Archive for the 'Googleplex' Category

Googleplex – 1/16/11

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

I subscribe to a service called “SiteMeter” which allows me to see a limited amount of information about my visitors. One thing that I can see is if someone finds my site via a Google search, and what they were searching for.

Every now and then I check in on what searches people have done to find themselves at Shakespeare Teacher, and to respond to those search terms in the name of fun and public service. All of the following searches brought readers to this site in the past week.


cymbeline appropriate for kids

Well, there is a bit of sexual content in it. Iachimo bets Posthumous that he can seduce Imogen, Posthumous’s wife. To prove he’s won his bet, he describes Imogen’s body in intimate detail.

But why do we flinch at mild sexual content like this for kids, and shrug off graphic violence? Does anyone ask if Macbeth is appropriate for kids?

I just did it myself. When asked if Cymbeline is appropriate for kids, I immediately addressed a verbal description of a female body, and completely ignored the decapitated corpse on stage.

I addressed the same concern when I taught the play to 8th graders. In the end, they did very well with it. You will have to let your own moral compass guide the way.

how long does it take to teach macbeth?

It depends on how deep you want to go. I have taught Macbeth in one lesson; I’ve taught it over an entire year. I’d recommend at least a month, but you’ll have to see what fits in your curriculum.

shakespearean tragedy centered on the theme of “man’s inhumanity to man;

There’s plenty of inhumanity in the canon to go around.

My vote is for King Lear, though I suppose Titus Andronicus would be an appropriate choice as well.

“much ado about nothing” “which war”

Unlike other war-themed plays of Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing does not seem to center on any actual historical war. Directors, therefore, have the freedom to set the play in any post-war period that strikes the fancies of their set and costume designers. Of course, directors of Shakespeare hardly need such an invitation.

In the play, Don John has stood up against his brother Don Pedro, so the Civil War is a good choice. But really, the war itself is such a small part of the story that any war will suffice, even the indeterminate war of the text.

rap songs about historical figures; shakespeare

There are some organizations, like Flocabulary and The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company, that use rap music to teach Shakespeare. But my favorite Shakespeare rap is still from the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s three man show The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (abridged):

Full disclosure: Back in my acting days, I performed in this show. I played the role of Daniel (the first guy in the video, wearing red pants), and performed in this rap. The play is rather silly on the page, but turned out to be a great audience pleaser.

UPDATE: The embedded video doesn’t seem to be working right now. Here’s a direct link.

writing an obituary for hamlet

Hamlet, prince of Denmark, died yesterday from complications from a wound by a sword laced with a deadly unction. Some sources reported his age to be 30, while other sources insisted that he could not possibly have been that old. He is survived by nobody. King Fortinbras is requesting that any flowers sent on behalf of the deceased are of a botanical variety that have deep symbolic and/or ironic meaning.

I leave the task of responding to the remaining search terms to my readers:

how did shakespeare fight back?

why might modern day detectives want to question macbeth further

who plays puck on season 1 of slings and arrows

comic strip about merchant of venice

was shakespeare a teacher

edmond king lear bipolar

Googleplex – 2/14/10

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

It’s time once again to check in on what searches people have done to find themselves at Shakespeare Teacher, and to respond in the name of fun and public service. All of the following searches brought people to this site in the past week.

was erikson influenced by shakespeare

That’s a great question. I think it’s fair to say the idea that human beings develop in distinct stages was pioneered by Sigmund Freud in the 20th century, when he outlined his psycho-sexual stages of development in childhood. Erik Erikson, a developmental psychologist strongly influenced by Freud, described his own set of psycho-social stages, which carried through to adulthood.

Groundbreaking as these ideas were, they were to some degree anticipated by Shakespeare in his Seven Ages of Man speech from As You Like It. In the speech, Shakespeare describes seven developmental stages that carry through from childhood to adulthood, and the common characteristics that men display at each stage. Freud and Erikson would later codify this scientifically, but the Bard was able to figure it out just by observing the human condition. Point: Humanities!

It’s worth noting that both Freud and Erikson wrote about Shakespeare, and Hamlet in particular, to describe their theories. In a 1962 article entitled “Youth: Fidelity and Diversity,” Erikson actually references Shakespeare’s “ages of man” before spending about four pages examining fidelity and identity in Hamlet. So it would seem that the answer to the question is, yes, Erikson was influenced by Shakespeare to some degree, as was Freud. But influence often tends to be reflective, and the developmental psychologists certainly left their mark on Shakespeare as well.

poetic elements in song mosh by eminem

I touched on this a bit about a month ago. I used to use “Mosh” to teach poetic devices, and I’m having trouble finding a more contemporary replacement. I’ll just give a sampling of each of the poetic devices I mentioned in that post. I tend to use only the middle stanza and the chorus, which I make into a handout. I also distribute the Prologue for Romeo and Juliet as a handout, so we can compare the two.

Repetition: “We gonna fight, we gonna charge, we gonna stomp, we gonna march”; “All you can see is a sea of people”; “If it rains let it rain”; “Rebel with a rebel yell”

Rhyme: Not only is there end rhyme, but there is internal rhyme as well. “They tell us no we say yea, they tell us stop we say go/ Rebel with a rebel yell, raise hell we gonna let em know”; “yea the wetter the better”; “that we need to proceed”

Rhythm: “Mosh” is written in anapestic tetrameter, which I always point out is the same meter as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”… and other popular poems as well. The Prologue for Romeo and Juliet, of course, is in iambic pentameter.

