QotW (#72): 08 April 2019

subtitled: ‘Sir’s rule number 1‘ …

nightwatchman

‘Who’s there?’

‘Nay, answer me.  Stand and unfold yourself.’ [a]

Bernardo and Francisco have a point.  The entire path of the scene is determined by who is on stage.  Think of the ways the conversation could go if instead of Bernardo, another unknown Dane approaches Francisco’s guard-post, or one of Fortinbras’ troops.

From Hamlet to real life, and the idea of decorum – behaving or speaking appropriately to the circumstances and audience.

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Forensic Friday 013

The Merchant of Venice, Act III, scene i

merchant-of-venice-9

Unlucky for some?

Life’s pretty poor for Shylock as is, but his world falls apart when his flighty daughter elopes with a ne’er-do-well Christian lad, taking his fortune to boot.  Famously, Act III scene i sees the dam of his frustration and resentment overwhelmed, leaving him only the potential satisfaction of revenge against his mortal enemy, Antonio.

But why is Shylock’s speech so memorably powerful?

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KISSing Macbeth

lego witches
image: Klyph Ra’h Ben Sun

Can you do anything to help Brian?  He’s got a Macbeth exam coming up,‘ said my Dearest Partner of Greatness.

Brian is not his real name.  He’s a nephew.  Being a typically feckless Y10 lad, none of us have any idea whether he has read the play, or seen it, or what type of test / exam he has coming up, or when it might be.  We doubt Brian knows himself.

So what’s to do, for someone with a target of 4 (for overseas visitors, the highest target at GCSE is 9, and 4 tends to be the grade employers ask for as a minimum) and a complete disinterest in English?

Time to work my magic, and on my birthday, too!  Time, in fact, for a mindmap – it’s almost a present being asked to do one, because I LOVE a nice mindmap.

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Pass the Popcorn (AO5 at KS5)

RIII AO5
You think this looks mad NOW? Wait until it’s finished …

Welcome to my next stupidly ambitious project …

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QotW (#71): 11 March 2019

Antony Sher as Richard, RSC, 1984
the ‘bottled spider’

It’s nearly a year (where has the time gone?) since I last picked up a book and decided I’d love to get down the pub for a session with the author (and bear in mind I’m still not drinking: day 70 today).  Imagine me, Anthony Sher and Michael Bogadanov setting the Shakespearean world to rights over a few scoops …

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Edward II: there may be spoilers ahead!

edward-ii-graph.png
X-axis, scene number; Y-axis, number of lines; icon, major events

A Level pre-Easter mock assessments next week, and it struck me that amongst all the resources I had curated or created for my students, we didn’t have a decent synopsis of Edward II, for those who can never quite remember the story, or what happens when.

I had a train journey in front of me.  What else could/would I do?

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Forensic Friday 012: Richard III, I,iii

Margaret-of-Anjou-463969669x-58b74be75f9b588080559d02
SEEMS like a nice girl …

And we’re back with Forensic Fridays

Partly because I’m teaching Richard III to a new A Level class, partly because my exam class will benefit, should they ever visit (you know who you are), and partly because yes, they are fun.

You can see the full rules here, but if you’ve been before, the task is to write a prize-winning forensic analysis of a very short extract in just 250 words, working to OCR’s mark-scheme in order to provide some models for my students.

In this passage, I returned to the dramatic moment when deposed Queen Margaret of Anjou, devastated by the killings of her son and then her husband (within 17 days, historically), calls down the heavens to curse Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who in the Henry VI cycle did what had to be done.  It’s a very tense moment …

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