Shakespeare's plays address enduring issues: the unequal treatment of women, Jews, immigrants, the poor; governmental abuse of power; the role of justice and mercy in law; the evolving nature of marriage. Explore these subjects in the study of two related plays that are remarkably timely today: Merchant of Venice and Measure for Measure. The class will examine each text closely, looking at language, background, characterization, and themes. Video clips from several British productions will illustrate directors' different approaches to these plays that mix drama and comedy. Students are encouraged to use the editions from the New Cambridge Shakespeare Series (available online for purchase) for their helpful supplemental materials and ease of reference.