Course Detail



352 Shakespeare and the Problem of Evil


Shakespeare's plays dominated the stage during an era when theologians were struggling to account for human evil and disagreeing as to its origins and nature. If all creation stemmed from God and if God was absolutely good, how could God be responsible for bringing evil into the world? If an all-knowing God could foresee the fall of Adam and Eve, why, with His infinite power, didn't he stop it? And what are the boundaries of their original sin? Is it inherited or, rather, inevitable after birth? Can a baby be free of it-innocent? Although discussions in this class won't be confined to such questions alone, we'll focus on Shakespeare's villains and the mixed goodness of his heroes, with an eye to his ever-evolving exploration of what motivates human behavior. Titles may include Much Ado about Nothing, As You Like It, Measure for Measure, Henry V, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, Cymbeline, The Tempest.


(Offered Spring 2016.)

First-year students require permission of the instructor.