Shakespeare, Rome and Modernity: Exploring Politics and Ethics in Julius Caesar and Coriolanus

G. Hamilton and J. Caldwell. “Coriolanus, Act V, Scene iii.” Case oversize YS 65 .11

G. Hamilton and J. Caldwell. “Coriolanus, Act V, Scene iii.” Case oversize YS 65 .11

2012-13 Pilot Project Seminar
Thursday, October 18, 2012Friday, October 19, 2012

9 am - 3 pm

Room B92

Led by Amelia Zurcher, Marquette University
Programs for Teachers
Chicago Teachers as Scholars

Shakespeare’s Roman tragedies Coriolanus and Julius Caesar feature larger than life heroes, both troubled and troubling, whose stories raise political and ethical questions still important today: what are the costs and benefits of charismatic individual leadership? Is political constancy a strength or a liability? What is the virtuous government’s responsibility toward poverty? What should the relation be between military and political leadership? Is empire consistent with republicanism? With democracy? In this seminar we will explore both the complexity with which the plays raise these questions and also some of their contexts in early modern political and social history. Just as Shakespeare reads Rome as model and foil for his own social and political era, so we will read Shakespeare in part as a lens on modernity. In addition, we will consider some aspects of Ralph Fiennes’s 2011 film of Coriolanus.

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Cost and Registration Information 


For registration information please contact Rachel Rooney at