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					Great Writers

  Ma An Shan
   July 2009
Shakespeare & Dickens
• What do you already know about these
  two famous writers?

• What would you like to know? Talk to your
  colleagues and think of some questions
1.    When and where was he born?
2.    What do you know about his father?
3.    Was he married? Did he have children?
4.    Do you think he had a happy family life?
5.    What jobs did he have?
6.    Did he write plays, poetry or novels?
7.    What famous stories did he write?
8.    What themes did he write about?
9.    Was he popular during his lifetime?
10.   When did he die?
                            Early Life
• Shakespeare was born in               • Like many of his characters,
  Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564. His        Dickens knew how hard life
  exact birth date is a bit of            could be. He was born on
  mystery, like many aspects of           February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth,
  Shakespeare's life. While the           England. When his father went to
  exact date wasn't recorded, it          prison for owing money, Dickens
  has been commonly accepted as           had to leave school. He went to
  April 23. His father was a glove        work in a factory to help support
  maker and an important man in           his mother and his seven
  the town. Shakespeare attended          brothers and sisters. Later he
  school for a time and it is thought     went back to school and then got
  that some of his studies in             a job at a solicitor‟s office. A
  classical poetry, plays, and            solicitor is a type of lawyer. After
  history inspired his plays.             that he worked several different
  Shakespeare had become                  jobs as a newspaper reporter. In
  known as a playwright and an            1833, he got some of his stories
  actor in London by 1592. Some           and essays published. His career
  of his early works include Titus        as a writer was beginning.
  Andronicus and The Two
  Gentleman of Verona
                  Family life
• It is believed that       • In April 1836 Dickens
  Shakespeare left school     married Catherine
  around the age of           Thompson Hogarth, with
  fourteen, which was not     whom he had ten children.
  uncommon at the time.       They set up home in
  He married Anne             Bloomsbury, North
  Hathaway in 1582 when       London. They separated
  he was eighteen years       in 1858 but continued to
  old. The next year they     live together until she
  had a daughter named        died twenty years later.
  Susanna. The                Divorce was unthinkable
  Shakespeare family grew     in Victorian times,
  again in 1585 with the      particularly for someone
  birth of twins named        as famous as Dickens
  Hamnet and Judith
• An outbreak of a deadly disease     • Dickens was very successful
  called the plague closed the          with his first novel, The Pickwick
  theaters in the early 1590s The       Papers (1837). This work was
  theatres reopened in 1594 and         followed by Oliver Twist (1838)
  Shakespeare returned to the           and Nicholas Nickleby (1839).
  stage as part of a troupe called      Along with these early successes,
  Lord Chamberlain's Men (later         he wrote David Copperfield
  the King's Men). He stayed with       (1850), Bleak House (1853), A
  this group as a playwright, an        Tale of Two Cities (1859), and
  actor, and a part-owner for many      Great Expectations (1861) later
  years. In 1599, the company built     in his career. People loved the
  the Globe, a theatre near London.     interesting characters he created.
  Shakespeare wrote some of his         He liked to write novels about the
  greatest tragedies and comedies       development of his characters,
  around this time. He created          normally from boyhood to
  Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and       manhood. In his many works,
  Macbeth as well as Twelfth Night      Dickens wrote about both funny
  and Measure for Measure here.         and difficult situations. Dickens
  Shakespeare's works were so           saw both the moral and social
  popular that even Queen               purpose of art. By focusing
  Elizabeth I of England had them       attention on the poor, he used
  performed for her .                   his stories to point out social
                                        problems and awaken the
                                        reader‟s conscience
                       Later years
• Shakespeare returned home to        • Because of his own
  Stratford-upon-Avon around            experiences of poverty
  1610 to 1613. He died on April        Dickens empathized with the
  23, 1616. Since his death,            poor people, and as well as
  there has been some                   focusing attention on them in
  speculation whether he really         his novels, he became actively
  wrote all of the plays himself or     involved in various
  they were written by a group of       organizations to help them.
  people. Some have even                Dickens died on June 9, 1870,
  questioned whether he really          after suffering from a stroke.
  existed at all. The mysteries         His stories remain popular with
  surrounding Shakespeare may           readers today and many have
  never be solved, but there is         been dramatized into films,
  no arguing about the lasting          musicals and television shows.
  impact of the plays and poems         None of his novels or short
  attributed to him.                    stories has ever gone out of
        Answer the questions

