Shakespeare-Module 8- Shakespeare in the Modern World- 2 of 6

Hello Year 7 and Year 8! This session we will continue to think about how Shakespeare has influenced our modern world. We will focus on how Shakespeare has influenced films for children.

WHAT: exploring two films for children which have been based on Shakespeare plays.

By the end of this session you will be able to:


✓ evaluate why Shakespeare’s stories are still relevant today
✔ plan ideas for your own Shakespearean adaptation

Today you will need:

✎ A pen
☰ A word document, notepad or paper to record your ideas

STARTER- YOU DO: Do you know anything about the story of ‘Romeo and Juliet’? What is it about? What happens at the end? Write down any words or ideas you have in a mind map.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX/Shutterstock (20273b) OLIVIA HUSSEY AND LEONARD WHITING IN ROMEO AND JULIET VARIOUS

‘Romeo and Juliet’ is one of the most famous stories ever told. Even if you haven’t read the play, you have probably heard about the characters. Here is a short summary of the story:

Romeo and Juliet

An age-old argument between two powerful families (The Montagues and The Capulets) erupts into bloodshed. A group of masked Montagues risk further conflict by gatecrashing a Capulet party. A young lovesick Romeo Montague falls instantly in love with Juliet Capulet, who is due to marry her father’s choice, the County Paris. With the help of Juliet’s nurse, the women arrange for the couple to marry the next day, but Romeo’s attempt to halt a street fight leads to the death of Juliet’s own cousin, Tybalt, for which Romeo is banished. In a desperate attempt to be reunited with Romeo, Juliet follows the Friar’s plot and fakes her own death. The message fails to reach Romeo, and believing Juliet dead, he takes his life in her tomb. Juliet wakes to find Romeo’s corpse beside her and kills herself. The grieving family agree to end their feud.

Watch this clip to see a short, animated version of the story:

So, as you can see, the story of forbidden love is a story which could still be relevant in our modern world. That’s the thing about Shakespeare plays- although they were written hundreds of years ago, the themes and ideas can still be applied to our modern world. Some directors have even taken the stories and made them more appropriate for children. Watch the trailer below for a film called ‘Gnomeo and Juliet’. As the film is aimed at children as well as adults, the tragic element has been removed but the themes remain the same.

Another children’s film that you might not know was partly based on a Shakespeare play is ‘The Lion King’. Watch the trailer below and then see if you can work out which Shakespeare play it is partly based on. We have studied the play in a previous module!

Question: Which Shakespeare play does ‘The Lion King’ have links with and why?

Answer: The answer is Hamlet. Simba is the main character in Disney’s The Lion King. He is the son of Mufasa, the king of the lions, which makes Simba a prince. Hamlet is the son of the dead King Hamlet, which makes him a prince too. Both princes are only sons and have no siblings. In The Lion King, Simba has an evil uncle named Scar. Scar is jealous of his brother, Mufasa, and wants to be the king instead. Scar ultimately kills his brother to get what he wants. Hamlet also has an uncle, Claudius. At the beginning of the play, Claudius has already become king— possibly by killing his brother. Can you see the links?

So, Shakespeare’s stories continue to be used, changed and adapted for adults and children in the modern world. The exciting plots and fascinating characters never get old.

Challenge Task- to be continued throughout Module 8:

Choose one of the following plays: The Tempest/ A Midsummer Night’s Dream/ Hamlet. Plan ideas for a modern adaptation of the play.

How would you adapt the play to appeal to a modern audience?

Where would the story take place? How would you change the characters?

What time period would you set the play in?

You could present your work as a powerpoint, a poster or a mind map. Send your work to your English teacher!

Well done! Next session we will look at other adaptations of Shakespearean plays…