Bunthorne's Blog

Stewart McGowan's blog

Othello Resources – for those who asked

My favourite Shakespeare book is Norrie Epstein’s The Friendly Shakespeare. It’s amusing, readable, comprehensive… exactly the sort of book I wish I had at university when I was studying Shakespeare. Here’s a little sample: epstein_othello[1].

It’s a while since I taught Othello but I think that for Preliminary it’s worth going with the dramatic approach. I have trouble staying away from reader’s theatre with Shakespeare. For Macbeth I have a whole PowerPoint of production images that I’ve sourced from the net. They tell the story in pictures from a range of productions. Great for initially reinforcing plot and character but then it builds into an activity about meaning and interpretation.

I’ve always enjoyed teaching Shakespeare but I’m not a fan of the idea that he’s ‘timeless’. The explanations that take account of his very different appeals to audiences across time are more to my liking. I think I heard John Bell put it this way: ‘Shakespeare’s plays survive only if they can speak to us in ways that other plays cannot.’ That may not be the exact quote – but it’s still a good starting point!

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