• Many of Dickens‟      • What is the big
  novels were             mystery about
  „autobiographical‟.     Shakespeare‟s life?
  What does it mean?
• “Hamlet is without question the most
  famous play in the English language.
  Probably written in 1601 or 1602, the
  tragedy is an important step in
  Shakespeare‟s dramatic development; the
  playwright achieved artistic maturity in this
  work through his brilliant depiction of the
  hero‟s struggle with two opposing forces:
  moral integrity and the need to avenge his
  father‟s murder.”
• Hamlet is the son of the
  King of Denmark, who
  died two months before
  the start of the play.

• After the King’s death,
  his brother, Claudius,
  becomes King, and
  marries the King’s
  widow, Gertrude
  (Queen of Denmark).
  Hamlet is very angry
  that his mother has
  married his uncle!
• Later, Hamlet sees
  the ghost of his father.
  The ghost tells
  Hamlet privately that
  Claudius had
  murdered him by
  pouring poison in his
  ear. Hamlet is really
  angry now and plans
  to revenge his father's
• Hamlet is really angry,
  but confused. Can he
  believe the ghost? He
  behaves like a crazy
  man… he is even
  rude to Ophelia, the
  woman he loves. He
  is angry with
  everybody, but should
  he kill the new King?
Please read the original
speech made by Hamlet
 The English is difficult (it‟s more than
400 years old), but can you understand
    what Hamlet is talking about?

  Discuss your ideas with a partner.
     Next, watch the play & listen
  Think about these questions
• How could Hamlet stop his problems?
• Why doesn‟t he do it?
• What 6 life problems does Hamlet
• Which metaphor does Hamlet use to
  describe death?
• How does Hamlet‟s famous speech relate
  to the story?
Read a modern English
 version of the speech

Is it easier to understand now?
 Now, try to answer the questions
• How could Hamlet stop his problems?
• Why does Hamlet compare sleep and
• What 6 life problems does Hamlet
• Which metaphor does Hamlet use to
  describe death?
• How does Hamlet‟s famous speech relate
  to the story?
Which are the most famous
books in Chinese literature?
 Do you know their titles in English?
           Chinese classics
• Journey to the West    • San guo yan yi

• Dream of the Red       • Xi you ji
                         • Hong lou meng
• Outlaws of the Marsh
                         • Shui hu zhuan
• The Three Kingdoms
  What are these 4 classic
   Chinese books about?

       Can you write a synopsis for one of them?
                    100 -150 words

Now work with a partner and edit your work
• It‟s a romance / action / comedy / mystery
  / tragedy / history
• It‟s about …
• The main character is …
• It starts with … / In the beginning …
• It finishes with … / At the end …
• “Hamlet” is a tragedy. It‟s about the main
  character‟s struggle with life; with what is right
  and wrong. At the beginning of the play,
  Hamlet‟s father, the King of Denmark, dies, so
  his uncle becomes the new king and marries
  Hamlet‟s mother. Hamlet is very angry, but,
  when he discovers that the new king, Claudius,
  probably murdered his father he begins to plan
  his revenge. However, Hamlet has many doubts
  about what he should do and he delays his
  revenge. Finally, at the end of the play, Hamlet
  kills Claudius, but Hamlet‟s mother, girlfriend, as
  well as Hamlet himself, also die.
            CHAPTER 1
            I AM BORN

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life,
or whether that station will be held by anybody else,
these pages must show. To begin my life with the
beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have
been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve
o'clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began
to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously.
I was born at Blunderstone, in Suffolk, or 'there by', as
they say in Scotland. I was a posthumous child. My
father's eyes had closed upon the light of this world six
months, when mine opened on it. There is something
strange to me, even now, in the reflection that he never
saw me; and something stranger yet in the shadowy
remembrance that I have of my first childish
associations with his white grave-stone in the
churchyard, and of the indefinable compassion I used
to feel for it lying out alone there in the dark night,
when our little parlour was warm and bright with fire
and candle, and the doors of our house were - almost
cruelly, it seemed to me sometimes - bolted and
locked against it.
Jacques: All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking* in the nurse's arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard*,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the canon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon* lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws* and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon*
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his* sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans* teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
(As You Like It, 2. 7. 139-167)

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