Shakespeare Writing Assignments

ShakespeareTeacher’s got a good post up about some writing assignments that he just handed out.  He’s looking for input on more ideas for such assignments.  I like the “write something in iambic pentameter” one, and think it could go even farther.  A while back I wrote an Elizabethan sonnet for my daughter’s first birthday, and it was fun to meet the structural requirements on all levels, not just the rhyme scheme but the overall theme as well.  I’m not a big fan of “translate Shakespeare’s words today’s language” because it always means “get the plot, lose the poetry”.  It’s like for someone to say that “I have of late but wherefore I know not lost all my mirth” really means “I’m bummed out and I don’t know why.”  True, but man, it loses something.

2 thoughts on “Shakespeare Writing Assignments

  1. Hey, thanks for the link. You work fast!

    Yeah, I’m really not a fan of Shakespeare in translation either, but that first activity works as an assignment because it makes the student stop and think about what each line means. I think you can appreciate the poetry more after doing an activity like this.

    For me, the most fun assignment to read is the second activity where they annotate a contemporary song for an audience 400 years from now. They can get really creative with this, and I usually end up learning something about the popular culture.

    A lot of them have trouble with iambic pentameter, so I don’t add any other requirements to the third activity. But, of course, the choice of 14 lines was no accident…

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