Quote of the Week: 07 August

BH riggs marlowe coverDavid Riggs:  The World of Christopher Marlowe (Faber and Faber:  London, 2004)

If you squint, you’ll see that this was one of the books I bought as retail therapy a short while back.  I tackled this one first owing to my commitments to teach Edward II again this coming school year – I was hoping to get a few additional nuggets about Marlowe‘s private life.

The book has turned out to be an absolute revelation …

Continue reading “Quote of the Week: 07 August”

A Kingship Paradigm

bh-kingship-paradigm
Fig 1:  A Paradigm for Kingship or Leadership

Abstract for the busy:  this paradigm crystallises or articulates my recent thinking about kingship/leadership as it applies in Shakespeare’s plays and, I increasingly suspect, beyond.  It gained critical mass after teaching Richard III at Key Stage 5 (Age 16-17) in Autumn 2016, where I found myself returning again and again to questions of Legitimacy, Authority and Dynasty, in plotting not just Richard’s journey and motives, but Richmond’s and, in fact, Queen Elizabeth’s. 

Continue reading “A Kingship Paradigm”

Richard III: KS5 essay 2

bh-sophie-as-margaret

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%)

Continue reading “Richard III: KS5 essay 2”

Richard III: KS5 essay 1

Untitled-8.jpg

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

This essay was set as the first assignment for my KS5 class this year – on the OCR specification.  Student submissions were therefore marked on the following criteria:

Richard’s unscrupulous ambition and misogyny is balanced, in Act 1 scenes 1 and 2, by his facility with words and mischievous, almost devilish sense of humour.

AO1:  Personal Response (30%)

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

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

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

There is as much to admire as there is to loathe about Richard.

How far and in what ways do you agree with this statement? [Act 1, scenes 1/2: 1,000 words]

Continue reading “Richard III: KS5 essay 1”