Alliteration: Note that in “we gonna mosh through the marsh” the words “mosh” and “marsh” start and end with the same sounds. Compare with “doth with their death” in the Prologue for Romeo and Juliet.

Antithesis: “They tell us no we say yea, they tell us stop we say go”; “from the front to the back”; “some white and some black”

Allusion: There’s a reference to George W. Bush in the passage.

Emendation: This is where I edited the reference to George W. Bush. I usually change it to “Stomp, push, shove, mush, [mock] Bush” even using the brackets like a Shakespeare editor.

president bush reads shakespeare

In a 2006 interview with Brian Williams, President Bush claimed to have recently read “three Shakespeares” in addition to curling up with some Camus:

WILLIAMS: We always talk about what you’re reading. As you know, there was a report that you just read the works of a French philosopher. (Bush laughs)

BUSH: The Stranger.

WILLIAMS: Tell us the back story of Camus.

BUSH: The back story of the the book?

WILLIAMS: What led you to…

BUSH: I was in Crawford and I said I was looking for a book to read and Laura said you oughtta try Camus, I also read three Shakespeare’s.

WILLIAMS: This is a change…

BUSH: Not really. Wait a minute.

WILLIAMS: A few months ago you were reading the life story of Joe DiMaggio by Richard Ben Cramer.

BUSH: Which was a good book.

WILLIAMS: You’ve been on a Teddy Roosevelt reading kick.

BUSH: Well, I’m reading about the battle of New Orleans right now. I’ve got an eclectic reading list.

Williams didn’t ask him what “Shakespeares” he read, but I have my guess at one of them, as well as a selection I wish he’d read.

somewhere in the number pi is shakespeare

The constant pi is nature’s random digit generator, stretching out infinitely long and with no predictable pattern. This means that any finite string of numbers can be found somewhere out in the vast expanse of digits.

So if we were to express the Complete Works of Shakespeare in, say, ASCII code, it would indeed be represented as a very long, but certainly finite, string of digits. This string of digits is represented somewhere in pi, not once, but an infinite number of times. What’s more, the very first time it appears would be a finite distance in. Which means, there is some number X where you could say that if you start X digits into pi, you can read the Complete Works of Shakespeare.

Before you get too excited by that, you should realize that X is so unfathomably large that it would most likely be beyond human comprehension to even find a way to express it, let alone come anywhere near identifying it. You may think of the monkeys-at-typewriters thought experiment (and for our purposes, we can consider both the digits of pi and monkeys typing to be generating random characters). Even using theoretical monkeys, the number of simian typists needed would be beyond astronomical.

But, yes, the Complete Works of Shakespeare are somewhere in pi with a probability of 1. If the thought of that makes you smile, I’ve done my job.

what was king henry four’s last name

Henry IV was often referred to as Henry Bolingbroke, but actually, his last name was Plantagenet.

In fact, all of the English kings from Henry II to Richard III carried the surname Plantagenet. This means that throughout the entire Wars of the Roses, the Yorks and Lancasters all had the same last name, which is found throughout the history plays. This is because both sides were led by male-line descendants of Edward III. There is a reference to this in Richard III, as Richard hits on the widow of the cousin he killed:

Glo. He that bereft thee, lady, of thy husband,
Did it to help thee to a better husband.
Anne. His better doth not breathe upon the earth.
Glo. He lives that loves thee better than he could.
Anne. Name him.
Glo. Plantagenet.
Anne. Why, that was he.
Glo. The self-same name, but one of better nature.
Anne. Where is he?
Glo. Here.

The long Plantagenet line comes to an end in 1485, when Richard III is defeated by a young man named Henry Tudor.

rick astley allusion to shakespeare

Rick Astley, before he became well known as a singer, did a bit of acting and even performed in some Shakespeare. Most of his Shakespeare work was done on stage and not screen, but there is a video clip of him performing the “never give her o’er” speech from The Two Gentlemen of Verona. The video can be found on YouTube here.

I leave the task of responding to the remaining search terms to my readers:

what would malcolm say about shakespeare advice in hamlet

what do shakespeare have to do with the gilded age

love letters written by shakespeare

who played in the kings men in macbeth

id, ego, superego of othello

four letter shakespearean rebuke

Googleplex – 2/7/10

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

It’s time once again to check in on what searches people have done to find themselves at Shakespeare Teacher, and to respond in the name of fun and public service. All of the following searches brought people to this site in the past week.

shakespeare palindrome

I had considered this as a weekly feature after I finished with the lipogram experiment, but how much potential is there here, really?

To blat droll Lord Talbot.

No mites use Timon.

Madam, I’m Adam.

You know, Adam. From As You Like It. If you can think of any good Shakespeare palindromes, feel free to post them here, but I’m done.

