I have been asked by the direction to write you a letter which will motivate you to sign up for our new Learning English Through Literature course. Trust me. There are a thousand and one other things I’d rather be doing right now, but the boss is the boss and a pay cut, – yes, he really did threaten me with a pay cut if I refused – is a pay cut, so here we go. However, the thought of your sullen faces and the brutal way you chased my predecessor out of the school, do not fill me with pure delight at the prospect of spending the next months studying together.
I have decided we shall look together at the works of the greatest and most prolific playwright in English history, Mr. William Shakespeare. I must admit, I was at first worried about what connotations this name would bring to you, imagining in my mind crazy savages conducting ecstatic speer-shaking war dances around the main auditorium… but the phonetics teaching assures me you are just too plain stupid to see the link between the orthography and the pronunciation of this great name.
You may well ask why Shakespeare? Why study someone who wrote and subsequently died over 400 years ago. Well, firstly it is because his language covers such a wide variety of expression, ranging from the base to the sublime. In addition, Shakespeare wrote at a time when English was still in its formative period. It has not yet developed into the universal and universally used language it is today. This makes things a lot easier for you as the subject matter is far more limited.
After mature consideration, I have decided we shall study three of the Bard’s works. I am providing you here with three a rough and ready synopsis of these plays. You might want to compare them with a list of Shakespeare’s complete works and try to guess each play’s proper title. And no this is not your first assignment. Let’s call it a pre-assignment assignment. You know Shakespeare loved playing around with words.
Brutal Brutus (now why didn’t the Bard himself think of that one?) and his underhanded assassination of King Jules.
Sullen Malvolio and how his cronies got the last laugh.
Trust and betrayal – and yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s all over a woman.