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

During the past 2 months I documented my learning journey with the online course Bard101x, Shakespeare Matters by University of Adelaide. In this post I share my key takeaways as wrap-up of the course.

The plays covered by the course were the following:

Multiculturalism of Shakespeare’s plays

I was impressed by the multicultural approach of Shakespeare’s plays. It we look only at the 5 plays covered by the online course, each play has a different geographical setting: Greece – Athens (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Italy – Sicily (The Winter’s Tale) and Venice (Othello), Denmark (Hamlet), England and France (Henry V)!

It is believed that Shakespeare was inspired by London’s multiculturalism. In the 1580s he moved from Stratford-Upon-Avon to London – a bustling place with a diverse population, many immigrants, rich and poor, tradesmen and artists.

Image from the book cover of “Hamlet from Globe to Globe” by Dominic Dromgoole (2017)

Overarching emotions

Another interesting insight was that each play has an “umbrella emotion” that drives the story. I consider that it makes each story much more powerful and memorable, and also contributes to the amplification of the characters’ personalities.

shakespeare readers high tea thebard101x wrapup

Literary theory

One of my favourite aspects of the course was the literary theory (#nerd). It was super interesting to learn about the general characteristics of tragedies, comedies, and tragicomedies. Not to mention the rhyming couplets, Chorus, soliloquies, dramatic irony and many other literary terms.

It was also important to understand how Shakespeare innovated in the dramatic field – The Bard did not follow the established norms of the dramatic genre at that time and he was very creative in terms of performance and logistics. Plus he was one of the first to bring theatre to the masses.

Before this course I was not associating Shakespeare with innovation – now I do!

shakespeares globe london readers high tea
Image from Shakespeare’s Globe, London

The way further

During the participation in the online course my awareness about Shakespeare increased a lot (selection bias or law of attraction?!) and I started to notice so many Shakespeare-related happenings, for instance:

shakespeares globe youtube premieres

To conclude, the online course Bard101x, Shakespeare Matters opened my eyes in regard to Shakespeare and his plays. The diverse content provided – explanatory videos, animations, notes, interviews, speak the speech sections – offers a comprehensive and accessible approach to Shakespeare’s work.

I feel like I’ve just opened a box full of Shakespearean candies and possibilities! Maybe 2020 is my Shakespeare year?

Thank you for following this series and I hope that it inspired you to get closer to Shakespeare’s plays!

‘Till next time … happy reading!


PS: Selection bias – the tendency to notice something more when something causes us to be more aware of it (eg. when we buy a car, we tend to notice similar cars more often than we did before). Also called the Observational Selection Bias (from Wikipedia)

7 thoughts on “Bard101x, Shakespeare Matters – My key insights about Shakespeare’s plays

  1. Oh I remember discovering Shakespeare in 9th grade, falling totally in love with his use of words, and my 9th grade English Teacher giving me a book of sonnets at the end of the year as I special gift for all my enthusiasm during the year. I had forgotten about the post I randomly wrote about this years ago (its been a zillion years since I was in 9th grade, ha!) but here it is – https://tierneycreates.com/2017/03/26/creative-inspiration-encouragement-from-others-repost/
    When I lived in Seattle we had annual subscriptions to the Seattle Shakespeare company’s performances and would see incredible and quite creative modern interpretations of the Bard’s plays!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, that is lovely! The inscription on the book is so inspiring, I’m sure the book that will continue to stay with you for a looong time 🙂

      Thank you for sharing this memory here! I like it a lot because it also highlights what a great impact teachers can have on their students!

      Liked by 1 person

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