“Eye of Newt” and “Pound of Flesh” : Payback in Shakespeare’s Plays

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Fridays, 1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m. , 4-week course  (2/5, 2/12, 2/19, 2/26)

“An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth.”  First included in Hammurabi’s Code, this oft-quoted phrase is later used in various passages in the Old Testament (Exodus 21:24). Still later, Mahatma Gandhi echoed an important variation on the theme as his teachings took a different approach with “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”  Which guiding light does the world embrace more often?  This course will examine deals foretold, agreements made, and payments pursued in Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice.  Does the drive for power, fame, wealth or beauty weaken our willingness to commit to a risky deal, however big, however deadly?  Trained as a classical actor and having relished the experience of applying his own nuances to 15 of Shakespeare’s memorable characters, Joseph Coté explores the roles within the context of the character’s needs and wants in the greater scope of the play and everyone in it. Required Books:  Any printed or internet editions of Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice will serve our purpose despite slight variations. The individual Arden playbooks contain excellent footnotes. Links to film productions of plays will be supplied in advance.