Tag Archives: lecture

Machiavelli and The Prince

In 1532 a philosopher poet diplomat named Machiavelli who lived during the Italian Renaissance published a little book called The Prince.  This was about 30 years before Shakespeare was born.  In it, he describes the arts by which a Prince, can retain control of his realm. He focuses primarily on what he calls the “new prince”, under the assumption that a hereditary prince has an easier task since the people are accustomed to him. All a hereditary prince needs to do is carefully maintain the institutions that the people are used to; a new prince has a much more difficult task since he must stabilize his newfound power and build a structure that will endure. This task requires the Prince to be publicly above reproach but privately may require him to do immoral things in order to achieve his goals.

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Introduction to Metaphors and Similes

What is a metaphor?  Probably the simplest way to define it is to use one.  We use metaphors and similes every day, often without realizing it:

This house is a zoo – beehive of activity                     

Now we’re getting to the heart of the matter – now we’re getting to the sore spot

Your words are music to my ears – your words are bitter medicine.

Some are spending their time poorly – Time waits for no one.

What do all of these have in common?

In each one of these, we have described something by comparing it.

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Writing Papers

Why do we write papers in Shakespeare?

  • To learn more about Shakespeare’s plays, characters, ideas
  • • To develop skills of analyzing his plays
  • • To learn to communicate well

What’s a paper? A piece of writing that makes an interesting point. What does this mean you need in order to write a paper? An interesting point or idea! It’s called a thesis, and I’ll give a more complete definition in a minute. If you don’t have one, what happens? No paper,  a blank paper, or aimless writing that makes no point. How do you come up with them? Well, you need a system for coming up with them, kind of like a tree that you grow that bears fruit. The system we use, is Response Journals, Class discussions, thinking. The system is that by doing those things, your head will be filled up with ideas to write about. Continue reading Writing Papers

Who Was William Shakespeare?


William Shakespeare was born in 1564 in a little English town called Stratford-Upon-Avon, about 100 miles northwest of London, two days’ hard journey by horseback.

He was born in the 6th year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth the 1st, daughter of Henry VIII, whom you might remember being famous for his 6 wives, and also having broken with Rome and the Catholic church over the issue of his divorces.

Shakespeare was born into an England that was no longer officially Catholic, but it also wasn’t quite Protestant.

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Ten Lessons from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Below is an excerpt from a speech I made at the end-of-the-year Awards Ceremony.

When we started studying this play, I asked the students what theythought the lessons of the play were. They came up with a few things, but since then some have asked a number of times, What are the Lessons of Midsummer Night’s Dream? So, I decided to sit down and come up with ten lessons of A MSND.

Here they are. I hope you add to them for years to come. Continue reading Ten Lessons from A Midsummer Night’s Dream