“Very Tragical Mirth”: Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream
These two familiar plays are closely connected—written around 1595 and both dealing with “star-crossed lovers.” How does Shakespeare turn this subject first into a tragedy of youth and age, with comic characters quite prominent, and then into a glorious comedy, which includes a parody of Romeo and Juliet but also darker issues and questions? We’ll look at both plays, first separately, then together. The fifth class session will include a discussion of the performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which will be performed in late April at the university.
INSTRUCTOR: Miriam Gilbert is professor emerita of English, having taught at the UI from 1969 to 2013. She still enjoys studying and teaching Shakespeare and goingto see Shakespeare in performance, especially in her second home,Stratford-upon-Avon.