LiLT SIG: Teaching ideas in Shakespeare

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Neil Matthew Addison, Tokyo Women’s Christian University

This study notes that whilst there are some problematic factors that teachers need to consider when contemplating introducing the works of William Shakespeare into Japanese tertiary reading classes, this need not prevent them from doing so. Indeed, despite possessing antiquated language and idioms that our students may not be familiar with, Shakespeare’s plays contain poetic ideas and themes that are universal to the human experience. This study recommends two approaches that have been utilized with sophomore university English students to teach key ideas in the plays Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet. It argues that, when they are explicated, realizing these ideas can equip our students with insights additional to language or cultural acquisition, because such literature contains ideas that are part of the shared human condition.