Mondays, November 7–December 12, 2016 6:30–8:30 p.m. (6 meetings)
A fall evening, when the light fails early and the Portland skies are gray, is the perfect time to pull up a chair with literary friends and dive into the depths of Shakespeare’s most compelling psychological dramas. In Macbeth, Othello, and Titus Andronicus, the most upstanding and heroic men are undone by ambition, jealousy and—in the case of the tragic Titus—misplaced loyalty to those in power. Placed into crucibles of conflict, where social, emotional and even supernatural forces shape their behavior, Shakespeare asks the enduringly frightening question: what turns men into monsters? And yet, these tragic heroes remain compellingly human, even as they undergo or inflict inhuman suffering. Not only the heroes of these plays are worth consideration, but the supporting players, the Moors Othello and Aaron, Lady Macbeth, Queen Tamora, Lavinia and Desdemona offer fascinating—and sometimes startlingly contemporary—commentaries on race and gender.
Guide: Joanna Stein holds master’s degrees in English Literature and Education from Portland State, where she also serves as an occasional adjunct writing instructor. A former radio producer for NPR, she now works full time teaching Language Arts at a Lake Oswego high school.