What’s happening with COVID-19 in your life, your community, your country? Add a note to the bottom of your annotation.
How does your own experience of the COVID-19 pandemic inform how you read Shakespeare? How does Shakespeare inform your response to COVID-19? Are there any recent personal or public developments in your experience that you see mirrored in the texts?
How do we define an “illness”? Aside from physical disease, are there any deviant identities, ideas, emotions, or behaviors that are more broadly characterized as “sick” in the texts and in our societies? What “social pandemics” do you see being defined, regulated, combatted, or even encouraged, both in the plays and in your current cultural discourse?
How are conversations in and about Shakespeare mediated by experiences of race, religion, ethnicity, class, and gender? How is your own response to COVID-19 mediated by your personal and public experiences of race, religion, ethnicity, class, and gender?
What social power dynamics do you see reinforced (or challenged) in the plays? What does it mean for us to find common ground in Shakespeare, a white male author who carries his own literary, racial, and gendered privilege?
How much has really changed in our beliefs, biases, stigmas, and misunderstandings towards both literal diseases and “ills of society” in the 400+ years since Shakespeare wrote his plays?
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