TAS: Shakespeare's Dysfuntional Families

Programs for Teachers
Chicago Teachers as Scholars
Thursday, May 17, 2012 to Friday, May 18, 2012

9 am - 3 pm

Wait List Only

Room B92 (May 17) and Towner Fellows Lounge (May 18)

Defiant daughters and wayward sons, domineering dads and absent mothers, scheming sisters and backstabbing brothers—Shakespeare’s plays are filled with all manner of problematic and contentious family relationships. In the comedies, family disputes are eventually resolved and estranged relatives reconcile with one another, but in the tragedies, dysfunctional family relationships have dire consequences: siblin TAS 2011-12 Seminar Schedule Page 4 to murder and suicide, and overzealous fathers and husbands suffocate (literally and metaphorically) their wives and daughters. This seminar explores contentious family dynamics in four of Shakespeare’s major tragedies: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, and the most extreme family drama of them all, King Lear. We will explore the ways in which familial conflicts intersect with the larger social and political contests within the plays, considering how family dynamics reflect, shape, and conflict with the plays’ gender and racial politics, their explorations of governance and loyalty, and their representations of the cultural role of the theater. Alongside the plays, if time permits, we will examine a few cinematic versions of these plays to see how Shakespeare’s dysfunctional families appear on the big screen.

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Seminar led by Susan Phillips, Northwestern University

Chicago Teachers as Scholars is a program exclusively for Chicago Public Schools teachers.

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