This course is an introduction to the drama of William Shakespeare. We will read plays representing the major dramatic genres--comedy, history, and tragedy--and study them in the context of the historical transformations that shaped early modern England, from the Protestant Reformation to New World colonization. Our guiding focus will be on drama as a form of skepticism. How, we will ask, do Shakespeare's plays force us to question the legitimacy of political rule, the categories of race and gender, and the nature of the self? How do they imagine the challenge of knowing, trusting, and loving others? And how do they wrestle with the dangers of doubting too much?