Showing posts with label William Shakespeare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label William Shakespeare. Show all posts

Friday 23 April 2021

Cultural Studies: Retellings of Shakespeare's Plays


Video Recording of the Online Talk on 'Cultural Studies: Retellings of Shakespeare's Plays


Title: "Universal Shakespeare | Cultural Studies: Retellings of Shakespeare's Plays | April 22, 2021"

This event was broadcasted on our Facebook page. In case you couldn't join or got disconnected, students can still access it through our Facebook page, where the link has been shared. Thank you. Shall I begin now? Yes, okay. Thank you, Puja madam.

Today, we find ourselves in an intriguing situation on April 23rd, which is celebrated as English Language Day and International Book and Copyright Day. The esteemed Jamnagar DKV College, a government institution, has organized this event, providing us with a unique opportunity to delve into the world of William Shakespeare.

However, it's essential to acknowledge the challenging circumstances surrounding us. We are in the midst of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is spreading rapidly across India. Every day, we read about the rising death toll, increasing hospitalizations, and the heartbreaking stories of countless individuals affected by this crisis. This unprecedented health crisis has gripped our nation and the world, preoccupying our minds with tragedy.

During these trying times, concentrating on our studies, fostering innovation in our thinking, teaching, and work has become exceptionally challenging. The suffering caused by the pandemic has affected our friends, family, relatives, and neighbors, further adding to our collective distress.

I had initially intended to create an engaging PowerPoint presentation with graphics and images. However, as I attempted to prepare it over the past two days, my mind was constantly occupied by the current events, the concerns of our community, and the world at large. It seems that our thoughts have expanded beyond boundaries, transcending the limitations of our immediate surroundings.

William Shakespeare, a renowned figure in the world of literature, often faces criticism due to his association with a powerful colonial identity. However, it is crucial to shift our focus from the poet himself to his literary works, which have continued to inspire people worldwide. Shakespeare's works are not confined by colonial labels; they are universal.

Cultural studies have played a pivotal role in reshaping the academic perspective on popular culture and everyday life. Emerging from movements like feminism, Marxism, and post-structuralism, cultural studies have challenged the traditional snobbery associated with popular culture in academia.

William Shakespeare's works have been translated into numerous languages and adapted in various forms, from books to stage performances. It is the works themselves, rather than the author's identity, that continue to captivate and influence people globally.

In this digital age, the world has become interconnected, transcending geographical boundaries. However, this globalization also brings with it challenges related to cultural sensitivity and censorship, especially in the world of cinema and literature.

Shakespeare's iconic play, "Hamlet," is characterized by the ghost of the father urging his son to seek revenge. While Hamlet's actions may seem cruel, they are driven by a desire for justice rather than villainy. The play explores complex themes of power, betrayal, and vengeance.

In Tom Stoppard's adaptation, "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead," the marginalized characters from Shakespeare's "Hamlet" take center stage. This reinterpretation highlights the forces beyond our control that shape our destinies, an apt reflection of the current global situation.

While the pandemic has brought about economic hardships for many, there are those who have seen their fortunes rise significantly, raising questions about wealth disparities. Tom Stoppard's retelling of "Hamlet" in the context of our pandemic era offers a thought-provoking perspective on these issues.

Shakespeare's "Macbeth" is a fast-paced, action-packed tragedy that has found enduring appeal on both stage and screen. Its exploration of ambition, power, and the consequences of one's choices makes it a favorite for filmmakers.

In a modern reinterpretation of "Macbeth," the role of Lady Macbeth takes on a new dimension as she becomes the driving force behind her husband's actions. This portrayal challenges traditional gender roles and raises questions about empowerment and morality.

In a unique twist, the witches in "Macbeth" are transformed into police constables who engage in encounters with others. This adaptation raises questions about the role of law enforcement in society and the power they wield.

The age of information and social media has given rise to the phenomenon of "WhatsApp University," where individuals propagate misinformation and half-truths. This post-truth era poses significant challenges for leaders and society as a whole.

As we navigate through these tumultuous times, Shakespeare's tragedies, such as "Julius Caesar" and "Othello," continue to resonate, prompting us to reflect on the intersections between literature and politics.

Literary forms have evolved over time, from dramas to novels and now to web series and cinema. It is essential to prioritize textual reading when introducing students to literary works, followed by exploring contemporary perspectives.

Democracy has replaced monarchy in today's world, emphasizing the importance of secularism in public spaces. Literature should not be confined by religious boundaries, and public spaces should be inclusive and secular.

In conclusion, we appreciate your time and participation in this session. We look forward to future discussions on cultural studies and related topics. Thank you once again. Goodbye, everyone.

Please note that the transcript has been restructured and expanded for clarity and coherence.

Tuesday 8 December 2020


Worksheet: William Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Presentation on 'Macbeth' - About the Play

1.      Write an essay on your understanding of the concept of Shakespearean Tragedy. Justify / Illustrate ‘Macbeth’ as Shakespearean Tragedy.

