Shakespeare’s words and phrases seem to pop up in the least likely places. How often do we hear a character in a sitcom say, “To be or not to be” or a cartoon character lament, “Good night, sweet prince”? One of the most replayed examples of this comes through Taylor Swift’s recent hit, “Love Story.” Referencing Shakespeare’s most famous star-crossed lovers, Swift sings, “That you were Romeo, you were throwing pebbles/ And my daddy said stay away from Juliet.” Swift’s “Love Story” has more of a storybook ending (nobody dies), but the mash up is clear.
This project includes two parts:
Step 1: Create a text (poem, song, painting, mixed-media work, short story, one-act play, etc.) mashing up the essence of one of the plays we are studying this semester (The Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, Othello, The Tempest, and Henry V) with another text (poem, song, painting, drawing, short story, play, etc.) or an original text of your own design. Like Swift’s example, your mash up should make thematic sense. For example, mashing up Henry V’s St. Crispin’s Day speech with a love poem would result in a rather confusing mash up.
Step 2: Write a 2-3 page essay that explains your new text. In general terms, essays must be focused on a central idea, this focus must be clearly stated in a thesis statement, and the thesis must be supported with both the student’s analysis of the play and quotations from the primary text. Please avoid lengthy plot summaries. One common way to cite quoted passages from Shakespeare’s plays follows an act, scene, line format. For example, following a passage from Act II, Scene II, lines 10-16 of Othello, you would include the following in-text citation: (II.ii.10-16) or (2.2.10-16). You don’t need to repeat the words act, scene, or lines in your citation. The most important thing here is to be consistent. Finally, in lieu of a traditional “cover page,” I’d again like you to begin your essay/project with a creative illustration of the mash up you have created.