Make a Connection to Shakespeare’s Influence on Today’s Artistic World or Delve Deep into a Specific Scene

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 8.46.41 PM.pngThe goal of this academic moment is for us to explore larger ideas and artistic trends regarding Shakespeare before we dive back into another comedy. That said, your exploration of Shakespeare’s influence or delving into a passage that was never assigned to you yet sparks your curiosity will be the two roads we will create. After students find and explain their connection or specific passage, then we will have everyone compose 4-7 sentences in Standard English (small academic paragraph for a homework grade) in the comment thread below this post. Sharing your intellectual pursuits on the blog will help us appreciate all of our ideas before we start a discussion in class.

In the spirit of reflecting upon this post as a model for this academic moment, please view the following clip comes from Kenneth Branagh’s movie of Henry the V. This is the same actor we saw portray Benedick in Much Ado about Nothing. In this famous passage, Shakespeare has a young King Henry rallying his troops with his famous St Crispin’s Day Speech, referring to “we few, we happy few, we band of brothers” (IV, iii 18-67). I would love to teach this play or the other plays in the Henry IV cycle, which contain Falstaff, one of Shakespeare’s most comic characters, to a class someday, but at the moment, we have our hands full of exploring Shakespeare’s comdies. Click here for the video:

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 8.48.04 PM.png

Do you recognize the reference to the HBO Series, Band of Brothers? View this video to see if resonates. Click here for that video:

Click here to read more about Stephen Ambrose’s book, Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest

About Bill Sullivan

I am an English teacher working with great students at Suffield Academy. I also teach seniors in various project-based learning environments. Some of the #PBL topics included global issues, such as Pandemics, Climate Change, and Water; more recently I have asked students to research and identify topics important to our school community and their generation. We curate these topics with a #StudentCenteredPBL. For the past eleven years, I also created a driving question for a class to research a local history mystery and present their findings in a community program partnering with our local historical society. These topics encompass researching the lives of enslaved individuals who were contributors to the foundation of our community.
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12 Responses to Make a Connection to Shakespeare’s Influence on Today’s Artistic World or Delve Deep into a Specific Scene

  1. jmyliao says:

    I found a trace of Shakespeare not in a specific literature work, but in what composes the literatures, the language, more specifically, vocabularies. Some of the very commonly used vocabularies were actually created by Shakespeare. As a master of the art of language back in 16th century, Shakespeare sure had created numerous unprecedented words, but after four hundred years, these words are still very commonly used. For example, the word “addiction” was originated in Macbeth; “belongings” was introduced in Measure for Measure; “manager”, a word relates tightly to modern life, was invented in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Some other examples include “cold-blooded”, “fashionable”, “eyeball”, “eventful”, etc. However, the most surprising one is the word “swagger”, which was surprisingly introduced in Shakespeare’s Henry V and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The word “swagger” has a definition that says “walk or behave in a very confident and typically arrogant or aggressive way”; with the presence of the word “swag”, which is a very slang term in modern youth culture, having a very similar connotation to the word “swagger”, it is really hard to associate this extremely informal modern slang with the archaic and refined 16th century literature. Surely, we can see the trace of Shakespeare even in the most unexpected corner of modern world.


  2. bsullivan35 says:

    Excellent start here! Shakespeare is the Sweet Swan of Avon, The Bard of Avon, sometimes simply referred to as The Bard. Perhaps we should add the Bard of slang, too.

  3. katieburns16 says:

    One of Shakespeare’s quotes that stood out to me is from the play Tempest spoken by the character Prospero is: “We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” I have not read the play Tempest yet, but from my research I gained a better understanding of what some believe this quote means and its significance. I found that this quote is a metaphor about life being a dream, and that dreams and our whole life is “rounded with a sleep”. The undertone of the words spoken by Prospero is that is we are alive and existing in our lives witch means they themselves the type of content in a dream. In the article explaining the quote I found it very interesting that the author explains how many people miss quote these words specifically but also all Shakespeare quotes. People misuse Shakespeare’s quotes by removing them from context and making their own out of it. It shows the impact Shakespeare had on people by using his words, but is it ok for people to misuse them? Prospero’s words relate specifically to the play, but also to life, and I think Shakespeare’s words resonate with a lot of people, showing the impact of his works.


  4. 16cjp2 says:

    There is a quote from Shakespeare’s King Henry V, that connects with me due to my enjoyment of military history. This quote “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,” makes a connection because they are going to attack, and it is like a farewell. The way he says it in the beginning is like a farewell speech because, he says “dear friends, once more,” its like saying our last time going to war, we may or may not make it through. Another way it could be seen is “join me in our final battle and we shall win it all.”

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  6. henryalbright1 says:

    Quentin Tarantino has become a revolutionary director of the modern age, and his movies often have memorable moments or quotes much like Shakespeare. Tarantino’s movies are often tragedies, are historical fictions, and have moments of comic relief; a style very similar to Shakespeare’s. Tarantino’s work has recently been mixed with Shakespeare’s influence to create a play version of Tarantino’s arguably most famous film “Pulp Fiction”, and it is called “Pulp Shakespeare”. The script of “Pulp Fiction” was rewritten in iambic pentameter and with Shakespearean language, and it is set in Elizabethan England. It is interesting to see how much cultural influence Shakespeare still has and how popular Tarantino is to have one of his films be remade.