But if you’re looking for some Shakespeare-spelled-backwards fun, check out this still-unsolved puzzle from the archives. And feel free to solve it!

cymbeline queen age characters

I think of the Queen as much younger than Cymbeline, and very beautiful, which is why she has so much power over him. But she needs to be old enough to have a grown son, Cloten. The play roughly takes place around the first century AD, when mothers would have been young. I’ll say late-thirties/early-forties for the Queen.

let the games begin shakespeare

The expression “Let the games begin” does not appear in Shakespeare, and actually goes back much further than his time. But I deduce that the expression you’re thinking of is “The game’s afoot,” which comes from Shakespeare’s Henry V. Elementary, my dear searcher.

shakespeare glossary ipod

I have now had a chance to use the “Shakespeare Pro” app that I discussed here, and I’m ready to recommend it. The text is hyperlinked to a glossary, so you can look up specific words in context. There are still some issues to be worked out, but it’s definitely a good app to have. I have one minor quibble: when you click on a word, it gives you every definition of that word in Shakespeare, and not the specific way it is used where you clicked it. The two-volume Schmidt lexicon breaks down where the different words are used for each meaning. But, hey, for three bucks, this is a pretty cool thing to be able to carry around with you.

underused shakespeare monologue women

I really like Queen Margaret’s speech in Henry VI, Part Three. Margaret has captured the Duke of York, who has fought to claim his right to the throne. She tells him that she has had his young son Rutland killed, and gives him a napkin stained with the boy’s blood to dry his tears. She then taunts him by placing a paper crown on his head and ordering his death. Off with his head!

rap songs relating to the tudors

I’m not entirely certain about this, but I’m pretty sure that the Run DMC song “Mary, Mary” is about Queen Mary I of England. The lyric “Mary, Mary, why you buggin’?” means “Your royal highness, why are you executing so many Protestants?” Rather than wait to be burned at the stake, many Protestants chose to leave England, many of them no doubt exclaiming “I worry ’bout Mary, ’cause Mary is scary!”

I leave the task of responding to the remaining search terms to my readers:

why teach shakespeare

what was england and denmarks relationship during shakespeares lifetime

song playing when tudors is being advertised

shakespeare and eustachian tube

shakespeare’s language gin

i need to dress like mary tudor for a class play

Googleplex – 1/31/10

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

It’s time once again to check in on what searches people have done to find themselves at Shakespeare Teacher, and to respond in the name of fun and public service. All of the following searches brought people to this site in the past week.

arrested development shakespeare play

In the episode “Bringing Up Buster,” George-Michael, Maeby, and Steve Holt get involved with a Shakespeare play, which Tobias ends up directing. The cast list is posted below a sign that says Much Ado About Nothing, and the character names are Beatrice and Benedick, so that would seem to be that. But the lines in the play are from As You Like It. And is that kid on stage behind Maeby dressed like a donkey?

does the letter x mean king?

Rex means king in Latin. The letter X following the name of a king, as in King Louis X, is the Roman numeral for 10. So, for example, King Louis X of France is the tenth King of France named Louis. It should be pronounced “the Tenth.”

In the case of Malcolm X, it would be a major faux pas to say “Malcolm the Tenth.” Malcolm Little chose to replace his last name with the letter X to represent the lost names of African families taken to America in slavery.

which theatrical word has 4 consecutive letters in alphabetical order?

Great question! I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader. The four letters are “RSTU” and they appear consecutively in a word that relates to live theatre. Does anyone know what it is?

UPDATE: The answer can be found in the comments for this post.

religeon during shakespeare’s time in scotland

Shakespeare was born in the latter half of the 16th century, a century largely shaped by the Protestant Reformation, which affected each country differently. Scotland broke with the Pope in 1560. (For reference, Shakespeare was born in 1564, and King James in 1566.) The movement was led by John Knox, who studied with John Calvin in Geneva, and then returned to Scotland. The Scottish Reformation led to the foundation of the Presbyterian Church.

James was raised in the Church of Scotland, but came to feel that Presbyterianism was incompatible with monarchy. His reforms took hold during, and beyond the life of Shakespeare. For more information about the Church of Scotland, see this list of resources.

did the tudors speak similar to shakespeare

Yes, at least the later Tudors. Shakespeare lived in Tudor England for the first part of his life, and would have spoken roughly the same version of English as the royal family, setting aside allowances for class. But Shakespeare did not always write the way he spoke. Much of the language in his plays and poems is heightened, not trying to capture the way that people would have sounded, but rather to use language to express internal thoughts and emotions. It’s something he was very good at doing, needless to say.

It’s worth noting that the King James Bible was also published in Shakespeare’s lifetime (1611), which is why the language is so similar: “Thou shalt not…” and so on. The Bible was also translated into heightened language, though, and should not be considered an authentic representation of how people would have spoken at the time.

boal to do in class

I like to do Forum Theatre. Have students devise a scene illustrating a problem that is prevalent among them. There should be a clear protagonist who wants something but is prevented from getting it because of the problem. They perform the scene. Then they perform it again, but any member of the audience may interrupt the scene by yelling out “Stop!” at any time. At this point, the intervening audience member (spect-actor) replaces the protagonist and tries a new strategy. The other actors improvise around the new protagonist. This is a great way to workshop constructive solutions to pressing problems, to begin a process of rehearsing to make change, and to learn a lot about your students!

