This course will begin with the exploration of the history and literary development of the greatest medieval hero – Arthur, king of the Britons – with special concentration on the trials of heroic identity in medieval literature. The study goes from the first story of Arthur in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain through the development of the legend in French courtly and spiritual literature, to Thomas Malory’s Morte D’Arthur. The second part of the course will address the representation of the trials of heroic character found in English Renaissance literature. Plays to include Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus and Jew of Malta, and Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Merchant of Venice. This course does not count towards credits for the History major.