The Elizabethan narrative poem, “The Rape of Lucrece,” was the second published work after “Venus and Adonis” to name William Shakespeare as its author. The man of Stratford called them “the first heirs of my invention.” “Lucrece” was shared with the world of Elizabeth I in 1594 and provided Shakespeare with his first serious tragic theme. His poem is set in Rome 509 BCE and is replete with ideas and images that were to remain in his imagination for the rest of his career. The antagonist is Shakespeare’s first self-destructive self-deceiver. The poem is the Bard’s first extended treatment of that most familiar topos of tragic deceit, loss, and suffering. The passage of eleven years to 1605 gave birth to the play considered to be one of Shakespeare’s masterpieces, “The Tragedy of King Lear.” Set in 800 BCE Britain, it is first a tragedy of retribution, an anguished, storm-ridden journey of the mind and spirit. “Tragic deceit, loss and suffering” also play their roles to a heightened intensity. It seems indisputable that “Lucrece” in poetic form of 1,855 lines did indeed set an early stage for the five shattering acts of “Lear.” Joseph will supply food-for-thought study documents in advance. He invites you to explore with him! Class Limit 18
Instructor Joseph Coté has been a “jobbing” Shakespearean actor for 40 years who considers himself fortunate to have been offered the opportunities to raise the spirits of 14 leading or featured characters from the pages of Shakespeare’s late 16th- and early 17th-century canon of 38 plays. (Additionally, he has even relished several of the proverbial “third spear-carrier from the left” supporting roles.) The highlight of Joseph’s actor training over the years was with his mentor, the late, highly esteemed John Broome of the Royal Shakespeare Company. At CSC Joseph has taught a variety of popular Shakespeare-exploration courses as well as single master classes in his free CSC Member Interest Group, “Journeys with Will Shakespeare.” All of his highly interactive classes focus on a single character within the greater landscape of the play with the goal of understanding the details of that character’s journey from the first words of the text to the final moment of the story.
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