I leave the task of responding to the remaining search terms to my readers:

who did shakespeare admire

how shakespeare affected the english language

why francis bacon couldn’t have written shakespeare

king james badmouthed shakespeare

shakespeare games for five year olds ideas

how to make king lear fun

Googleplex – 1/24/10

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

It’s time once again to check in on what searches people have done to find themselves at Shakespeare Teacher, and to respond in the name of fun and public service. All of the following searches brought people to this site in the past week.

do the tudors trace their ancestry to antony and cleopatra

Probably not. Antony and Cleopatra did have three children, two boys and a girl. Cleopatra also had a child, Caesarion, from Julius Caesar. (“He plough’d her, and she cropp’d.” See how classy you sound when you quote Shakespeare?) Antony also had children from four of his wives.

After Octavius Caesar conquered Egypt (the events depicted in Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra) he executed Caesarion, and gave the three children of Antony and Cleopatra to his sister Octavia. Remember (from the play) that Octavia was Antony’s last wife, so she’s now raising the children of her husband and his mistress. Little is known of the two boys, and if they had lived to adulthood, they would probably have been mentioned in sources of the time because of their parentage. It is possible they may have secretly been killed to avoid a later challenge to Octavius. But it’s also possible that they lived on and had children of their own. There’s no way to know.

The daughter of Antony and Cleopatra, named Cleopatra Selene, was married to an African king, and they had – at least – great grandchildren. Zenobia, a third century Syrian queen, claimed to be descended from this line. So it’s certainly possible that the descendants of Antony and Cleopatra are among us today. And if so, the opportunities to multiply between the 1st century and the 15th century would be massive. Therefore, we cannot rule out definitively that the Tudors are descended from Antony and Cleopatra. But could they know this for sure, let alone trace it? No. Those 1400 years weren’t exactly known for their record keeping, and there is too much motivation for people to invent a famous lineage along the way.

king henry the eighth sister margaret

Margaret Tudor was Henry VIII’s older sister. She married James IV of Scotland in 1503, and a hundred years later, her great-grandson would become King of England (after Henry VIII’s line died out).

However, if you are asking about the character played by Gabrielle Anwar in The Tudors, you’re really looking for younger sister Mary Tudor. Another Mary would have probably been too confusing, so they conflated the two women into one character. Mary Tudor was the one who married an aging king only to be widowed three months later. Mary was the one who married Charles Brandon. I’ve only seen the first season of the show, so I don’t know what the character would later become, but in the first season, Margaret’s story is that of Mary Tudor.

good shakespearean pranks

Shakespeare had a lot of plots that centered around practical jokes. Often, they would blur the line between harmless prank and vicious revenge, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, am I right? Without any further ado, then, is my Top Ten list of Shakespearean pranks. Drum roll, please!

10. The Merry Wives of Windsor – I’m not a fan of this play, and I’m loathe to include it on the list of Top Ten anything. But a list of Shakespearean pranks would be incomplete without it, so here it is at #10. Suffice it to say, there are a number of pranks in this play. I’d list them, but I can’t be bothered.

9. Henry IV, Part Two – Hal and Poins disguise themselves as drawers and listen in on Falstaff’s bragging. They reveal themselves, but not before Falstaff has a chance to badmouth the Prince behind his back. The fun comes when Falstaff tries to talk his way out of it.

8. Measure for Measure – The “bed trick” and the “head trick” are serious deceptions and can hardly be considered a prank. But what about what I like to call the “fled trick”? The Duke pretends to leave Vienna, but instead stays back disguised as a friar. I guess the joke’s on Angelo. Busted!

7. Twelfth Night – Malvolio, imprisoned in darkness, recieves a visit from Sir Topas the curate. Actually, it’s Feste the jester disguising his voice. Playing both parts, Feste drives the supposed madman one step closer to real madness.

6. Much Ado about Nothing – Beatrice and Benedick’s merry war takes a surprising turn when their friends allow them to overhear conversations to make each believe the other is in love. The prank becomes self-fulfilling. “Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.”

5. Henry IV, Part One – Hal and Poins pretend to go along with Falstaff’s plan to rob some travellers. But they enter in disguise after the fact and rob the robbers! They reveal their prank after Falstaff has been boasting about his encounter with the unknown thieves.

4. The Tempest – Prospero uses his magic to get revenge on those who have wronged him. But the havoc only lasts the afternoon and there’s no real damage done. The whole play is one big prank.

3. A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Puck changes Bottom into an ass. And Titania, having been spiked with a love potion by Oberon, falls in love with the creature. Hilarity ensues.

2. Twelfth Night – Maria forges a letter from Olivia to Malvolio, hinting that she is in love with him. Toby, Andrew, and Fabian spy on Malvolio as he reads the letter, which tells him to come to her in an outlandish manner… and he does.

1. Othello – Iago tricks Othello into believing that his wife has been unfaithful, so he kills her. Not really a prank, you say? Check out this video.

famous monologues from king lear

There are a lot of good monologues for men from King Lear. To start with, you can find monologues from Lear here, from Edmund here, and Edgar here. The female characters in the play have some great speeches, but nothing I would particularly pull out as a monologue.

shakespeare animation

You may be looking for Shakespeare: The Animated Tales, a series of half-hour condensed animated versions of Shakespeare plays. But I’ve also done a lot of work with students creating animated versions of Macbeth, As You Like It, and The Tempest. And since this is Shakespeare Teacher, I’ll offer some information about how to do it.

