English - Free topic F: Shakespeare and the Uniting of the Kingdoms

Course content

We shall in this course look at Shakespeare’s plays in the light of political and constitutional concerns over the ideas of nation, kingship, sovereignty, authority, law and loyalty (among others). It may be noted that some of these words carry considerable force to this day. The formation in Tudor and Jacobean times of what would become the United Kingdom was the source of much anxiety then, and similar anxieties attend the future of the United Kingdom in our own age.  


The first half of the course will be devoted to the cycle of four history plays— Richard II, Henry IV Parts One and Two and Henry V—and in the second half we will examine two of the great tragedies: Hamlet and Macbeth. It is striking that these tragedies, along with King Lear, are concerned with the question of succession. In succession lies not only the continuity of institutions and the peaceful transfer of authority but also the identity of the state and the stability of the symbols of the nation.



Primary Reading:

Richard II, ed. A. Dawson & P. Yachnin

Henry IV Part One, ed. David Bevington

Henry IV Part Two, ed. René Weis

Henry V, ed. Gary Taylor

Hamlet, ed. G. R. Hibbard

Macbeth, ed. N. Brooke

All in Oxford Shakespeare edition (Oxford World’s Classics).


Secondary Reading:

To be decided

This course only leads to exams Free Topic 4 with Written and Oral Proficiency in English.

Kurset kan også bruges Frit emne A (inkl. skriftlig sprogfærdighed) og Frit emne B (inkl. mundtlig sprogfærdighed) under Kandidatdelen af sidefaget i engelsk 2019, samt Frit emne (inkl. skriftlig og mundtlig sprogfærdighed) under Kandidatdelen af sidefaget i engelsk 2020.

Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 353,5
  • English
  • 409,5


Course number
See exam description
Programme level
Full Degree Master
Master’s minor subject

1 semester

See schedule
Study board of English, Germanic and Romance Studies
Contracting department
  • Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator
  • Charles Lock   (4-6e71656d426a776f306d7730666d)
Saved on the 10-05-2023

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