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British Council

Exploring English: Shakespeare

British Council via FutureLearn

Overview

Explore the English language through Shakespeare’s plays

This course will look at the life and works of William Shakespeare and take you from his birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon to the Globe Theatre in London, from where he secured his central place in English literature.

We will look at five of Shakespeare’s plays with the help of actors and experts from around the world. They will explain and explore the universal themes Shakespeare addressed in his work.

This course is for people who are learning English and interested in the language and legacy of William Shakespeare.
The material is designed for non-native English speakers who have studied English to around intermediate level (approximately B1 on the CEFR).

Taught by

Anthony Cosgrove

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Reviews

4.8 rating, based on 463 reviews

Start your review of Exploring English: Shakespeare

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Great course! Here are some pros and cons: Pros: - Even though English is the only language I speak fluently, the clarity of the course was helpful in getting me to understand what was going on and I'm sure it was clear for English learners. - Captions...
  • Rathin Bhattacharjee
    8
    I have been enjoying this BBC Course on Shakespearean English thoroughly. There are many reasons but I will mention only a few here. Firstly, I was telling my daughter, a Shakespeare fan and programming trainee by profession last night how I wished...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    the course is very useful, especially the collection of articles, videos and related material. The discussions are also interesting when moderated by the educators. The Shakespearean scholars are good, and the FB videos were interesting as well as entertaining. I didn't know much about S. and now I feel more confident in discussin Macbeth and other plays in class.
  • Anonymous
    This course is amazing! I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I only wish I had done this before I finished writing the exam for the paper on British Drama in my English Literature course. I have learnt so much about Shakespeare, his life and times and his works....
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    I have read Shakespeare at school. As I was going through the number of courses, I came across this course which took all of my attention. It is a nostalgia to read and see Shakespeare's various plays once again. I felt like being at school again and...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    As someone who knew really nothing of Shakespeare’s work I am really enjoying the course. Personally I think the story you tell that is a short summary of the story of each piece of work is too short. I have been watching some of the full length productions...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    I must confess that I really enjoy the course. I am a science student, So little I know about literature and Shakespeare. I do only come by Shakespeare phrases being probably quotes by literature scholars. But taking this course has widen my knowledge about Shakespeare legacies and his biography. However, this is the first time reading the story of romeo and Juliet. I often hear people uses the words " romeo and Juliet " while discussing something relating to love and I also often use it as famous love terms, but never had I read story sorrounding it and neither did I knew it was Shakespeare legacy. I have also being expose to new idioms that I will now be using to buttress my sentences or words. I'm very glad to take on the course.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    Hy. My name is Paula Fabrícia, I'm from Brazil. I've studied Shakespeare since my high school and this course is a great opportunity to learn more and more about The Bardo. I'm a teacher and we have a cultural project in our school, named Shakespeare Week, our students love it and have fun to play Shakespeare to our comunity, it is a social project and helps many poor people with some donations. Than, this course has a special importance for me, it is pretty organized, good videos, important tips, what has been made me wake up everyday more exciting, we are in quarentine beacuse of the coronavirus, no school, no our old rotine, but it is important to go ahead and have positive thoughts.
  • Anonymous
    This is an amazing course. English is my first language and I I have studied Shakespeare before, but I gained so much from the course.

