Shakespeare In Film

Single Semester Course

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players…”
William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”

Have you ever wondered what inspired some of the cinematic brilliance coming across the screen in front of you? This course explores how the world of film has received and adapted many of the classic works of William Shakespeare. Students will read the original texts and build a familiarity with film terminology to compare the written word with the film experience. These words were originally written to be performed, but with adaptations, certain creative liberties are taken with the material. The class will discuss the importance of setting and casting choices when bringing the words to life from the pages and making it visually relevant in modern day. Students will see exemplars that stick close to conventional representations of Shakespeare’s stories and adaptations at varying degrees of distance from his language, time, and plot. Through discussions and in-depth analysis, students will explore what Shakespeare still has to offer today with his words. Shakespeare’s writing contains many topics that may be emotional triggers for individuals; frequently, these get dramatized in film to be more explicit. By contextualizing these challenging conversations, the class will navigate a variety of the Bard’s writing openly and with attention to the Oldfields Community Norms of Engagement. All students will need to obtain permission to watch R-rated films (when included).

Prerequisite: Completion of three years of high school English core curriculum