When I did these animation projects, the students did the artwork in HyperStudio, they recorded the sound in SoundEffects, and they aligned the two in iMovie. It was frame-by-frame, which is time consuming, but HyperStudio had a card-and-stack interface that made it go much more quickly. That was quite a few years ago, though, and I do mostly video projects now. I don’t know if HyperStudio is even still around, and people use Audacity for sound recordings today. iMovie is still the best game in town if you want to coordinate frame animation.

I know a lot of people who like to use the website Scratch for student animations. The one problem with Scratch is that you can only view the animations from the Scratch website. You cannot download the movie file and post it to YouTube.

I’ve heard, particularly from Shakespeare teachers, a lot of enthusiasm surrounding Kar2ouche. I looked at it once, a long time ago, and I dismissed it because there are a lot of pre-made templates, and I wanted my students to visually interpret the characters themselves. But time being a factor, I would probably recommend it, and I’ve seen some Shakespeare projects that look really sharp. Every so often, someone asks me if I’ve heard of Kar2ouche.

Of course, if your kids are into Second Life, there has been some animated Shakespeare coming from that quarter as well. There is also stop motion photography, which can be done with a digital camera, iMovie, and a lot of patience.

was queen elizabeth illegitimate child shakespeare

I can interpret this in four ways:

1. Was Queen Elizabeth the illegitimate child of Shakespeare?
2. Was Queen Elizabeth’s illegitimate child Shakespeare?
3. Did Queen Elizabeth’s illegitimate child actually write the plays of Shakespeare?
4. Was Queen Elizabeth an illegitimate child according to Shakespeare?

Elizabeth was older than Shakespeare, so #1 is a clear No. I don’t know of any illegitimate children of Elizabeth. This seems to me to be something easier for a king to pull off than a queen. If she had gone through a pregnancy, I doubt she’d have kept the nickname “the Virgin Queen” for very long. So we can answer a No for #2 and #3 as well.

As for whether Elizabeth herself was illegitimate, that’s a fair question. It all depends on how legitimate you consider the annulment of Henry VIII and his first wife. But Shakespeare certainly wouldn’t have painted her as illegitimate. When she was alive, he wrote plays that glorified her ancestors, and long after she died, his play Henry VIII treated her birth as a moment of great hope for the future of England.

So I’m not sure what you’re asking, but the answer is probably No.

I leave the task of responding to the remaining search terms to my readers:

shakespeare reading list

headline tell us that macbeth saves Scotland

theme of religion in shakespeare’s “as you like it”

what inspired shakespeare to write king lear

how people were killed when shakespear was alive

madrid in april 2010 literature teachers

Googleplex – 1/17/10

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

It’s time once again to check in on what searches people have done to find themselves at Shakespeare Teacher, and to respond in the name of fun and public service. All of the following searches brought people to this site in the past week.

good rap song to introduce shakespeare

That’s a good question. For the past five years, I’ve been using “Mosh” by Eminem. It was great for teaching repetition, rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, antithesis, allusion, and emendation (where I edited out the profanity). Useful as it is, though, it’s starting to get a little old, so I’d appreciate any good suggestions. Are there any popular hip hop songs today that use a lot of poetic devices that might be good for teaching Shakespeare?

did tudors write in english

Well, the Tudors were English, but it’s important to remember that they reigned from 1485 to 1603, a time of extraordinary changes in publishing, literacy, and what would be considered “the English language.” This was the time of the Great Vowel Shift, as Middle English transitioned into Early Modern English, and the Middle Ages gave way to the Renaissance.

Probably the most famous work written by a Tudor monarch would be the Defense of the Seven Sacraments, which Henry VIII wrote in Latin, a very common written language at the time. However, his personal letters are in English.

what does bloody mary have to do with shakespeare

Bloody Mary refers to Queen Mary I, another Tudor monarch who reigned from 1553-1558. She was daughter to Henry VIII (by Catherine of Aragon) and older sister to Elizabeth I. She died before Shakespeare was born, and does not appear in any of his plays, not even the one that bears her father’s name.

ghost the fine worth anagram shakespeare plays

The phrase “ghost the fine worth” is an anagram of “Twelfth Night, or Shoe” if you add an extra “L” into the mix. But “Shoe” is not the subtitle of that play, and the extra “L” is cheating, so that’s probably not it. If you do allow substitutions, you can swap “S” for “KNURY” and make “King Henry the Fourth, Two.” The closest I can come is to remove an “O” from the original phrase and replace it with “AEM.” What play title could you anagram then?

UPDATE: Play title discovered by Dharam. See comments for answer.

what grade level is as you like it?

It’s hard to really put a play at a particular grade level. I prefer to teach the play I want to teach, and plan instruction to fit the students I’m teaching. I’ve only taught As You Like It twice, once to 7th graders and once to graduate students. The lighthearted tone of the play and the fun situations that it depicts make this a fun choice for even the youngest students studying Shakespeare. So if you’re wondering if As You Like It would be a good play for your students, it probably is!

prior to what historical event is the play set in macbeth

The historical Macbeth died in 1057, so the event you’re looking for is most likely the Battle of Hastings in 1066. This completed the Norman invasion, and basically defined what we think of England even today. William the Conqueror became King William I of England, and every English monarch since – whether King John or Richard III or Henry VIII or George III or Victoria or Elizabeth II – has been a direct descendant of his. That is one impressive legacy.

