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Fools & Clowns in the Plays of William Shakespeare

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Course Description:

Touchstone of "As You Like It," Feste of "Twelfth Night," and "King Lear's" unnamed fool are among the most vital characters in Shakespeare's plays. The simple "mechanicals" of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and even the Porter in "Macbeth" all lie at the heart of both plots and themes. Of course, a fool and a clown are not the same thing, and while Shakespeare did not invent fools and clowns as a literary component, no writer of any period has made more colorful (and instructive) use of them than he did. In our course, we will survey some of the most memorable clowns and fools in the canon, discovering just what makes them different from each other and profoundly important characters in the plays.


Tuition: $60.00

Additional Fees: $0.00

Register Myself


Mondays and Thursdays, Mar. 26, 29; Apr. 2, 5, 9, 12 *10:00am – noon* (6 sessions)


CSUMB at Ryan Ranch, 8 Upper Ragsdale Drive, Monterey


Allston James taught English and Humanities at Monterey Peninsula College for 30 years and has taught Shakespeare at OLLI since 2012. A playwright and member of the Dramatists Guild, he is a two-time winner of the British Theatre Challenge in London and Santa Cruz Actors Theatre’s one-act plays festival in California.