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Classical European Theatre

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

This course will examine the great heroes (and heroines) a of key dramatic texts from the Ancients to the beginning of the 20th Century.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

This course is designed to attract both new students with a strong interest in literature and those who have taken other literature classes and want a more detailed analysis of the evolution of European drama.

Content of Course

1.  Introduction

2. Euripides - Hippolytus

3. Seneca - Phaedra

4.  Lope de Vega - Fuente Ovejuna

5. Molière - Tartuffe 

6. Aphra Behn - The Rover

7. John Gay - The Beggar's Opera

8. Georg Büchner - Leonce and Lena

9. Henrik Ibsen - The Wild Duck

10. Anton Chekhov - Uncle Vanya

Teaching method(s)

Discussion-based classes, with a short introductory lecture in every session.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a good general understanding of how European drama has evolved from antiquity to the end of 19th Century:

  • Engage critically with fictional texts, describing and analysing themes and techniques:

  • Discuss the social, political and cultural context in which the texts analysed were created.


Core Readings

  • Euripides, 2008. Medea and Other Plays. Oxford: Oxford World's Classics

  • Seneca, 2010. Six Tragedies. Oxford: Oxford World's Classics

  • Vega, Lope de, 2008. Three Major Plays. Oxford: Oxford World's Classics

  • Molière, 2008. The Misanthrope, Tartuffe, and Other Plays. Oxford: Oxford World's Classics

  • Behn, Aphra, 2008. The Rover and Other Plays. Oxford: Oxford World's Classics

  • Gay, John, 2013. The Beggar's Opera and Polly. Oxford: Oxford World's Classics

  • Büchner, Georg, 2008. Danton's Death, Leonce and Lena, Woyzeck. Oxford: Oxford World's Classics

  • Ibsen, Henrik, 2009. An Enemy of the People, The Wild Duck, Rosmersholm. Oxford: Oxford World's Classics

  • Chekhov, Anton, 2008. Five Plays. Oxford: Oxford World's Classics

Class Handouts

Fragments from critical appraisal of the works and authors will provide background and facilitate teaching.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.