I leave the task of responding to the remaining search terms to my readers:

using shakespeare to increase literacy

how did shakespeare fight back

what technology influenced shakespeare in his times?

iago othello represent the id ego superego

obituary in shakespearean language

slings & arrows new burbage 2010

Double Googleplex – 1/10/10

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

I subscribe to a service called “SiteMeter” which allows me to see a limited amount of information about my visitors. One thing that I can see is if someone finds my site via a Google search, and what they were searching for.

Every now and then I check in on what searches people have done to find themselves at Shakespeare Teacher, and to respond to those search terms in the name of fun and public service. All of the following searches brought readers to this site in the past week.


catherine of aragon monologue

Queen Katherine in Shakespeare’s Henry VIII is Catherine of Aragon. You can find good monologue material here and here.

agusto boal’s influences

You really have to consider Paulo Friere as Augusto Boal’s number one influence. Boal’s works also contain significant references to Marx, Hegel, Aristotle, Brecht, and Shakespeare. He was, of course, also greatly influenced by all of the many people with whom he interacted during his lifetime.

teacher help for shakespeare hamlet obituaries

I love the idea of having students write obituaries for Shakespeare’s characters. They could also write classified ads, advice column requests, and news stories. I’ve recently read blog posts where characters from Shakespeare have written Letters to Santa and New Year’s Resolutions, and these seem like good writing assignments for students as well.

why is macbeth so successful

Because he kills everyone who might possibly get in his way. But is he ultimately successful? See below.

what does macbeth have to look forward to in his old age?

Nothing. He’s dead.

Even if he weren’t, life would be bleak. His wife would be gone, and he’d be out of power. And as a former tyrant, he’d be made a laughing stock among the people. His decision to attack Macduff after all of the prophecies have come true may seem reckless to us, but he may not feel that he has a choice.

hidden messages in shakespeare “i … wrote this”

People looking for hidden “I wrote this” messages in Shakespeare are generally looking to prove that the plays were written by someone else. Shakespeare would have had little reason to hide such a message. But take a look at this page from a late Hamlet quarto, and see if you can find Shakespeare’s authorship message (hint: look at the writing below “Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”).

slings and arrows the tempest

None of the three seasons of Slings & Arrows centered around The Tempest, but the very first scene of the series does. Geoffrey is directing this very play before the events that will bring him back to the New Burbage. I often tell people who may be interested in the show to watch this scene and the opening credits, and if they’re not hooked by then, there is no need to go on.

ideas for teaching macbeth to 10 year olds

With this age group, I recommend doing activities to introduce the plot, characters, and themes of the play before they read the actual text. Start here, and if you like what you read, check out my doctoral dissertation, which was on this exact topic. You should also check out the Cambridge School Shakespeare Macbeth, which has a lot of great activities that can be adapted to this age group, and the Shakespeare Set Free book that includes Macbeth for even more great ideas.

which war occured during shakespeare’s life

Probably the most significant war Shakespeare lived through was the undeclared Anglo-Spanish War. In the late 16th century, Spanish King Phillip II was gathering an international coalition of Catholic forces to launch an invasion of England and overthrow Queen Elizabeth I. The Spanish Armada was famously defeated by the English navy in 1588. This victory launched a new wave of patriotic fervor among the English, and a popular trend of writing plays about English kings just as Shakespeare was beginning his career as a playwright.

was shakespeare a tudor

No. Tudor was the surname of the English royal family from 1485 to 1603. The man we refer to as King Henry VIII was born Henry Tudor, Queen Elizabeth I was Elizabeth Tudor, etc. Margaret Tudor, sister of Henry VIII, married James Stuart (King James IV of Scotland) and their offspring continued the Stuart line in Scotland. Eventually, the Stuarts (in the person of James VI of Scotland) ascended to the English throne as well. When we speak of the Tudors and the Stuarts, then, we are not referring to titles, but to actual family names.

So, Shakespeare wasn’t a Tudor; he was a Shakespeare. But he was born and raised under Tudor rule. He lived the rest of his life under Stuart rule.

oikos polis anthony and cleopatra

I was taken aback by this one.

In this post, I discussed how ancient Greek playwrights would often show characters torn between their solemn duties to their oikos (family) and their polis (state), and how this is also a recurring theme in the television series 24. I also discussed how both 24 and ancient Greek tragedy share a unity of place, and used Antony and Cleopatra as a counter-example to demonstrate that Shakespeare did not have to conform to this unity.

What, then, was this search looking for? I don’t really think that oikos vs. polis is a theme in Antony and Cleopatra. It seems to me that the interests of family and state are aligned, and what the title characters are really balancing are those interests vs. their own passions.

king of england who did not have y chromosomes

The technical term for a king with no Y chromosomes is a “queen.” Notable queens of England have included a couple of Elizabeths, a couple of Marys, an Anne, and a Victoria (plus others, depending on what you want to count).

Almost by definition, a man has an X chromosome and a Y chromosome, and a woman has two X chromosomes. I say almost, because it is possible for there to be variations, but I am not familiar with any kings of England with such a condition.

