ONLINE SEMINAR
November 8 | Shakespeare’s Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Truth and illusion: Shakespeare explores this duality in Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We watch the natural order of things turned upside down. In Hamlet this leads to destructive, tragic consequences, while in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a journey through love, magic, and dream leads to happy reunions and harmony restored.

How do we know what is true? Claudius, Gertrude, and the Danish court weave a web of deceit. Hamlet responds by using illusion (his feigned madness and the play within the play) to try to force out the truth. At the same time, Hamlet wrestles with inner doubts, expressed powerfully in his soliloquies.

How do we know what is real? In A Midsummer Night’s Dream we enter the woods, the fairy kingdom — a world of illusion, dreams, and the darker aspects of love and sexuality.

We will explore the theme of truth and illusion from a tragic and a comic perspective, focusing especially on language, character development and narrative structure. “To be or not to be, that is the question” or “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” or both?

This seminar will be read-as-we-go.

When: Six weekly sessions on Sundays at 2 p.m. Eastern, starting November 8, 2020.

Duration: 2 hours per session

Cost: C$350 plus 13% HST (approx. US$258 plus 13% HST)

Group Size: 12-participant limit

How: We will be using Zoom online meeting software; you will receive instructions on how to download Zoom free after registration. For your privacy, all our Zoom seminars are password-protected and are never recorded.

All online seminar payments are nonrefundable.

Select your registration below; please use the Toronto Pursuits credit option only if you are a registered participant of Toronto Pursuits 2020 who wants to put your deposit or previous payment toward an online seminar.

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Description

LEADER

Sean Forester is an artist and lecturer from the San Francisco Bay Area. He studied literature at Cambridge University and is a longtime Classical Pursuits leader. Sean has loved Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream since childhood when his father took him to see the plays at the Ashland Shakespeare Festival.

BOOKS

Hamlet (The Arden Shakespeare Revised Edition), edited by Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor
(The Arden Shakespeare, 2016)
ISBN-13: 978-1472518385

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Arden Performance Editions, edited by Abigail Rokison-Woodall
(The Arden Shakespeare, 2017)
ISBN-13: 978-1474245197

These editions are recommended, but you are welcome to use other editions of Shakespeare. If you do choose other editions, please be sure to use editions with line numbers.

Truth and illusion: Shakespeare explores this duality in Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We watch the natural order of things turned upside down. In Hamlet this leads to destructive, tragic consequences, while in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a journey through love, magic, and dreams leads to happy reunions and harmony restored.

How do we know what is true? Claudius, Gertrude, and the Danish court weave a web of deceit. Hamlet responds by using illusion (his feigned madness and the play within the play) to try to force out the truth. At the same time, Hamlet wrestles with inner doubts, expressed powerfully in his soliloquies. Few characters are as philosophical and psychologically complex as the Prince of Denmark, few plays as perplexing and fascinating as Hamlet.

How do we know what is real? In A Midsummer Night’s Dream we enter the woods, the fairy kingdom — a world of illusion, dreams, and the darker aspects of love and sexuality. Shakespeare brilliantly juxtaposes three stories: the human lovers, the supernatural drama of Oberon and Titania, and the bawdy comedy of the “mechanicals.” He tells them all with wonderful humour, imagination and poetry.

We will explore the theme of truth and illusion from a tragic and a comic perspective, focusing especially on language, character development and narrative structure. “To be or not to be, that is the question” or “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” or both?

All online seminar payments are nonrefundable.

 

Additional information

Choose registration type

Standard registration, Toronto Pursuits 2020 credit

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