Courses » The Renaissance and Shakespeare

The Renaissance and Shakespeare


The course will have modules on the Renaissance in Europe and Shakespeare’s life and works. The lecture on the Renaissance will look at different aspects of the age, such as the major thinkers and philosophers of the age, developments in the field of visual arts and science, and the position of women in the Renaissance.  The lecture on Shakespeare’s life and times talks about his birth, his schooling, his career on stage and situates the playwright in the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods in England.  A number of major plays by Shakespeare will be discussed in detail: Othello and Macbeth among the tragedies and A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night among the comedies.  In addition there are lectures on Shakespeare’s History plays and the Romances or Last Plays.  The video lecture on Othello looks at the military background of the play, an aspect that is usually overshadowed by gender and race-centric arguments in contemporary critical discussions of the play. The lecture on Macbeth explores supernatural elements in the pay, Scottish history and the characterisation of the protagonist.  The lecture on A Midsummer Night’s Dream explores the notion of a dream and relates it to the Platonic heritage. The lecture on Twelfth Night includes a discussion of the popular recent stage adaptation of the play in Hindi, Piya Behrupiya.  As theatre is a performance form, two of our modules include performances of scenes from The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Delhi University students. These are followed by panel discussions in which students share their experience of enactment and how it helped them in clarifying their ideas about the play and understand it in their own context. Apart from these, there is also a module on adapting Shakespeare on the Indian stage with a reference to the work of Habib Tanvir, Mohan Maharishi and Roysten Abel.  The MOOC ends with a discussion of global Shakespeare with international Shakespeare scholars who analyse how works of Shakespeare have been appropriated and adapted by people across cultures and nations to investigate their own positions.    

Intended Audience :

  • Undergraduate students
  • The course will be of help to those looking for an introduction to the Renaissance age and to Shakespeare. The students of B.A. Hons. (Eng.) should also find this useful.

An interest in English literature and theatre is the basic prerequisite for this course.


Shormishtha Panja is a Professor in the Dept. of English, Univ. of Delhi.  She is also the Director of the Institute of Lifelong Learning, Univ. of Delhi .  She received her PhD from Brown University.  She has taught at Stanford Univ. and IIT Delhi before joining the Univ. of Delhi.  She has numerous publications on Renaissance studies and on Shakespeare.  She has seven books to her credit.  She has been the President of the Shakespeare Society of India.


Dates of exams: 23 April 2017 
Time: Shift1 : 9am-12 noon;Shift 2: 2pm- 5pm
Any one shift can be chosen to write the exam for a course.
The list of cities where the exam will be conducted will be available in the registration form.
Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations. 
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. 


Final score will be calculated as : 25% assignment score + 75% final exam score
25% assignment score is calculated as 25% of average of best 3 out of 4 assignments

E-Certificate will be given to those who register and write the exam and score greater than or equal to 40% final score. Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup. It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Madras It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc


Week 1:
i.   The Renaissance: An Introduction;
ii. Shakespeare’s Life and Times;
iii.Merchant of Venice trial scene (student performance); iv. Panel Discussion

Week 2:

i. Othello;
ii. A Midsummer Night’s Dream;
iii. A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Multilingual student performance);
iv. Panel Discussion

Week 3:
i. Shakespeare’s History Plays;
ii. Macbeth;
iii. Shakespeare’s Romances or The Last Plays

Week 4:
i. Twelfth Night;
ii. Shakespeare on the Indian Stage;
iii.Global Shakespeare I;
iv. Global Shakespeare II