“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.
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.
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!
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:
- Streaming of Shakespeare’s Globe performances for free on Youtube (from April until July) – I already watched Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet, it helps a lot for a better understanding of the plays!
- Shakespeare plays performed in my home city (I attended “Twelfth Night” before the pandemic lockdown, other performances are streamed online)
- Other online courses about The Bard’s work 🙂
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)