William Shakespeare's plays are being made into box office film hits at an incredible rate. Films such as Much Ado About Nothing with Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson, Hamlet with Mel Gibson and Glenn Close, Othello with Laurence Fishbourne and Henry V with Kenneth Branagh have been seen by a surprising number of teenagers. Often they have not understood it all, or even half of it, but they have been affected by the powerful characters and by the Shakespearean magic which has affected audiences around the world for centuries. They want to know more, they want to understand, and what better motvation can any teacher ask for than that students WANT ? That alone is sufficient reason for any English teacher to start a course in Shakespeare.
The other reason is that Shakespeare is a man for our time. He may have been a man "for all times". He certainly speaks directly to the students in my charge. The passions and emotions which he describes find deep echoes in the hearts of the youngsters at the close of the 20th century. He probably was modern when he wrote his dramas. He has retained that modernity seemingly for three centuries.
Thirdly, he is the father of all western playwrights. Everybody from Ibsen to O'Neil uses techniques and ideas which can be traced back to Shakespeare. Whatever dramatist in whatever language you are required to study, familiarity with Shakespeare can only be an advantage.
Finally, it is fun to study drama. It is fun to dramatise and dress up and fall over dead behind improvised curtains and fence with blackboard pointers and cook up a witches brew and come to school with a spade over your shoulder for the Graveyard Scene. It is fun, and while all the fun is being enjoyed an incredible amount of language is pouring into these students' heads, through listening, reading, watching videos and learning lines off by heart. The Bard would smile and polish the gold ring in his ear if he could see the young Norwegians... [continues]
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(2000, 10). Why Teach Shakespeare?. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 2000, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Why-Teach-Shakespeare-28787.html
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"Why Teach Shakespeare?." StudyMode.com. 10, 2000. Accessed 10, 2000. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Why-Teach-Shakespeare-28787.html.