I leave the task of responding to the remaining search terms to my readers:

prisoner’s dilemma lear

list of tv influenced by shakespeare

how to write a tudor invitation

robert duvall shakespeare

what does evil teach king lear?

shakespeare visual art

vienna`s english theatre macbeth zusammenfassung

genghis the teacher

social justice theatre

teaching the tempest using utube

humor in othello

comment of fifth act of macbeth from line 10 to 25

Double Googleplex

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

I subscribe to a service called “SiteMeter” which allows me to see a limited amount of information about my visitors. One thing that I can see is if someone finds my site via a Google search, and what they were searching for.

It’s been a while, but every now and then I check in on what searches people have done to find themselves at Shakespeare Teacher, and to respond to those search terms in the name of fun and public service.

In celebration of the fact that I’m moving the Googleplex to Sundays, I’m going to double my usual 6-for-me/6-for-you format and give you 12 of each. Full disclosure: I actually started this post some time ago. All of the following 24 searches did bring people to this site in the same week; it just wasn’t this past week.


william shakespeare’s teachers

I kept getting hits for this search, and couldn’t for the life of me figure out what people were looking for. Then, I realized that they were searching for this TED lecture on how schools kill creativity, given by Sir Ken Robinson in 2006. It’s almost 20 minutes long, but well worth watching. I should have posted this a long time ago.

freud and arrested development

I think they were looking for the actual psychological phenomenon, and not my analysis of a sitcom. But this post now ranks fourth in this particular Google search. The Internet is a funny place.

if shakespeare were alive today, who in history would he write tragedy about?

Shakespeare’s take on George III would have been well worth the staging. He probably would have also had a go at William III and the Glorious Revolution. We’d probably still be staging the famous Battle of the Boyne scene and debating whether or not Shakespeare was a secret Jacobite.

two monarchs reigned during shakespare lifetime. the bu

The two monarchs were Elizabeth I and James I. I’m not really sure what the rest of your question was going to be.

what do shakespeare’s play show about religion of the time

Shakespeare lived between two periods of severe religious strife. The mid-16th century was marked by radical shifts in English religious life described in greater detail here. After Shakespeare’s death, growing religious tension between Catholics and Protestants would lead to civil war and the execution of King Charles I. Compared to these two periods of violence, Shakespeare’s England was relatively stable religiously, though obviously there was still some unrest.

People have looked to Shakespeare’s plays for clues of where he fell on the question, but there’s no concrete evidence either way. Most of his plays are set either before the Protestant Reformation or in Northern Italy (which was solidly Catholic at the time) so Shakespeare – seemingly by design – didn’t have to deal with the religious issue much. One notable exception is Measure for Measure, which takes place in Vienna. If you would like to read Shakespeare’s scenes depicting a Protestant official debating the death penalty with a Catholic novice, you will find them here and here.

the religion in king lear

King Lear takes place in pre-Christian Britain. The characters make various references to Roman gods such as Jupiter and Apollo.

what inspired shakespeare to write macbeth?

Queen Elizabeth died in 1603, and Shakespeare had spent much of his career writing popular plays about her famous ancestors. When James I ascended the throne, Shakespeare wrote a play about his ancestors to honor the new king.

Note that the bloodthirsty Macbeth is not one of these ancestors. Rather, the noble Duncan, Malcolm, Siward, Banquo, and Fleance are the ancestors of James depicted in the play. Oh yeah, and the first seven of the show of eight kings. See below.

how does the vision of the eight kings make macbeth feel

Not good. Concerned about a prophecy that says that Banquo’s decendants will be kings, Macbeth demands to know whether all that he has done has been for the benefit of another’s line. The witches show him eight kings, and Banquo’s ghost who points to them as his. These eight kings correspond with the eight actual Stuart kings of Scotland. The eighth king is James himself.

shakespeare plays for junior high students

Well, I suppose the conventional answers are Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But I’ve had some success with Othello and Cymbeline which aren’t exactly the first plays that come to mind when I think of the term “age appropriate.” If you can find a way to help students make it their own, the experience will encourage them to appreciate Shakespeare, no matter which play you choose. Go with a selection that you’re passionate about, and maybe your enthusiasm will be infectious. Or, if you’re really daring, describe a few of the plays to the students, and let them choose which one they want to work with.

jack cade henry 6th monologue

Ah, Jack Cade – one of Shakespeare’s most under-recognized comic characters. Propped up as a claimant to the throne, the rough-hewn Cade promises to kill all the lawyers and ban literacy. The famous scene is here and you can find Cade monologues here and here.

does everyone play the queen from cymbeline as purely evil?

She’s pretty clearly evil, and I’ve never seen her played any other way, but that’s as far as I can go. I’m sure someone has played her otherwise. Does anyone have another experience, or an idea of an alternate interpretation?

“nymph fly” tempest

This makes me very curious. Were they looking for my Tempest lipogram? Or did they have another reason to search for this? It seems pretty specific to me. Hmmm.

I leave the task of responding to the remaining search terms to my readers:

why teach shakespeare

what would you change about macbeth

henry vi jimmy carter

romeo juliet boal technique

what creative artists did shakespeare admire?

why people like genghis khan

3 levels of shakespeare

activities to introduce macbeth

what technology did william shakespeare used

shakespeare “they fight”

how has shakespeare changed our expectations of tragedy to aristotle in romeo and juliet

anagrams for morning coffee

Googleplex – 5/29/09

Friday, May 29th, 2009

It’s time once again to check in on what searches people have done to find themselves at Shakespeare Teacher, and to respond in the name of fun and public service. All of the following searches brought people to this site in the past week.

similarities between shakespeare and the west wing

Just as Shakespeare’s history plays are often an examination of the inner lives of kings, The West Wing is an examination of what it’s like to be the President. Both deal with the psychological consequences of holding so much power. Was Bartlet’s sleeping disorder modeled after Henry IV’s?

