Like Hyperion to a satyr …

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Back in November I compared the next President of the USA to Richard III. A little reluctantly, given I have some sympathy, and a degree of fondness, for Richard.

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The School Shakespeare Timetable

O, is it all forgot?

All school-days’ friendship, childhood innocence?

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Image copyright: King Edward VI school

What does the Shakespeare curriculum look like in the UK in 2017?

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Richard III: KS5 essay 2

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If this is the first time you’ve read an essay here, please take a look at this post before proceeding.

Without superstition, Richard III would have been reduced to a relatively mundane and propaganda-tinged retelling of the familiar Tudor ascent to power. Shakespeare’s skilful exploitation of the complex Elizabethan mix of secular and religious beliefs, via Margaret, transforms the play into compelling drama for contemporary and modern audiences.

Question: 

“The population of Renaissance England was, by modern standards, fervently religious.  ‘Atheist’ was an insult too extreme and too ludicrous to be taken seriously.”  (Lisa Hopkins and Matthew Steggle: Renaissance Literature and Culture, 2006)

Despite an unwavering belief in the Christian God, the early modern period was remarkably superstitious.  Explore how and why Shakespeare uses superstition in the early parts of Richard III (Acts 1-2)  Indicative length: 1,000 words.

Success Criteria:

AO1:  Personal Response (30%)

AO2:  Analysis of Writer’s Methods (40%)

AO3:  Understanding of the role of and influence of Context (10%)

AO5:  Exploring different interpretations of the text (20%)

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Is Donald Trump Richard III reincarnated?

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I took this image of ‘Richard’ at the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival in 2013.

“I am unfit for state and majesty”

Why do we still study Shakespeare 400 years after his death?

Our year 12 stint on Richard III is now beginning to wane – we start Act 5 next week, and will essentially be done by the end of the Autumn Term on 16 December.  Then I’ll sadly take a break from teaching Shakespeare until after Easter, when I’ll be looking at Much Ado About Nothing (year 8), probably Hamlet or Julius Caesar (year 9), and Macbeth (year 10).  My only ‘early modern’ fix in the Spring term is Marlowe’s Edward II.  Happy Days.

As the year 12 course has unfolded, keeping pace with the final stages of the US elections, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to leave the next leader of the free world out of our discussions.  With one difference:  I grudgingly admire one of these larger-than-life characters, and have nothing but contempt for the other …

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Classroom Posters #2: Hamlet

hamletI’ve ignored this blog for too long.

Here’s a second classroom poster.  Now it’s up in my room I’ve had a few questions about it …

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BBC/RSC Live Anniversary show

Did anyone else watch the BBC’s RSC Live show last night?

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A rose by any other name …

I’ve never really engaged with the question of whether or not Shakespeare actually authored the plays attributed to him – until this last week. Sure, I knew there were various claimants, but I shrugged ‘the authorship question’ off as unimportant. That I can no longer do. In fact, ‘a mote it is to trouble the mind’s eye’ …

The run-up to the BIG anniversary has been an eye-opener.

I like an insane conspiracy theory as much as the next person. Ask the class who I recently introduced to the suggestion that the Apollo landings were staged in Area 51. That truly was a lesson that people will remember in years to come: it resulted in conversations – and arguments – at home, debate in other subjects (especially Physics, apparently), and with one pupil being literally dragged away from her research homework to get to bed (as her mum told me in the local shop).

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