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Spring 2025 Seminar

Shakespeare and Law

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: No Exam

This seminar will explore themes related to law and justice in Shakespeare’s plays. Some of the themes we may discuss include the tensions between justice and mercy and between legal and moral responsibility, processes for assessing evidence (and their flaws), and constitutional questions regarding the foundations of legitimate sovereign authority. We will also consider more broadly the relationship between law, literature, and drama, and the how engagement with themes of law and justice in fiction may inform how we approach the real world of legal practice. The plays we will cover include The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, Henry V, Henry VI Part 2, Richard II, Othello, The Winter’s Tale, Much Ado About Nothing, and King Lear. No prior experience or expertise is required.