Sorkin was certainly aware of the resonance, and a major story arc in Season 3 centered around President Bartlet attending a condensed version of Shakespeare’s history plays. In one scene, the President takes a moment to distract himself from some bad news about his re-election campaign to tell his aide about how excited he was about seeing the play. Then, he asks what’s really on his mind:

“If Shakespeare wrote a play about me, how many parts do you think it would be?”

shakespeare crosswqrd puzzles and answers

I never did post the answers to this Shakespeare crossword. I’ll give it another week in case anybody still wants to try it, and then I’ll post the answers.

king henry the 8th wives names

Catherine of Aragon
Anne Boleyn
Jane Seymour
Anne of Cleves
Catherine Howard
Catherine Parr

are our royal family descendants of henry the eighth

This search came in from the UK.

Since 1066, when William the Conqueror won the Battle of Hastings, the English crown has been held by one family (with a brief interregnum in the 1650’s). All subsequent monarchs have been direct descendants of William. So Queen Elizabeth II, for example, inherited the crown from her father King George VI, who (after his brother’s abdication) came to power through his father, King George V. His father was King Edward VII, whose mother was Queen Victoria. You could continue her line all the way back to William the Conqueror.

Henry VIII is also descended from William the Conqueror, but has no verified descendants. However, the Queen is descended from some of Henry’s suspected illegitimate children. So if they are, then she is.

why was shakespeare so successful? riddle

I keep getting this search term. I give up. Why?

gwyneth paltrow shakespeare descendant

No, she isn’t. It was just a movie.

I leave the task of responding to the remaining search terms to my readers:

shakespeare and jewish religion in 16th and 17 century

macbeth character analysis malcolm’s objects and adjective

shakespeare’s histories and saddam

macbeth teaching fun

“othello act 4 scene 3” themes

william shakespeare’s teachers

Googleplex – 5/15/09

Friday, May 15th, 2009

It’s time once again to check in on what searches people have done to find themselves at Shakespeare Teacher, and to respond in the name of fun and public service. All of the following searches brought people to this site in the past week.

shakespeare john talbot monologue

There are two John Talbots in Shakespeare, both in Henry VI, Part One. Shakespeare distinguishes them by calling them Lord Talbot (the father) and John Talbot (his son). The son, I believe, only appears in two scenes, found here and here, and doesn’t really have what you’d call a monologue. In both scenes, Lord Talbot wants his son to flee the battle, but the young John Talbot prefers death to dishonor. The father has a larger part in the play, including a number of long speeches throughout the play, but I’m not sure which monologue you’re looking for. Perhaps you could look for a monologue here or here.

ugliest monarchs in history

Well, that’s entirely subjective, but I will nominate Charles II of Spain who is a classic example of what happens when cousins marry.

fairytale influece in shakespeare

For Shakespeare at his most fairy-tale-esque, check out the four Romance plays he wrote towards the end of his career: Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest. If it’s actual fairies you’re looking for (and even a talking animal), then I’d recommend A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But one play that you might not expect to be influenced by fairy tales is none other than our own King Lear. Check out Love Like Salt to see the retelling of the source fairy tale across a variety of cultures.

utube 5th grade a midsummer night dream

It’s YouTube, and if you go there and search, the most relevant find seems to be this claymation version of the play, created by a fifth-grade class. I’ve directed Midsummer with fifth-graders, and even taped it, but the quality of the tape is too poor for posting. I am working on a number of video projects with 8th graders right now, and I hope to be able to share them with you by the end of next month.

romeo and juliet act 2 scene 1

This is the scene before the famous balcony scene, and it can be found here. Romeo appears on stage, having just left the party where he has met Juliet, and decides to hide from Benvolio and Mercutio so he can go back and find her. As Romeo’s friends search for him, they mock his preoccupation with love. Finally, they give up and leave. The next scene begins with Romeo’s response: “He jests at scars that never felt a wound.” This would seem to indicate that the action is continuous, and that a scene break is unwarranted. But tradition breaks the scene here, and really, who wants to be the first one to mess with the numbering of the balcony scene?

henry viii catherine of aragon using rapidshare

Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon used Rapidshare until Henry’s break with the Catholic church in the early 1530’s. The Act of Unlimited Bandwidth was introduced into Parliment in 1532, and made Live Mesh the only permissible file hosting service in England. This enraged the Pope, who sent Henry a papal bull of excommunication as a PDF file via YouSendIt. It was his sixth wife, Catherine Parr, who convinced Henry to use Megaupload, which he did until his death in 1547.

I leave the task of responding to the remaining search terms to my readers:

who becomes claudia’s plot against hamlet?

the tempest crossword shakespeare

vitruvian man, thomas jefferson

riddle “marvin the martian” dice

macbeth:in shakespeare time

character analysis of anne boleyn in shakespeare’s henry the eighth