Shakespeare: Comedies and Tragicomedies


A study of selected comedies and tragicomedies of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Works of Shakespeare may include the romantic comedies of his first decade and a half as a playwright, the so-called 'problem plays', the darker comedies of his middle years, and the tragicomedies of his final years, sometimes called 'romances'. The nature of comedy and its relationship to tragedy is also explored.

For full course information see the Digital Course Outline. 

Digital Course Outlines are refreshed in November for the following year. Digital Course Outlines for courses to be offered for the first time may be published slightly later.

Availability 2024

Not taught in 2024


Lecturer(s) Dr Sophie Tomlinson


William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors

William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

William Shakespeare, As You Like It

William Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale

William Shakespeare, The Tempest

It is not essential that you acquire any specific editions (though I recommend either the Oxford World’s Classics or the Pelican editions) but you must bring a printed copy of each play to tutorials. Make sure that your edition offers a good set of annotations and an introduction.

Recommended Reading

  • Matthew Bevis, Comedy: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford)
  • Andrew McRae, Renaissance Drama (Arnold)
  • Andrew Gurr, The Shakespearean Stage, 4th ed. (Cambridge)
  • Sean McEvoy, Shakespeare: The Basics (Routledge)
  • Russ McDonald, ed., The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare: An Introduction with Documents (Bedford/St Martins)


Coursework and exam


ENGLISH 310: 15 points


30 points at Stage II in English or Drama