This course acquaints students with critical approaches to plays. To this end, we will examine aspects that can (usually) be identified in every text. Central notions will be clarified and exemplified in concrete dramatic manifestations - first and foremost poetic aspects, i.e. as the components of which a dramatic text is composed and by which a fictional world is described. Furthermore, we will consider their rhetoric value, i.e. their capacity to modulate meaning and their potential effect upon the spectator. At the same time, the text's purpose to be fulfilled on stage will be stressed. The course's approach is neither historical nor chronological, yet it emphasizes the texts' affinity to historical, cultural, and artistic contexts.