If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably eaten all your toys and played with all your sweets by now, and so will be looking for a welcome diversion. I’ve been checking out some resources that will help you get to grips with Romeo and Juliet and so, given you need to have read the play by the time we get back, thought I’d punt them your way.
As you will recall from the introduction I delivered at the end of term, the real beauty of Shakespeare is his acute observation of the human condition, coupled with his ability to write some of the most beautiful language ever. It will be your ability to understand the language that will make the difference. Don’t be put off by the ‘archaic’ expression, a little work on your part will pay massive dividends, and will — I hope — lead to you beginning to appreciate just how great a writer Shakespeare is. (Incidentally, you should try doing a little research into how widespread Shakespeare’s influence has spread, for example, you may be surprised to learn that Hamlet has been translated into Klingon!)
There are countless study guides and sites available online, and you are welcome to ignore those I’m about to suggest, however, I recommend you make some effort to engage with the text if you are chasing a good pass, and these sites may help you in this.
The first one I want to mention is LitCharts™. This is a relatively new site for study guides, and offers clear, concise (look it up) guides to a number of texts. They can be accessed online, they are available as a PDF you can download, and they also make a couple of nifty iPhone/iPad Apps (priced 69p) that would allow you to access the text/notes any time you like. Highly recommended for our use as, though limited, the notes do give a great overview and do touch on the key points.
Next up is EnglishBiz and a guide on how to write about R&J. This has some really useful and approachable advice on remembering that R&J is, first and foremost, a play. It was written to be performed and we need to remember this as we study it…
One more just now… from the University of Massachusetts theater (sic) course. They have produced a PDF guide to staging a production of the play. Some interesting insights, and for the more inquisitive amongst you, plenty of links and ideas to follow up. Enjoy!
Have a Christmas challenge. Here is a paper model of the Globe Theatre for you to download and try to make. Fame, fortune, and a better life await anyone able to turn a sheet of A4 paper into a 3D model of the Globe! (Here’s what it should look like!)