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Unit information: Shakespearean Tragedy: Textual and Literary Criticism in 2021/22

Unit name Shakespearean Tragedy: Textual and Literary Criticism
Unit code ENGL39027
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Lee
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The course focuses on the main four tragedies - Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth - and on the interpretative and textual challenges which these plays pose. It addresses the usefulness of the notion of tragedy in thinking of these plays and explores creative rewritings of and responses to Shakespeare's plays.

Students will be given the opportunity to submit a draft or outline of their final, summative essay of up to 1,500 words and to receive feedback on this.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have:

(1) developed a detailed knowledge and critical understanding of some of the most complex texts in the English language, Shakespeare’s four main tragedies;

(2) in-depth knowledge of some of the literary and historical contexts which inform them, particularly tragedy, one of the most complex critical terms in literary criticism

(3) demonstrated the ability to analyse and evaluate differing critical accounts of Shakespeare’s tragedies;

(4) demonstrated the ability to identify and evaluate pertinent evidence in order to present a cogent argument;

(5) strengthened their skills in argumentation and academic writing

Teaching Information

Teaching will involve asynchronous and synchronous elements, including group discussion, research and writing activities, and peer dialogue. Students are expected to engage with the reading and participate fully with the weekly tasks and topics. Learning will be further supported through the opportunity for individual consultation.

Assessment Information

  • 1 x 3500 word essay (100%) [ILOs 1-5]


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. ENGL39027).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.