    Although I’ve had prior knowledge of the plays we studied, the use of different actors to present some of the units each week opened up new perspectives to me. The questions for discussion for each unit challenged me to think beyond the obvious. I was also impressed by the mentoring by the educators who were very active, kind and helpful. The learners on the course, encouraged by the mentoring were very active in discussions.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    This course has been most insightful and goes to prove that you can always learn something new about the great man and/or his plays. Although I am not new to Shakespeare and his literary genius, this course is well structured, particularly as an introduction...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This course has been most insightful and goes to prove that you can always learn something new about the great man and/or his plays. Although I am not new to Shakespeare and his literary genius, this course is well structured, particularly as an introduction...
  • Anonymous
    I really appreciated this course, that let me enter the Shakespearean world after many years. It was well organized, rich of contents do be analyzed, full of references to deepen the topics. I really liked the interactive part, with the comments of the other people who suggested other sources os simply told their experiences. Besides, I enjoyed the actors talking about their true experiences on the stages of theatres all over the world, because we must always remember that Shakespeare wrote for the stage and not for a private, individual reading. Thank you !
  • Anonymous
    I really appreciated this course, that let me enter the Shakespearean world after many years. It was well organized, rich of contents do be analyzed, full of references to deepen the topics. I really liked the interactive part, with the comments of the other people who suggested other sources os simply told their experiences. Besides, I enjoyed the actors talking about their true experiences on the stages of theatres all over the world, because we must always remember that Shakespeare wrote for the stage and not for a private, individual reading
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This course has helped me understand a bit more about the english culture and language.As Shakespeare is by far the most prolific english playright of all times studying Shakespeare's plays has been a great experience. Knowing deeply plays such as Romeo and Juliet,Macbeth,Hamlet,Much Ado about Nothing and The Tempest has made me realise all the richness of the language he used.I have learned many words and expressions Shakespeare used in his plays like star-crossed lovers,a fate worse than death or constant as the northern star.Also I enjoyed the virtual visit to the Globe Theater in London,it was like being in Shakespeare's time.
  • Anonymous
    It was an amazing experience. First time ever, I got in to Classic English litrature and the reason is this very course spondored by British Council. I learnt a lot of things about Shakespeare and succeeded to read and understand five of Shakespeare's finest plays he wrote. It gave me a start and confidence to delve into the ocean of classical English literature. I'm thankful to my mentors who guided us through this interesting journey. I wish I also could have the certificate but that'll be too much. God bless us all!
  • Anonymous
    If you are interested in Shakespeare, this will be a great online course for you. With its flexible time frame, you can do the bits whenever you have some free time on your hands. With an individual instructor to give you some feedback and answer your questions and with the comment sections, it will feel interactive despite different people working on the course at different times. I can honestly say that it is my cup of tea and I am looking forward to attending more British Council courses in the future!
  • Anonymous
    I am a beginner English student from Brazil and here in my country we dont study Shakespeare at school. I always wants to buy a book of any play but I didnt because I dont like read books in the play format. I learned too much with this course, I am doing with pleasure and recommending for my friends too. I was in London in 2014 and visit the Shakespeare Globe and regret to dont watch a Shakespeare play there. Hope back soon.

    Thank you soo much for offer this course for free and for the amazing content.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This course has helped me understand a bit more about the english culture and language.As Shakespeare is by far the most prolific english playwright of all times studying Shakespeare's plays has been a great experience. Knowing deeply plays such as Romeo and Juliet,Macbeth,Hamlet,Much Ado about Nothing and The Tempest has made me realise all the richness of the language he used.I have learned many words and expressions Shakespeare used in his plays like star-crossed lovers,a fate worse than death or constant as the northern star.Also I enjoyed the virtual visit to the Globe Theater in London,it was like being in Shakespeare's time.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I have found two great things in this course.
    1 . Lively presentation of Shakespeare life and work and society, through videos and especially through competent actors and actresses who speak beautiful English. Because Shakespeare comes alive, the course is so effective.
    2. Great choice of key plays among Shakespeare's rich repertoire. I have learned so much about the last two comedies.
    Just one suggestion
    I think the course would be much more enjoyable if one more topic was added - Shakespeare's humour and laughter.
    Many thanks for the great learning that has taken place for me.
  • Anonymous
    I knew very little about Shakespeare when I started the course - had studied some at school but forgotten. It was an interesting course with some very well-informed students/comments throughout. It was well-structured and, particularly interesting, was having actors from his plays to talk about their roles and explain these to us. The videos helped to explain and develop basic themes and there were many opportunities for students to participate through activities.

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