Shakespeare in the Spring


Course Description

This year’s “Shakespeare in the Spring” will look at two beloved Shakespearean plays on stage this summer at the Stratford Festival, Much Ado About Nothing and King Lear. While the comic Much Ado has been thought of as the first rom-com, with its word-duelling pair of Beatrice and Benedick, and Lear as the darkest of tragedies, replete with cruelty, madness, and death, and thus the plays would seem to have nothing in common, both works look at the elemental bonds between families: those between fathers and children, brothers and sisters.

Each play presents a double plot. In Much Ado, Beatrice and Benedick are accompanied by the love match of Hero and Claudio, who are victims of treachery by an illegitimate half-brother, eager for revenge. Hero, maligned as a licentious woman, is publicly shamed by her husband-to-be and even her father, and left for dead. Only the antics of the almost-incompetent constable, Dogberry, save the day, allowing this almost-tragedy to end with both couples betrothed. However, we are left to wonder, why is it that Hero’s fiancé and father are so quick to believe calumny and innuendo, and to respect the bonds of male friendships over those of love and family?

In Lear, Shakespeare gives us a double plot in which fathers turn against their children, children against their fathers, and siblings against siblings. The depth of the tragedy brings us to wonder what is the nature of the love that forms the primal bonds of families? What do fathers owe children and children fathers? Why is maternal love absent from the play? Why does Lear’s hard-earned wisdom about how he should have ruled as a king and loved as a father lead not to redemption, but to annihilation? Are the bonds of human relations ultimately built upon nothing?

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

    • King Lear, ed. Stephen Orgel (ISBN: 9780143128557)
    • Much Ado about Nothing, ed. Claire McEachern (ISBN: 9781472520296)

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

NEW PAYMENT POLICY: Participants must pay the course fees in order to be considered registered for the course. 

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.

Please note that we do not allow participants to audit courses for free.

Course Details

Location: Atwater or Zoom

First Session: Tuesday 14 March 2023

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

Discussion Team: Carol Fiedler, 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)

NEW REFUND POLICY FOR 6-WEEK COURSES: Course fees are refundable in full before the first session. After the first session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the second 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.

Fill the following form to register

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