2.      What is Aristotelian concept of Tragedy? How far does ‘Macbeth’ fit in the Aristotelean concept of Tragedy?

3.      What do you mean by ‘Poetic Justice’? Is there a poetic justice in ‘Macbeth’? Illustrate your answer.

4.      Can we read Macbeth as Aristotelian ‘tragic hero’? If so, what is his ‘hamartia’?

5.      What is the meaning of ‘hamartia’? What is Macbeth’s hamartia? Compare it with hamartia of other tragic heroes known to you (like Hamlet, Othello, Oedipus etc).

6.      What do you understand by the concept of ‘hero-villain’? Is Macbeth a fit character for this concept? Illustrate your answer.

7.      What sort of artistic liberties are taken by William Shakespeare in ‘Macbeth’? (Key: Historical Macbeth vs Literary Macbeth: - the sequence of the murder of King Duncan and that of Banquo are purely imaginative interpolation. The goodness given to the character of Banquo is also questioned on the grounds that the ruling King James I was a lineage of Banquo’s from Scotland).

8.      What is the content of the ‘letter’ written by Macbeth to Lady Macbeth? What is its importance in the play?

9.      Thematic Study:

a.       The theme of Ambition

b.      Tragedy of Ambition – the Medievalism

c.       The Unchecked Ambition and its Power to Corrupt the nobleness within humans

d.      Cruelty and Masculinity

e.       Theme of Guilty Conscience

10.  Character Study:

a.       Macbeth – the Hero-Villain – the Valiant Villain – The Milk of Human Kindness wasted on the altar of ambition – tragic hero

b.      Lady Macbeth – a Witch or a Victim?

c.       Macduff – the ultimate avenger

d.      Banquo

e.       King Duncan

f.        Malcolm and Donalbain

g.      Lady Macduff

11.  The Study of Scenes from the play ‘Macbeth’:

a.       Scenes of Three Witches

b.      Murder of King Duncan

c.       Porter Scene

d.      Banquet scene – Visitation of Banquo’s Ghost

e.       Night walking scene of Lady Macbeth

f.        Final fight between Macbeth and Macduff

12.  The Study of Quotations:

a.       Macbeth’s soliloquy in Act I, Scene 3: This supernatural soliciting
Cannot be ill, cannot be good. If ill,
Why hath it given me earnest of success,
Commencing in a truth?

b.      Macbeth’s soliloquy in Act 1, Scene 7: If it were done when ‘tis done, then ‘twere well
It were done quickly

c.       Macbeth’s soliloquy in Act 2, Scene 1: Is this a dagger which I see before me,
This handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.

d.      Macbeth says these lines in Act 2, Scene 2: Whence is that knocking? –
How is’t with me, when every noise appalls me?
What hands are here! Ha, they pluck out mine eyes.
Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand?

e.       Macbeth in Act 5, Scence 5: Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow

f.        Banquo in Act 1, Sc 3: “Oftentimes to win us to out harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray’s in deepest consequence.

g.      Lady Macbeth in Act 1 Sc 5: The raven himself is hoarse . . .

h.      Lady Macbeth in Act 5 Sc Out damned spot. . . Hell is murky.

13.  The Study of Cinematic Adaptations of ‘Macbeth’:

a.       Write a note on any one film adaptation of ‘Macbeth’

                                                              i.      What changes are made by film makers in the adaptation?

                                                            ii.      How are these topics dealt in the film adaptation - ‘the setting’, ‘the witches’, ‘events’ & ‘theme’?

b.      Some of the well-known cinematic adaptations are:

                                                              i.      Orsan Welles’s Macbeth (1948)

                                                            ii.      Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood (1957)

                                                          iii.      Roman Polanski’s ‘Macbeth’ (1971)

                                                          iv.      Vishal Bhardwaj’s Maqbool (2003)

                                                            v.      Geoffrey Wright’s ‘Macbeth’ (2006)

                                                          vi.      Justin Kurzel’s ‘Macbeth’ (2015)

14.  Research:

a.       Shakespeare based Macbeth very loosely on historical figures and events. Research the true story of Macbeth. Explain the differences between history and Shakespeare's version. Explain the effects that Shakespeare's changes have on the overall story.

b.      Research the Great Chain of Being in Elizabethan times. Explain the Great Chain of Being and develop a thesis about its effects on Macbeth. How is this way of viewing the world evident in Macbeth? Provide examples from the play

c.       The Politics of Aloofness in "Macbeth" BALDO, JONATHAN. “The Politics of Aloofness in ‘Macbeth.’” English Literary Renaissance, vol. 26, no. 3, 1996, pp. 531–560. JSTOR,

d.      "Macbeth" and the Play of Absolutes Reid, B. L. “‘Macbeth’ and the Play of Absolutes.” The Sewanee Review, vol. 73, no. 1, 1965, pp. 19–46. JSTOR,

Question for Examination purpose (Click here)

To appear in Online Test, click here

Friday 12 September 2014

Presentations on William Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'

A few presentations on various topics on William Shakespeare's revenge play - tragedy are embedded on this blog post.
After viewing the presentations, would you like to check your understanding of the play 'Hamlet'?
Please appear in this QUIZ to check your understanding:
 Quiz on Hamlet

The Presentation on the Introduction of the play and Renaissance Humanism

  • The Presentation on the Greatness of the play

  • The Presentation on 'Hamlet' as a Revenge Play

  • The Presentation on the structure of the play - Is 'Hamlet' an artistic failure?