Teaching Shakespeare can sometimes be a daunting task, especially for students who struggle to engage with the language and themes of his plays. However, with the help of videos, educators can bring Shakespeare’s works to life in a more visually compelling way. In this article, we will explore some of our favorite videos for teaching Shakespeare that are sure to captivate and inspire your students.
- “Shakespeare in Love”
Released in 1998, “Shakespeare in Love” is a romantic comedy-drama film that offers a fictionalized account of William Shakespeare’s life. While not a direct adaptation of any specific play, this film beautifully captures the essence of Shakespearean language and the world in which he lived. It provides students with a vivid depiction of the Elizabethan era and the challenges faced by artists of that time. Its witty dialogue and captivating performances make it an excellent choice for introducing Shakespeare to a modern audience.
- “Romeo + Juliet”
Director Baz Luhrmann’s modern interpretation of “Romeo and Juliet” is a visually stunning masterpiece that offers a fresh take on the classic tragedy. Released in 1996, this film brings Shakespeare’s tale of forbidden love into a contemporary setting while preserving the original dialogue. The vibrant cinematography, creative costumes, and powerful performances by Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes make “Romeo + Juliet” an engaging and accessible option for teaching this iconic play.
- “Much Ado About Nothing”
Directed by Kenneth Branagh, this 1993 film adaptation of “Much Ado About Nothing” stays true to the wit and charm of Shakespeare’s original comedy. Featuring an ensemble cast including Branagh himself, Emma Thompson, and Denzel Washington, this film brings the story of mistaken identities, humorous misunderstandings, and romantic entanglements to life. The delightful performances and beautiful Tuscan setting make it a delightful choice for introducing students to Shakespeare’s comedies.
For those ready to delve into Shakespeare’s darker works, Roman Polanski’s 1971 film adaptation of “Macbeth” provides a visually striking and intense portrayal of ambition, guilt, and supernatural elements. Jon Finch’s portrayal of Macbeth and Francesca Annis’ Lady Macbeth are particularly captivating, showcasing the tragic descent of the ambitious couple. This film is a powerful tool for exploring the themes of greed, power, and the consequences of one’s actions.
No list of videos for teaching Shakespeare would be complete without mentioning “Hamlet”, one of his most famous plays. While many film adaptations of “Hamlet” exist, one notable version is Kenneth Branagh’s 1996 film, which presents the play in its entirety. Branagh’s performance as the melancholic prince is widely praised, and he is supported by a stellar cast including Julie Christie, Derek Jacobi, and Kate Winslet. This film allows students to fully immerse themselves in the intricate plot, soliloquies, and themes of this iconic tragedy.
In conclusion, these videos offer a range of options for teaching Shakespeare in an engaging and accessible way. Whether exploring his comedies, tragedies, or even his life, these films provide a visual and emotional connection to Shakespeare’s works that can enhance understanding and appreciation. By incorporating these videos into your teaching, you are sure to ignite a love for the bard in your students and inspire them to delve deeper into his timeless works.