Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Modern Quills

“How far a modern quill doth come too short
Speaking of worth, what worth in you doth grow”
~Sonnet 83

A few videos were sent our way this week (or were found by us and shared with the group), and though the content varies it seems that giving Shakespeare a modern voice is quite popular on the YouTube. Below are two of my favorites:

First, comedian John Branyan laments the decline of the English language, and resolves to tell bedtime stories in a more “Shakespearean” tone. He begins with an 8-minute rendition of The Three Little Pigs. It’s truly a marvel:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxoUUbMii7Q]

Next, hip-hop artist Akala speaks at a Tedx Conference  about how both Shakespearean verse and modern hip-hop seek to use the power of language to preserve truth. He demonstrates how they work together and how, at times, it’s even hard to tell them apart:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSbtkLA3GrY]

Do you think work like Branyan’s and Akala’s are helping to preserve Shakespeare’s language? Do they make it more accessible for modern audiences, or is it separating the Bard from us completely? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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