Each lecture in this series focuses on a single play by Shakespeare, and employs a range of different approaches to try to understand a central critical question about it. Rather than providing overarching readings or interpretations, the series aims to show the variety of different ways we might understand Shakespeare, the kinds of evidence that might be used to strengthen our critical analysis, and, above all, the enjoyable and unavoidable fact that Shakespeare's plays tend to generate our questions rather than answer them.
This lecture takes up a detail from Shakespeare’s late Roman tragedy Coriolanus to ask about the representation of character, the use of sources and the genre of tragedy. This podcast is suitable for school and college students.
Emma Smith asks why the characters are so quick to believe the self-proclaimed villain Don John, drawing on gender and performance criticism to think about male bonding, the genre of comedy, and the impulses of modern performance.
The fact that father and son share the same name in Hamlet is used to investigate the play's nostalgia, drawing on biographical criticism and the religious and political history of early modern England.
Asking 'what happens in As You Like It', this lecture considers the play's dramatic structure and its ambiguous use of pastoral, drawing on performance history, genre theory, and eco-critical approaches.
Showing how generations of critics - and Shakespeare himself - have rewritten the ending of King Lear, this sixteenth Approaching Shakespeare lecture engages with the question of tragedy and why it gives pleasure.
Pericles has been on the margins of the Shakespearean canon: this fourteenth lecture in the Approaching Shakespeare series shows some of its self-conscious artistry and contemporary popularity. This podcast has been re-recorded due to technical problems with the original recording. There is no accompanying eBook for this lecture as Pericles is not included in the First Folio.
Focusing in detail on one particular scene, and on critical responses to it, this sixth Approaching Shakespeare lecture on Titus Andronicus deals with violence, rhetoric, and the nature of dramatic sensationalism.