gain the tools you need to interpret its language. You will also have the opportunity to experience what it’s like to direct scenes from the plays. And you’ll learn about the various kinds of Shakespearean drama, and the dramatic and poetic techniques Shakespeare uses to investigate the human condition.

Taught by

Dr. Lucy Potter , Dr. Joy McEntee , Galen Cuthbertson , Dr. Edward Palmer , Aidan Coleman , Mahendra Chitrarasu and Prasanna Nidumolu
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What are MOOCs?
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These are free online courses from universities around the world (eg. Stanford Harvard MIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
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How do these MOOCs or free online courses work?
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Review for edX's Shakespeare Matters
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5.0 2 months ago
by Karen Carlson completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
I greatly enjoyed this course and found it surprisingly enlightening. It focuses on the context and emotional character of two speeches per play. Lots of opportunity to express one's views is provided (required, even) and the final assignment includes opportunity to do your own reading of one of the speeches. Three of the plays were very familiar to me; one was totally unfamiliar, and another was one I expected to skip - sorry, I'm bored by the history plays - but it turned out to deliver a real insight into Henry V and the role of emotions. Compact, fun little course packs a lot of punch.

FMI see more detailed post on my personal blog at

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