“Shakespeare may have died over 400 years ago, but he is still very much alive today”

I’m so excited as I start my online learning journey with Bard101x, Shakespeare Matters by University of Adelaide. After a brief introduction into Shakespeare’s world in the opening module,  it’s time to start the first class – about Shakespeare’s life and his most famous play – Hamlet.

During the online course I also learnt about the following plays:

If you’re interested to join the online course, here’s the link: “Bard101x, Shakespeare Matters“.

About Shakespeare

I got a glimpse into Shakespeare’s life and the cultural context of his times (for instance, about The Globe, London and The Liberties, how theatre was seen at that time). Apart from videos, there were also other activities about Shakespeare’s life, for example an interactive timeline.

the bard101x shakespeare timeline university adelaide
Interactive timeline. Image from the online course Bard101x, Shakespeare Matters by University of Adelaide

Regarding The Bard, did you know that …

  • Some leading biographers argue that Shakespeare was born on 23rd of April, just three days before his baptism (!)
  • Shakespeare was 18 years old and Anne Hathaway was 26 years old when they married
  • It is believed that Shakespeare died on 23rd of April, the same day as he was born, aged 52 years


The play’s storyline was briefly narrated through a short animated video. This made it very accessible and easy to understand.

hamlet shakespeare bard101x university adelaide readers high tea
Story of Hamlet. Image from the online course Bard101x, Shakespeare Matters by University of Adelaide

In a tiny nutshell, Hamlet is a tragedy about the revenge of Prince of Denmark against his uncle, who murdered Hamlet’s father in order to become king. Key word: revenge.

hamlet-comics shakespeare

Literary insights

After I got familiar with the storyline and the characters, it was time to get into some literary details – blank verse, iambic parameter, how to recognize prose vs. poetry in Shakespeare’s plays.

The parts I liked the most were the Speak the Speech activities. They focused on important / famous fragments of the play and had 3 components:

  • brief explanation of the context and meaning
  • exploration of the written text with interactive help (magic!)
  • video of 2 people performing the two fragments

The interactive text feature is so useful, just like having an integrated dictionary! There are both explanations of poetic features (yellow) and word explanations (green).

hamlet shakespeare bard101x university adelaide readers high tea text


hamlet shakespeare bard101x university adelaide readers high tea text2
Interactive text. Images from the online course Bard101x, Shakespeare Matters by University of Adelaide

For Hamlet, the two fragments discussed were “What piece of work is a man!” and “To be, or not to be“. It was amazing to hear the two fragments narrated by different people, and now I finally understood the context around the famous “To be, or not to be” 🙂

hamlet shakespeares globe readers high tea
Hamlet during performance at the Kourion Theatre, Cyprus, 2014. Image from facebook.com/ShakespearesGlobe

I am so looking forward to the second module where I will learn about A Midsummer Night’s Dream!

‘Till next time … happy reading Shakespeare!


PS: I am writing about this course at my own will. I was not paid to promote the course nor have I received any other compensation.

2 thoughts on “Bard101x, Shakespeare Matters – Your Shakespeare and Hamlet

  1. I signed up at EdX after your first post about it, but I want to clear just a couple more things in my life before I start the Shakespeare modules so they don’t expire on me. So looking forward to it! In the meantime, I’ll learn vicariously through you. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad I sparked some interest for the course! The 1 month deadline is quite short, from my point of view, but it also helps to keep focus on finishing on time.
      I hope you will enjoy the course, please let me know how goes after you enroll! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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