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[Past Event] Shakespeare and The Plague: The Elizabethan Pandemic

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Course Description:

"Plague was the single most powerful force shaping his life and those of his contemporaries," wrote Jonathan Bate, one of William Shakespeare's biographers. The plague was naturally a taboo subject for much of Shakespeare's writing career. The plague struck London and the rest of England a number of times during his lifetime, each time closing down the theatres. Even when it was the only thing on anybody's mind, nobody could bring himself to speak about it. "But the plague was also Shakespeare's secret weapon. He didn't ignore it. He took advantage of it," says Bate. Our course will look at the social and theatrical impact of the plague in Shakespeare's era and how it managed to permeate some of his best-loved plays, including "Romeo & Juliet," through never as a stated theme.


Tuition: $35.00

Additional Fees: $0.00

Register Myself


Wednesdays, Sept. 16, 23, 30 *1:00-2:30pm* (3 sessions)


We'll meet online via Zoom. Zoom is free and easy to use. OLLI will walk you through the steps. Prior to each Zoom meeting (class), you will receive an email with specific details on that meeting.


Allston James is Professor Emeritus of English and Humanities, Monterey Peninsula College, where he taught for 30 years. He is three-time winner of the William Broyles Award for Distinguished Playwriting and has twice won the British Theatre Challenge.