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University Connected Learning
Later Shakespeare plays are labeled romance plays which means they are not comedies nor tragedies nor history plays. The label is applied to plays as different as The Tempest and Pericles, as unbridled as Henry VIII, and as closed circuit as The Winter's Tale. The romance genre is not easily pigeon-holed. This course will study six of these plays. Three of them, Pericles, Cymbeline, and The Comedy of Errors, will be featured at Utah Shakespeare Festival this coming summer as the Festival reopens its doors. Three others are classic romance plays: The Winter's Tale, The Tempest, and Henry VIII. We will study the plays and as well bore into one of the many layers built into all of Shakespeare's writings. In Shakespeare's time there were two overriding social and political problems; religion and succession (who would follow Elizabeth). Both come together in the reign of Henry VIII. However, the underlying changes in Elizabethan society which occasioned their meeting in Henry VIII's reign had been occurring for decades. We'll highlight examination of each of the six plays' exposition of some religious developments of Elizabethan society as it was moving from a Catholic religion based social order to the Church of England and Protestantism. Shakespeare was fully aware of this evolution and incorporated his thoughts about it in his romance plays, one of the main reasons the romance plays are written as they are.