Shakespeare wrote a great variety and number of plays (36 have been attributed to him). Comedies (Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night's Dream) are not necessarily funny, but they have a happy ending, in spite of containing perhaps some sad events. Tragedies (MacBeth, King Lear) are plays in which the main character or characters die due to some character flaw or bad situation of their own making. Romances (The Tempest) differ from comedies in that they deal with love and marriage. The historical plays (Henry VI, Henry VIII) are just that - - plays that deal with historical characters.
We will not have time to read all of the different types of plays during this class series. I hope to have the kids read one of each during subsequent school years.
Shakespeare uses many literary devices in his plays: similes, metaphors, alliteration, assonance, and hyperbole. He also tends to use a lot of forshadowing, so be aware and look out for evidence of these.
In addition, while discussing Shakespeare's language, we also discussed how he used rhyme for certain characters, like the Prince in Romeo and Juliet and the fairies in Midsummer Night's Dream. We discussed how he also incorporated sonnets and soliloquies within the plays.
Shakespeare was also inventive with words. He is said to have created over 3000 words and many expressions are used today. See if you can keep a lookout for "Shakespearean" expressions. Write them down and note where you found them. They will pop up in the least expected places.
The assignment for today was to read Acts I and II in A Midsummer Night's Dream.