Forests, Fools, Princes, and Ghouls: Intro to Shakespeare’s Plays

From: $85.00 / month for 3 months

Grades: 8th–12th

Live class:  Mondays, 4:30-5:30 EST

Course dates: August 26th-October 7th

Price: $225

Instructor: Dr. Lauren P. Bailes

Instructor email:

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Course Description

See Reviews of Instructor Dr. Lauren P. Bailes

Iambic pentameter. Dramatis personae. Soliloquy. Would it make you feel better to know that these are, more simply, a pattern of syllables, a list of characters, and a long speech? That’s exactly the kind of decoding we’ll do in this seven-week course. Your students will read two of Shakespeare’s most famous plays – A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet. Not only will we read for plot, but we’ll also use literary tools as lenses by which to understand how the plays offer humor, insights into human nature, and political commentary. Throughout the course, students will complete several short close readings as well as a movie poster or trailer, dramaturgical analysis of a scene, an analytic essay, and a soliloquy performance. As Shakespeare is one of the most cited and referenced authors in the English language, this course will provide a sound base for all further literary study, including both the AP Language and Literature exams.

Course Structure

Over the seven weeks of this course, we’ll read and work with two plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet. Our live classes will be Monday afternoons and all assignments will also be due on Mondays. I will be available to answer questions or provide additional information throughout the week via email or Zoom. Assignments will increase in scope over the course, starting with short close reading assignments, and concluding with two creative projects and an analytic paper.

Who should enroll?

This class is aimed at 8th-12th graders. This class will require several hours of reading and writing each week. Additionally, students who have had previous experience with literary and analytic writing are most likely to be successful in this class.

Technology Requirements:

  • High speed, broadband Internet
  • Sound card and microphone (for live sessions)
  • Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures

Evaluation and Feedback

Students will receive prompt written and graded feedback on their assignments via Canvas. I give students lots of advice about how to clarify both their thinking about the texts and their analytic writing. Final grades are based on class participation, weekly homework assignments, and major projects.


I will confirm registration with parents and provide a welcome email. All parents are welcome to join us in Canvas as observers and I respond to parents promptly via email or Canvas message.

View Course Syllabus

Required Texts

Folger Shakespeare Midsummer: 0743477545;

Folger Shakespeare Hamlet: 9780743477123


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