#Shakespeare then and now. What can we learn from #Shakespeare today? An essay plan and instructions

Shakespeare then and now. What can we learn from Shakespeare today? (Refer in depth to a Shakespeare play you have studied)

Learning objectives: to develop your essay writing skills, to develop your ability to research, to develop your ‘resilience’: improve your concentration and independent learning skills.

THIS IS YOUR ROUGH DRAFT DOCUMENT. You will paste your boxes together in a NEW DOCUMENT to produce your FINAL essay. You need to write in sentences here, but you can add notes too, using Microsoft Review etc…

Use: https://asyoulikeitreloaded.wordpress.com/ and Google to do research.

You will be ASKED off the computers if you don’t concentrate…


Save this document to your documents in an English folder, calling it As You Like It essay


Upload your essay to the VLE in Hand-in, As You Like It essays.



You must do at least THREE boxes in the lesson. And three more for homework…



Why study Shakespeare? What does he have to say to us today? Shakespeare wrote his plays over 500 years ago, between 1590-1612, for an audience who had NO experience of modern life as we know it. There were no cars, no videos, no computers, no newspapers. Printing books had just started. His plays were shown in the daylight, in the afternoon in London. Although he wrote in a time when 95% of the population were illiterate (couldn’t read and write), his plays were aimed at a  very well educated ELITE, very rich people: merchants, courtiers, royal people. People were obsessed by WORD PLAY, puns, rhymes, alliteration, onomatopoeia. They brought up to find real pleasure in WORD PLAY. The closest we get to this now is possibly RAP, which plays with words, using rhythm and rhyme, puns and alliteration to create its effects.

Now write your answer in this box:












Paragraph 1

Explain how things are very different now.

Discuss IN DEPTH your own experiences of Shakespeare in school and on film. What have you enjoyed and why? Do some research for this, look online for ideas, using the links on the website. Remind yourself of things you’ve already done.

Now write your answer in this box:











Paragraph 2

Discuss in DETAIL how you adapted your Shakespeare play for the stage. Explain IN DETAIL how and WHY you changed the NARRATIVE(story/plot) of Shakespeare’s play for your play. Do some research for this, look online for ideas, using the links on the website.













Paragraph 3

Discuss in DETAIL how you updated and modernised the characters. Discuss what they are like in the ORIGINAL play and how you changed them for your play. What were the similarities and differences?













Paragraph 4


Discuss in DETAIL how you updated the settings of Shakespeare’s play. Explain what the ORIGINAL settings were in Shakespeare’s play…FIND QUOTATIONS from Shakespeare’s original play and ANALYSE the quotation, explaining how and why you changed the setting. Do some research for this, look online for ideas, using the links on the website.











Paragraph 5


Discuss in DETAIL how and why you changed the language of Shakespeare’s play. FIND TWO or THREE key quotations and explain WHY they are important quotes in the play, explain how you MIGHT have adapted them for your play to IMPROVE it still further, or explain how you took some dialogue and improved it if you did this… Do some research for this, look online for ideas, using the links on the website.












Paragraph 6


Discuss how you updated the THEMES of Shakespeare’s play such as the theme of LOVE, BATTLE of the SEXES, or GENDER DIFFERENCES/SWAPPING. Do some research for this, look online for ideas, using the links on the website.


Paragraph 7 and 8

You think of something! Think of things you have learned from Shakespeare.



Write a conclusion, discussing the things we can learn from studying Shakespeare, summing up the key thoughts of your essay.


About @wonderfrancis

Francis Gilbert is a Lecturer in Education at Goldsmiths, University of London, teaching on the PGCE Secondary English programme. He also teaches the Creative Writing module on the MA in Children’s Literature, which is run by Maggie Pitfield and Professor Michael Rosen. Previously, he worked for a quarter of a century in various English state schools teaching English and Media Studies to 11-18 year olds. He has, at times, moonlighted as a journalist, novelist and social commentator. He is the author of ‘Teacher On The Run’, ‘Yob Nation’, ‘Parent Power’, ‘Working The System -- How To Get The Very Best State Education for Your Child’, and a novel about school, ‘The Last Day Of Term’. His first book, ‘I'm A Teacher, Get Me Out Of Here’ was a big hit, becoming a bestseller and being serialised on Radio 4. In his role as an English teacher, he has taught many classic texts over the years and has developed a great many resources to assist readers with understanding, appreciating and responding to them both analytically and creatively. This led him to set up his own small publishing company FGI Publishing (fgipublishing.com) which has published his study guides as well as a number of books by other authors, including Roger Titcombe’s ‘Learning Matters’ and anthology of creative writing 'The Gold Room'. He is the co-founder, with Melissa Benn and Fiona Millar, of The Local Schools Network, www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk, a blog that celebrates non-selective state schools, and has his own website, www.francisgilbert.co.uk. He has appeared numerous times on radio and TV, including Newsnight, the Today Programme, Woman’s Hour and the Russell Brand Show. In June 2015, he was awarded a PhD in Creative Writing and Education by Goldsmiths.
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