Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
ENG 105
Course Title:
Introduction to Literature (Plays)
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Examines plays as literature and as an art form designed to provoke thought and to challenge social norms. Considers drama as an expression of human experience. Prerequisites: WR 115 and RD 115 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Engage, through dramatic works, unfamiliar and diverse cultures, experiences, and points of view.
  2. Articulate ways in which the works of drama contribute to self-understanding.
  3. Recognize the text as a product of a particular culture and historical moment and its relationship to different art forms.
  4. Recognize the role of form and how it influences meaning by identifying the variety of stylistic choices that authors make within given forms.
  5. Evaluate various interpretations of plays and their validity through reading, writing and speaking, and through individual and group responses, and analyze the support/evidence for a particular interpretation.
  6. Conduct research to find materials appropriate to use for literary analysis, using MLA conventions to document primary and secondary sources in written response to a literary text.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Acknowledge the possibility of multiple interpretations of a text; Articulate various possible interpretations of a text; Recognize that not all interpretations of a text are equally valid.  Assessment tools may include responses to study questions; evaluation of small and full-group discussion; in-class and out-of-class writing exams and essays; and reviews of plays. Performance of scenes from plays may also be included as an assessment task. 

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts, and Issues:

  • tragedy
  • comedy
  • romance
  • satire
  • allegory
  • morality play
  • revenge tragedy
  • tragicomedy
  • comedy of manners
  • commedia dell'arte
  • myth
  • Aristotle's definition of tragedy
  • Tragic Hero
  • Classical Drama
  • Elizabethan/ Renaissance Drama
  • Restoration Drama
  • Realism
  • Modernism
  • Theater of the Absurd
  • postmodernism
  • monologue
  • dialogue
  • soliloquy
  • staging
  • stage directions
  • setting
  • scenes
  • acts
  • plot
  • climax
  • characters
  • protagonist
  • antagonist
  • antihero
  • theme
  • chorus
  • odes
  • prologue
  • epilogue
  • strophe/ antistrophe
  • choragos
  • blank verse
  • free verse
  • iambic pentameter
  • couplet
  • prose verse
  • irony
  • symbolism
  • images
  • conceits
  • diction
  • tone
  • intertexuality
  • structuralism/ post-structuralism
  • feminist criticism
  • Marxist criticism
  • new criticism/ formalism
  • psychoanalytic theory and criticism

Competencies and Skills:

  • analysis
  • writing about drama
  • understanding drama through various contexts, such as social, historical, artistic convention, intertextual, playwright's vision
  • critical interpretation of dramatic performance on video or live theater
  • critical reading of reviews
  • speaking and listening reflectively
  • small-group collaboration