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'Hamlet' Adapted to Facebook

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I got my chuckle for the day over a blog post by Timothy McSweeney that's being passed around. It reduces William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" to a Facebook news feed. Even Robert Pondiscio over at the Core Knowledge Blog acknowledges that the Facebook rendition of "Hamlet" is a good example of world-class skills and world-class content working together hand in hand.

My favorite stanza (if it can be called that) is the one that refers to how Hamlet's mother took a husband immediately after her first husband, Hamlet's father, went to his grave.

The king poked the queen.


The queen poked the king back.

Hamlet and the queen are no longer friends.

Marcellus is pretty sure something’s rotten around here.

Hamlet became a fan of daggers.

I saw "Hamlet" most recently last summer, performed by the Shakespeare Theater Company as a "free for all" in a local park. Hamlet's madness seemed surprisingly contemporary. Why shouldn't it be adapted for Facebook?

1 Comment

Interesting final line of your post. Some thoughts on the question itself. I think it's a valid and timely question that could spark a great deal of valuable conversation in the classroom.

First, examining the Facebook adaptation would show students that there's a skeleton to the play. It's not all fancy language and archaic terminology. The essential elements of how stories are traditionally told remains remarkably similar over the centuries, even as language, the ever plastic medium, changes.

Second, this would be a great exercise in contrasting the language of Shakespeare with the language of txting. Doing so would allow teachers to note that each language has its own advantages...each language characterizes a certain culture, asserts certain values are held within that culture, and that certain things are and aren't possible because of those languages.

I think it's a great question.

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