Inspiring Young Minds: Teaching Students About “Shakespeare in Love”
“Shakespeare in Love” is a 1998 romantic comedy-drama film that illustrates an imaginary love story between the celebrated playwright William Shakespeare and a fictional character named Viola de Lesseps. This film serves as an excellent educational tool to teach students about the connections between Shakespeare’s life, his work, and the historical context in which he lived, particularly when it comes to understanding his love stories.
1. Begin with an Introduction to William Shakespeare
Introduce your students to the important facts about Shakespeare’s life, his works, and his contribution to the English language. Encourage them to read and analyze some of his most well-known love stories—such as “Romeo and Juliet,” “Othello,” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”—to better understand his portrayal of love.
2. Watch “Shakespeare in Love”
After giving your students a solid grounding in Shakespeare’s plays, have them watch the movie “Shakespeare in Love.” Although the film is fictional, it portrays various aspects of life during Elizabethan England, shedding light on some truths surrounding the playwright’s identity.
3. Analyze the Film’s Relationship with Historical Context
Following the film screening, initiate group discussions that focus on connecting the movie with real-life historical events. Investigate themes such as societal norms of the time, gender roles, class divisions, and theater culture. Encourage students to examine how these elements are depicted in both “Shakespeare in Love” and Shakespeare’s own plays.
4. Encourage Creative Writing
Inspire your students to create their own stories by giving them writing prompts that draw upon themes present in both “Shakespeare in Love” and Shakespeare’s plays. This activity encourages creative thinking while prompting students to apply their knowledge of historical context and thematic analysis.
5. Stage Scenes from Shakespeare’s Works
Organize a series of workshops where students can perform selected scenes from Shakespeare’s plays, allowing them to delve deeper into character, style, plot, and language. Also, consider inviting local theater actors or experts to provide insights and guidance on accurate portrayals of these scenes.
“Shakespeare in Love” proves to be more than just an entertaining film, but also a valuable teaching tool that brings Shakespeare’s world to life. Incorporating the movie into your curriculum can create meaningful connections between history and literature, giving your students a broader understanding of the importance of Shakespeare’s works in the context of his time. By using these approaches, you will equip your students with a newfound appreciation for one of history’s most influential writers and his unique portrayal of love.