Centre for Continuing Education

HSC English Preparation Course - Advanced: 'Julius Caesar' and 'The Prince'

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Module A: Comparative Study of Texts and Contexts - Elective

This intensive HSC English course covers Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Machiavelli’s The Prince for the Intertextual Perspectives Elective in Advanced English Module A: Comparative Study of Texts and Contexts. This course provides clear revision at this crucial stage of the year. It provides comparative analysis of both complex texts often not possible in the limited time in schools. Through comment by the presenter, an extensive course reader, and group discussion students gain understanding of how to read the two texts together. The issues covered include Machiavelli’s Renaissance Florence and his challenges about power and self-interest; Shakespeare’s London and his reworking of Machiavelli for a tragedy about Roman history that raises questions about monarchy and republicanism, and politicians and power.


Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Analyse and respond to the Syllabus and Prescriptions for Module A.
  • Analyse and explore both texts in relation to genre, medium, style and context.
  • Analyse and discuss the issues of politics and power presented in The Prince, and its style and structure.
  • Analyse and discuss the issues of politics and power, and republicanism and monarchy presented in Julius Caesar, and Shakespeare’s reworking of tragedy as an ambiguous puzzle about characters, identity and values.
  • Compare and contrast The Prince and Julius Caesar in relation to form, content and context.
  • Read and discuss previous exam papers and answers and explore an authentic personal response to the texts and the issues, including their relevance to the present.


(Aligned to NESA Syllabus Reference Points)

  • 1.2.2A. Close critical analysis of the text and context of The Prince with detailed explanation of Machiavelli’s context in Renaissance Florence and his radical definition of politics and power.
  • 1.2.2A. Close critical analysis of the text and context of Julius Caesar with attention to Shakespeare’s complex ambiguity about Roman history, Machiavellian politics and Elizabethan views about monarchy, republicanism and politicians.
  • 2.2A.7.8.10. Critical comparison of The Prince and Julius Caesar as complex Renaissance texts about related issues, including Shakespeare’s dramatic appropriation of Machiavelli and their related perspectives.
  • Analysis and critical synthesis of the view of identity and values in both texts in relation to their contexts and related issues.
  • 11.12.13. Development of an authentic, personal response that includes the continuing relevance of The Prince and Julius Caesar.
  • 11.12.13. Discussion of previous examination questions and answers to enhance readiness for examination and the development of a personal overview of the main issues.

Intended Audience

Only current Year 12 students should attend this course in 2018. Changes to the Year 12 syllabus will be introduced in 2019. This course content is therefore not suitable for current Years 10 – 11 students.

Delivery Style

The course is taught with a combination of teacher presentation and interactive discussion, with close attention to the texts and issues, and with the support of extensive course booklets on the set texts and the period. Students are encouraged to ask questions and overcome problems throughout the course.


The course includes a substantial course booklet with notes on both texts. These are one the great advantages of the course. A further booklet includes previous exam questions and answers.

Students need to bring their copies of both texts.

Course Evaluation

This course will be evaluated via an online student questionnaire delivered in class.

Getting Through Your HSC: A Practical Guide

While you progress through this journey and also the conclusion of your schooling life, we know you’ll have a lot on your mind – exams, future study, careers – but remember, while keeping focused on these bigger goals and aspirations, it’s also important not to forget your own health and well-being.

For tips on staying motivated and keeping focused, dealing with anxiety, keeping healthy, relaxation, pre-study exercise and more, read our article Getting Through Your HSC: A Practical Guide.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion

What others say.

  • A very helpful course. Great detail and the tutor was great!