Anybody can be Shakespeare
- Writing better speeches, lyrics and everything by stealing techniques from an expert.
Tue. 2nd. Period Nerida Rand
Discussion, Literature, Presentation, Project, Speaking, Vocabulary, Writing

Shakespeare is the one English writer that we've all heard of.  Why? The stories in his plays are good, but he borrowed and adapted many of them.  The reason that we remember Shakespeare's versions, rather than the originals, is because of the magic of his language techniques.  In this course you will look at Shakespeare's, as well as see how they are used by writers, musicians, rappers, and even advertisers in modern society. Let's find the fun in the way he played with words and sounds. And then you'll borrow and adapt those techniques to create some spoken and written language magic of your own.


You will be able to use language patterns within writing to more easily memorise speeches and other long text.

You will be able to identify major language techniques used in examples of "good" poetry and prose.

You will be able to use selected language techniques to improve your own writing. 


Homework and class participation: 60%
Assignment - analysis & presentation of a Shakespearean speech: 25%
Attendance : 15%
Extra credit available: 5%


Welcome! Introduction to the course, and to this Shakespeare guy.  We'll confirm what we already know about Shakespeare, and what we are interested in learning about him.  

(The semester's curriculum is loosely set, but may change slightly depending on the interests of the students who enrol.)





TOPIC 1 - Verse and prose - what's the difference and what's it for?

How are song lyrics different from the way we speak every day?  What can make a person's everyday words sound poetic?  And how about rap?  We're going to look at "heightened language", and how prose and poetry are different.


TOPIC 2 - .... and what's iambic pentameter?

Shakespeare used a pattern known as iambic pentameter.  We think of it as a typically Shakespearean, even though he didn't invent it, but he used it really well.  We'll look at what the other combinations are besides iambic, and what other patterns there are besides pentameter.  We'll then look at how Shakespeare uses them, and to what effect.


From the following weeks, we will study a new topic each week, but combine it with the topics that we have already studied, to examine how they combine to make language special.

TOPIC 3 - lists and repetition



TOPIC 3 - lists and repetition


TOPIC 4 - alliteration


TOPIC 5 - rhyme


SPEECHES AND TEXT 1 - putting together everything we've done so far, to look at some examples from Shakespeare's major plays.


TOPIC 6 - imagery



TOPIC 7 - rude bits and insults



SPEECHES AND TEXT 2 - putting together everything we've done so far, to look at some more examples from Shakespeare's major plays.



TOPIC 8 - cue scripts

We'll examine how Shakespeare embedded clues in the writing that instructed the actors on what to do, so that minimal rehearsal was required.


SPEECHES AND TEXT 3 - looking at where we find these language techniques in modern language 



REVIEW WEEK - students will choose which topic we will cover in the final week. 


I had to read Shakespeare in high school.  I hated it. It was old, boring, and very hard to understand. Part of the problem is that Shakespeare didn't write his plays for people to read, he wrote them for actors to speak the language and for the audience to hear the stories.  In this course, we will spend a lot of time "studying" Shakespeare's words by reading them aloud and bringing them to life; we'll write, but also speak, perform and play with the language. I promise you'll start to see why Shakespeare was so popular with his audiences. And that he's really pretty cool.