The What/Why Series: Why Shakespeare?

Lesson 1: Why Shakespeare?

Why Shakespeare?

Like all poets, Shakespeare came up with inventive ways to describe things. If we don’t get too caught up in understanding every word, then we can appreciate the beauty of his language. Not only that, but we can have real conversations around his “big picture” questions about life.

Continue the convo

  • Practice: Shakespeare was known for his creativity and humor–especially when it came to his characters hurling insults! Take a look at this school’s Shakespearean insult generator. Starting with "Thou" (meaning “you”), add on an adjective in Column A, with another in Column B, and then a noun in Column C. Let’s see who can come up with the most creative snubs! 

Teachers: Consider printing out the sheet for each student. They can walk around the room and take turns. Then you can have some students volunteer to share their best insult combo with the class.

  • Discuss: Take a look at the following five quotes from various plays and poems. With a friend, discuss what they could mean. Which one rings true to you, and why?

Teachers: You can write these quotes on the board for students to discuss in pairs or small groups. For the second part–choosing a quote that rings true–students can write about one in their journal, describing a connection to the quote. You can give them an opportunity to share if they want to.

  1. “In time we hate that which we often fear.”
  2. “Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it.”
  3. “Expectation is the root of all heartache.”
  4. “Words are easy, like the wind; faithful friends are hard to find.”
  5. “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.”