  7. willmoryto says:

    Shakespeare has influenced many aspects of the world today, but one of the more interesting ones i found was that he coined many popular phrases that we still use today. Each of these phrases are present in modern day language and are all used in many modern literary works (Movies, books, etc.). They are ingrained in our culture. Some of these phrases include, “in a pickle”, “a wild goose chase”, and “Bated Breath”. These phrases are so common place in this day in age you wouldn’t think they would come from someone like Shakespeare. Each of these phrases were coined in the plays Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, and Romeo and Juliet. These are only two examples but there are actually many more in many more of his plays and works. It is clear Shakespeare has a major influence on modern english terms and phrases.

  8. tiquanewell says:

    Shakespeare’s hand print can be found all over today’s culture, from the literature, the movies, art and the overall culture. I decided to look at his play Othello and how it relates to today’s society. Othello brings light to the subjects of racism, deceit, interracial dating, and rage. The two i decided to dive into were interracial dating and racism for these topics are not apart of human nature to oppose but simply built off of social constructs. Shakespeare created a story of a succeful Moore (black male) who was very high in rank and led armies in battle. In a time where people of color were made out be inferior Shakespeare puts on in center stage. Shakespeare was truly ahead of his time as it is clear he saw people of color as equal and very capable of things. Not to say that others didn’t feel the same as he did, but it usually became a problem if they had decided to take a liking in white woman. Which is exactly what Othello did. Even in today’s society some people are against interracial dating and feel your color should stay to itself. Some may feel this way to preserve their race and other’s blatantly do not like other races of people. I like Othello because even though it was written now hundreds of years ago it is till relevant and is truly a timeless piece of literature.


  9. 16ew says:

    The modern English language is spoken globally and has rapidly progressed with time. William Shakespeare holds responsibility for a large component of what the English language has become over the centuries. Through the publishing of his many plays and sonnets, Shakespeare has introduced a large amount of words and phrases that over time were widely popular and eventually adopted into the English language. The words he contributed were more one dimensional, only expanding the English language, making it so one can say something in multiple ways. The phrases that he composed through his sonnets and plays have become immortalized and, in the progression of time, have been associated with everyday life in modern times. One sample phrase of his many comes from his play Julius Caesar, “Beware the ides of March”. This applies not only in this centuries, but in all centuries including those proceeding William Shakespeare himself. In many scenarios of those who have power, influence, and/or popularity may find themselves getting overly comfortable. This creates a attitude that can come off as being drowned by their own situation of fortune. It is easy in many ways to be successful, but the fall can come about much more easily. Those with access to luxuries that most do not make themselves susceptible to losing everything. Shakespeare’s famous phrase from Julius Caesar is quite simple and quite the abrupt warning, but if listened to and taken seriously, those at the top would not only make life better for themselves, but for people around them.

  10. The influence that Shakespeare has had on the world is unparalled, he even has influence on other industries; such as music. Mumford and Sons make reference to the song sung in Much Ado About Nothing, “Sigh No more”. The song is the opening for Much Ado About Nothing. In Mumford and Sons’ song they say “Serve God, love me, and mend. This is not the end.” which is what Benedick says to Beatrice at the end of Much Ado. The entire song is full of references to the play. It is said that Mumford and Sons make a lot of references to Shakespearean literature.

  11. trevorlyne says:

    Knock, knock! Who’s there? A common joke that has indulged the English speaking world of today. What many do not know is that it actually comes from one of Shakespeare’s famous works, Macbeth. It originates from the “porter scene” when the porter finds out that Macbeth has recently killed the King of Scotland and took the throne for himself with the help of his wife to cover it up. While having sex, the thane and his wife hear knocking which makes them really anxious and enhances their guilt. The “knock, knock! Who’s there?” originates from this guilt and becomes present on November 14, 1936 when a radio performer from named Wee Georgie Wood unloaded these knock knock jokes on England and they erupted ever since.

  12. 16oka says:

    In the Movie “The Lion King”, there are very obvious parallels to shakespeare’s play Hamlet. Shakespeares influence on the worlds intellectual community is still very apparent. In The lion King, we can see traces of Hamlets murdering, treacherous uncle in Scar when he murders his brother Mufasa for the Throne. Mufasa can be very closely tied to Hamlet Snr, as he appears as a ghost and talks to his son Simba even after he is dead, which is exactly what Hamlet Snr did when he was killed. Simba, is the obvious protagonist in the Lion King and bears a very close resemblance to Hamlet as the young prince forced to live under his uncle and has to watch his mother be by his uncles side. However, unlike the actual play Simba’s mother isnt happy to be with Scar and Simba actually seems to look up to Scar. Nala, Simba’s love interest in the movie is loosely based on Ophelia, Hamlet’s love interest from the original play. Hamlets two companions are also revived in the form of Timone and Pumba who provide comedic relief for the movie. One obvious difference between the two is the happy ending in The Lion King.Being that it is an animated movie meant for children, the happy ending where Simba defeats his uncle and becomes king is very necessary, even though it is in direct contrast to the original play.

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