An outline for an essay on #Shakespeare’s As You Like It, including an explanation of All The World’s A Stage

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: 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? 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:

Paragraphs 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. 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? 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.
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 3
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.

This is an explanation of Duke Senior’s speech about living in the forest:

1. Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?
Here feel we not the penalty of Adam,
The seasons’ difference, as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter’s wind,
Which when it bites and blows upon my body
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile, and say
’This is no flattery. These are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am.’
Sweet are the uses of adversity
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

Log onto this video explanation of Jacques discussing about a fool he meets:

2. As I do live by food, I met a fool,
Who laid him down and basked him in the sun,
And railed on Lady Fortune in good terms,
In good set terms, and yet a motley fool.
’Good morrow, fool,’ quoth I. ‘No, sir,’ quoth he,
’Call me not fool till heaven hath sent me fortune.’
And then he drew a dial from his poke,
And looking on it with lack-lustre eye
Says very wisely ‘It is ten o’clock.’
’Thus we may see’, quoth he, ‘how the world wags.
’Tis but an hour ago since it was nine,
And after one hour more ‘twill be eleven.
And so from hour to hour we ripe and ripe,
And then from hour to hour we rot and rot;
And thereby hangs a tale.’

This is an explanation of Jacques’ All The World’s A Stage speech:

All the world’s a stage (from As You Like It 2/7)
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Paragraphs 4 and 5
Discuss your evaluations of the other plays you saw, and your thoughts on the As You Like It film, providing DETAILED evidence of your points.

Paragraph 6
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.

Write in this box how his theatre would have been different from what you have produced.

Paragraphs 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. How is Shakespearean theatre and film different NOW from how it was in his day? What are the key things you learnt from this project?

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 ( 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,, a blog that celebrates non-selective state schools, and has his own website, 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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