Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hamlet Again

Way back in May the kids and I started reading Hamlet. But we didn't really get far. One scene. And then summer intervened. You always think you're going to have more time for that sort of thing in the summer - but you don't (at least we d0n't).

But recently we were re-inspired. And so we're trying to do at least one scene a night. We're almost to Act II. Soon the ghost will speak.

Like when we read A Midsummer Night's Dream we are using the No Fear Shakespeare series. It has regular English on one page and the original Shakespeare on the other. First we read a page of regular English - so we have some idea of what's going on. And then the Shakespeare. Shakespeare's language is beautiful, but his vocabulary is definitely dated and without the 'regular English' translation even I'd have a hard time figuring out what he was talking about sometimes.

As we read the other night the kids had an 'ah ha moment' when Polonius gives Laertes advice. And that advice includes "neither a borrower or a lender be" and "to thy own self be true". They perked up on hearing this. They knew those phrases. And what bastion of high culture had enabled them to be familiar with these fine Shakespearean phrases? Why Gilligan's Island of course.

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