In Praise of Darker Comedies: Shakespeare in the Spring


Course Description

February 2022 Update: This course will now take place entirely on Zoom.

At the beginning of the Seventeenth Century, in a period that spanned the writing of two of his greatest tragedies, Hamlet and King Lear, Shakespeare wrote three plays that have intrigued critics and challenged theatregoers: Troilus and Cressida, All’s Well That Ends Well (to be performed at the Stratford Festival this summer), and Measure for Measure. While they present as comedies, the underlying darkness of their stories precludes easy categorization. Are they comedies? Tragicomedies? Problem Plays?

Whatever their designation, Shakespeare presents us with stories that refuse to stay light, that expose the hypocrisy of their societies, and the darker side of love, i.e., the fantasies and impulses that drive erotic attachments. While two of the three plays end in marriages – the presumed sign of a comedy – we are left to wonder whether all really is well that “ends well.” In this course we will explore the way these plays lead us to reconsider traditional ideas of love and marriage, male and female virtue, political power and justice. What do these plays tell us about romantic love and the institution of marriage? How is female chastity bargained with in these stories? What do we learn about male honour as it is revealed in love and war? Is justice possible in our world?

Books to Purchase (will be available at Argo Bookshop during the weeks prior to the course beginning):

    • All's Well That Ends Well (9780812969375)
    • Measure for Measure (9780812969283)
    • Troilus and Cressida (9780812969313)

Please note that this course has a maximum enrollment of 14 students.

Priority is given to students who pay upon registration.

For fully registered courses, a waiting list will be created. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Course Details

First Session: Monday 4 April 2022

Course Length: 6 weeks, Mondays, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. 

Discussion Team: Carol Fiedler and Patricia Sikender

Degree Credit: 1.5 credits

Course Fee: 

$120.00 (standard tuition)

$80.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$145.00 (standard tuition)

$105.00 (promotion for new students)


Course fees are refundable in full before the second session. After the second session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the third session. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Students pursuing studies for credit are encouraged to consult with their advisers as they register for courses.

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

If you are a RETURNING student

If you are NEW to TMI

Questions? Stuck? Give us a call at (514) 935-9585
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