Identity in Shakespeare: Much Ado and Merry Wives

Class Name Identity in Shakespeare: Much Ado and Merry Wives
Age Range none
Brief Description

The class will address two Shakespeare comedies, Much Ado About Nothing and Merry Wives of Windsor. Students will examine research on the roles of men and women in the Elizabethan as well as weekly discussion of scholarly criticism of Much Ado and Merry Wives. In this class students will engage in deep analysis and explore the plays through class discussion, student presentations, and performance.

What can the teenage students, themselves approaching adulthood and establishing their own identities, learn from these plays? The study of gender roles in Shakespeare’s comedies provides an excellent way to approach this discussion.


Week 1: Begin Much Ado About Nothing, quote quiz, student presentation

Week 2: Finish Reading Much Ado; quote quiz, student presentation, scene work

Week 3: Class discussion, scene work and student presentation

Week 4: rehearsal and student presentation

Week 5: Rehearsal, performance and student presentation

Week 6: Introduce Merry Wives, quote quiz, student presentation

Week 7: Finish reading Merry Wives, quote quiz, student presentation

Week 8: Class discussion, scene work and student presentation

Week 9: rehearsal and student presentation

Week 10: rehearsal, performance and student presentation

Skills Required This class is for students who are ready for heavy reading, deep analysis, group discussion, group projects, and some performance.
Homework Requirements Read and annotate plays and critical essays; complete study charts; quote quizzes for each act; write personal response paper and student presentations; and participate in student performances. Each student will be assigned at least one critical essay to read and prepare for both a presentation and class discussion over the course of the session. The Medinas will host a SHAKESPEARE MOVIE NIGHT, Saturday, April 2. We will have a potluck supper and watch Much Ado About Nothing. A second movie night to watch Merry Wives may be added during the semester. On Friday, Feb. 5, during lunch, we will screen Viola, a 2013 Argentinian film that follows a young woman who joins a small Shakespeare theater company in Buenos Aires and becomes entangled in a seductive roundelay of romantic dalliances, intrigue and revelation. The film is 65 minutes.
Cost/Materials $20 for Folger's Library texts which I will buy, and copying costs.
Teacher  Maria Galo; mariatgalo at hotmail dot com
Teacher Bio Maria Galo has taught nearly 20 homeschool coop humanities courses in the 10+ years she has homeschooled her 3 children. She is a former editor and reporter at the Chicago Tribune, one of the best jobs ever because she could report on topics that interested her; then, turn around and write about it for Tribune readers. Teaching coop classes is tied for best job because she can dive deep to learn about interesting subjects; then, turn around to share her passion with young people. These last two years of Shakespeare have found her immersed in the 16th century, examining interesting connections between the plays and Elizabethan life. Her oldest son is a homeschool graduate, Wesleyan University Class of 2019; her second son, 16, is embracing interesting community college classes, and her daughter Elizabeth, 13, is in her 6th year of HSGS coop classes.
Class Size Min/Max

1; no maximum

Comments  While there is no age minimum in this class, students must be eager for close, textual analysis and discussions of symbolism from literary, societal, cultural, historical, political perspectives. Students must be able to see perspectives outside their own personal experience. As this is a group class, students are relying on each other for in-depth discussion and group projects. We only have 10 class meetings, so students need to make every effort to attend each class and be prepared for each class. A note to the instructor noting a student’s absence is a basic courtesy. A student who is unprepared for class or who does not attend compromises the education of the other students who have made the commitment to fully participate.
Parent Contact Maria Galo; mariatgalo at hotmail dot com