The remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he really is very good, in spite of all the people who say he is very good.

--Robert Graves

This class is an on-line version of Los Angeles Harbor College's English 215, Shakespeare. To register, or for more information, contact L.A. Harbor College.

Welcome! In English 215, we'll read and analyze a range of Shakespeare's plays. The reading will introduce you to a wide variety of literature and the analysis will improve your thinking and writing skills.

This course is fully transferable to UC and CSU.

General Nature of the Course

The online version of English 215 involves the same readings, writings, exercises and information as the traditional English 215 course; only the delivery system has changed. Instead of submitting hard copy essays which will be read, commented on, scored and returned, students will submit assignments and have them returned via e-mail; lecture material, course deadlines, and assignment information are available via the Internet; class discussions will take place on a Discussion Board.

You will need to keep track of assignment (reading and writing) due dates by referring to the Class Schedule. It is up to you to keep up with assignment deadlines, especially since late work will be penalized (see note under Assignments). Specific Writing Assignment instructions can be reached through the links on the Class Schedule. Read these instructions carefully, and always e-mail or phone or visit me with any questions you might have.

There is also a series of Lectures on topics related to your reading and writing. Be sure to read the lecture material for each week because this should help you to understand the readings, and will give you valuable information to help with the discussion questions and writing assignments.

So it's up to you to keep up with the reading, to turn in assignments on time, to look at online lecture material and to ask questions when you don't understand what we're doing. I will read the written work and questions you e-mail to me, and I will respond (also via e-mail) with comments, corrections, discussion items, and (I hope) useful answers.

Required Texts

A Midsummer Night's Dream
Henry V
Richard III
The Tempest

All of these plays are available online. However, if you wish to buy print copies, I strongly recommend the New Folger Library Editions of the plays. They are paperbacks, so they're not expensive. Best of all, they provide some help with the language of the plays. Along with the text of the play, the editor provides a summary of each scene. In addition, the notes are printed parallel with the text on the facing page, instead of at the bottom of the page; this makes it easier to read them without losing your place. And last but not least, they have great introductions.


3 essays: 100 points each
Final exam: 50 points
Discussion questions: 20 points each.

(For more information about how and where to submit answers to the discussion questions, see the Discussion Questions page.)

At the end of the semester, your grades will be averaged to determine a final grade for the class. Writing assignments are due on the date assigned on the schedule. Late papers will be penalized 10 points, and will not be accepted at all after one week.

Grading Scale for Writing Assignments



Plagiarism is using the words, ideas, or information of another without acknowledging the source. Plagiarism, in a college environment, is the equivalent of grand larceny, and as such, it is unacceptable behavior. Anyone caught plagiarizing will fail the class. Each student is responsible for knowing the rules of correct citation and documentation; for more information, see the following guidelines from The Writing Tutorial Services at Indiana University. These provide clear and complete information as to what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it.

How to submit your work

Your writing assignments will be submitted to me via e-mail. Save your file as a Word or RTF file, and attach the file to your message. When sending assignments, your e-mail message should include your name, the class number (English 215), and the name of the assignment which is attached. Use correct MLA format to set up your pages; for more information see The Writing Tutorial Services at Indiana University. Make sure that you eliminate spelling, grammar, and other mechanical errors from your writing. Send your e-mail to me at

NOTE: always keep copies of all of your assignments. If there is a problem with e-mail, you will need that copy to re-send for credit.

About Wikipedia, SparkNotes, and Databases

DO NOT cite Wikipedia in academic essays. Since it is not edited by reputable experts, it often has errors and isn't reliable. It's okay to use it as a starting point for your own research, but go on and find other sources to verify the information, and cite those in your essay.

Also avoid SparkNotes, ENotes and similar sites. Teachers hate them since they provide only the most superficial analyses. Avoid citing them in academic papers; instead, go find analyses from more reputable academic sources: university and scholarly websites, peer-reviewed journals in library databases, and books. Don't be scared by that word "databases." The databases are just collected electronic versions of articles published in print magazines, journals, and newspapers. They also sometimes contain e-books. You can search them and find tons of good material. There's more about how to use the databases on the Writing About Literature page.

For more information, use the links on the right to go to any of the Class pages you want to see.

Click on the Gallery link to find out more about the pictures at the top of the pages.

To get in touch with me, use my e-mail (, call me the old-fashioned way, on the phone: (310) 233-4250, or come and see me in person at my office: NEA 297. My office hours are listed on the Class Schedule.

English 215 Student Learning Outcomes

  • 1. Recognize distinctive features of the literary works, themes, and genres in Shakespeare's works.
  • 2. Demonstrate an understanding of these works in context, including, though not limited to, historical, philosophical, social, political, religious, psychological, biographical, artistic backgrounds.
  • 3. Employ critical thinking and college-level methods and terminology of literary analysis to reading and interpreting literature by producing well-developed, fluent writing that supports premises about literary works and which utilizes logical observations supported by textual examples.
  • 4. Demonstrate continued understanding of MLA conventions developing essays that integrate source material and incorporate standard documentation and format.
This website is best viewed in more recent browsers. Download the latest version of Firefox here for free. Upgrade (free) to the latest version of Internet Explorer here; find Microsoft Edge (free) here; download Google Chrome (free) here.