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Approaching Shakespeare

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.

# Episode Title Description People Date Media Files
1 Creative Commons Othello First in Emma Smith's Approaching Shakespeare lecture series; looking at the central question of race and its significance in the play. Emma Smith 18 Oct 2010
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2 Creative Commons The Tragedie Of Othello, the Moore of Venice. ePub version of text THE TRAGEDIE OF Othello, the Moore of Venice. / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 18 Oct 2010
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3 Creative Commons Henry V The second lecture in the Approaching Shakespeare series looks at King Henry V, and asks whether his presentation in the play is entirely positive. Emma Smith 20 Oct 2010
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4 Creative Commons The Life of Henry the Fift. ePub version of text The Life of Henry the Fifth. / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 20 Oct 2010
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5 Creative Commons Measure for Measure The third Approaching Shakespeare lecture, on Measure for Measure, focuses on the vexed question of this uncomic comedy's genre. Emma Smith 27 Oct 2010
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6 Creative Commons Measvre, For Measure. ePub version of text MEASVRE, For Measure. / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 27 Oct 2010
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7 Creative Commons Macbeth In this fourth Approaching Shakespeare lecture the question is one of agency: who or what makes happen the things that happen in Macbeth? Emma Smith 02 Nov 2010
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8 Creative Commons The Tragedie Of Macbeth. ePub version of text THE TRAGEDIE OF MACBETH. / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 02 Nov 2010
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9 Creative Commons The Winter's Tale How we can make sense of a play that veers from tragedy to comedy and stretches credulity in its conclusion? That's the topic for this fifth Approaching Shakespeare lecture on The Winter's Tale. Emma Smith 09 Nov 2010
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10 Creative Commons The Winters Tale. ePub version of text The Winter's Tale. / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 09 Nov 2010
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11 Creative Commons Titus Andronicus 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. Emma Smith 19 Oct 2011
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12 Creative Commons The Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus. ePub version of text The Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 19 Oct 2011
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13 Creative Commons Twelfth Night The seventh Approaching Shakespeare lecture takes a minor character in Twelfth Night - Antonio - and uses his presence to open up questions of sexuality, desire and the nature of romantic comedy. Emma Smith 20 Oct 2011
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14 Creative Commons Twelfe Night, Or what you will. ePub version of text Twelfe Night, Or what you will. / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 20 Oct 2011
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15 Creative Commons Richard II Lecture eight in the Approaching Shakespeare series asks the question that structures Richard II: does the play suggest Henry Bolingbroke's overthrow of the king was justified? Emma Smith 01 Nov 2011
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16 Creative Commons The life and death of King Richard the Second. ePub version of text The life and death of King Richard the Second. / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 01 Nov 2011
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17 Creative Commons Antony and Cleopatra What kind of tragedy is this play, with its two central figures rather than a singular hero? The ninth lecture in the Approaching Shakespeare series tries to find out. Emma Smith 10 Nov 2011
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18 Creative Commons The Tragedie Of Anthonie, and Cleopatra. ePub version of text THE TRAGEDIE OF Anthonie, and Cleopatra. / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 10 Nov 2011
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19 Creative Commons The Tempest That the character of Prospero is a Shakespearean self-portrait is a common reading of The Tempest: this tenth Approaching Shakespeare lecture asks whether that is a useful reading of the play. Emma Smith 14 Nov 2011
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20 Creative Commons The Tempest. ePub version of text THE TEMPEST. / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 14 Nov 2011
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21 Creative Commons Henry IV part 1 Like generations of theatre-goers, this lecture concentrates on the (large) figure of Sir John Falstaff and investigates his role in Henry IV part 1. Lecture 11 in the Approaching Shakespeare series. Emma Smith 16 Nov 2011
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22 Creative Commons The First Part of Henry the Fourth, with the Life and Death of Henry Sirnamed Hot-spvrre. ePub version of text The First Part of Henry the Fourth, with the Life and Death of HENRY Sirnamed HOT-SPVRRE. / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 16 Nov 2011
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23 Creative Commons The Comedy of Errors Lecture 12 in the Approaching Shakespeare series asks how seriously we can take the farcical exploits of Comedy of Errors, drawing out the play's serious concerns with identity and selfhood. Emma Smith 23 Jan 2012
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24 Creative Commons The Comedie of Errors. ePub version of text The Comedie of Errors. / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 23 Jan 2012
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25 Creative Commons Richard III In this thirteenth lecture in the Approaching Shakespeare series the focus is on the inevitability of the ending of Richard III: does the play endorse Richmond's final victory? Emma Smith 25 Jan 2012
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26 Creative Commons The Tragedy of Richard the Third: with the Landing of Earle Richmond, and the Battell at Bosworth Field. ePub version of text The Tragedy of Richard the Third: with the Landing of Earle Richmond, and the Battell at Bosworth Field. / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 25 Jan 2012
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27 Creative Commons Pericles, Prince of Tyre 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. Emma Smith 01 Feb 2012
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28 Creative Commons King John At the heart of King John is the death of his rival Arthur: this fifteenth lecture in the Approaching Shakespeare series looks at the ways history and legitimacy are complicated in this plotline. Emma Smith 10 Feb 2012
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29 Creative Commons The life and death of King Iohn. ePub version of text The life and death of King Iohn. / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 10 Feb 2012
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30 Creative Commons King Lear 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. Emma Smith 22 Feb 2012
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31 Creative Commons The Tragedie Of King Lear. ePub version of text THE TRAGEDIE OF KING LEAR. / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 22 Feb 2012
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32 Creative Commons As You Like It 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. Emma Smith 23 Oct 2012
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33 Creative Commons As you Like it. ePub version of text As you Like it. / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 23 Oct 2012
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34 Creative Commons Hamlet 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. Emma Smith 23 Oct 2012
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35 Creative Commons The tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke. ePub version of text The tragedie of HAMLET, Prince of Denmarke. / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 23 Oct 2012
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36 Creative Commons Much Ado About Nothing 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. Emma Smith 30 Oct 2012
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37 Creative Commons Much adoe about Nothing. ePub version of text Much adoe about Nothing. / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 30 Oct 2012
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38 Creative Commons A Midsummer Night's Dream This lecture on A Midsummer Night's Dream uses modern and early modern understandings of dreams to uncover a play less concerned with marriage and more with sexual desire. Emma Smith 05 Nov 2012
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39 Creative Commons A Midsommer Nights Dreame. ePub version of text A MIDSOMMER Nights Dreame. / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 05 Nov 2012
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40 Creative Commons Taming of the Shrew Emma Smith uses evidence of early reception and from more recent productions to discuss the question of whether Katherine is tamed at the end of the play. Emma Smith 09 Nov 2012
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41 Creative Commons The Taming of the Shrew. ePub version of text THE Taming of the Shrew. / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 09 Nov 2012
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42 Creative Commons The Merchant of Venice This lecture on The Merchant of Venice discusses the ways the play's personal relationships are shaped by models of financial transaction, using the casket scenes as a central example. Emma Smith 20 Nov 2012
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43 Creative Commons The Merchant of Venice. ePub version of text The Merchant of Venice. / Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. William Shakespeare 20 Nov 2012
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