THETR 461:

Play Analysis


Class meets Tuesday/ Thursday

9:25 - 10:40AM

Room: Samia 219

Final Exam:

Wednesday 5/2, 2:00PM - 4:30PM,

Room: Samia 219

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Professor Richard W. Chambers

Office: Sawyer 1228

Office Hours: By Appointment



Phone: 617-305-1722 (better to email me)     

Course Prerequisites: None


Course Description

This senior seminar course examines classic plays using a variety of techniques to analyze and understand them. Students read the texts out loud in class examining the meaning, action, objective, and philosophical and historical contexts with the professor. The goal is to get closer to the original intentions of the author and determine not only the basic theme and character relationships, but the kind of mind that could create such a play. In analyzing a modern play students also examine the impact of Shakespeare's mind on contemporary and future playwrights. There will be class presentations and a final paper.  Class discussions will explore how these concepts translate to production, as well as what they imply as artistic responses to a modern and post-modern world. Analysis of the plays will include explorations of theme, character, plot, symbolism, structure, metaphor and the world of the play.

Class Structure

It is the conviction of your professor that theatre is a vital and engaging art form that can only be fully known when its literature is produced on stage and experienced as a whole greater than the sum of its parts. With this in mind, class projects will focus on various forms of analysis and practice related to performance.

Writing and discussion are major components of the class. The development of analytical reading, reading aloud, critical thinking, and informed discussion is stressed.

The final project is a formal research paper about the authors you have studied in the course.