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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Relevant, but not ‘relatable’ …

John Kelly over at Shakespeare Confidential gave me something to think about this week.  Some things, actually.

‘I want to be an air hostess – what’s Shakespeare got to do with me?’

Possibly the first and most significant was about what I wanted to do with this fledgling blog, now that I seem to have some impetus and a little momentum.

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Richard III: KS5 essay 1

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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.

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]

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