Movies for Homework
Here’s the thing about Vanderbilt: they offer really, really interesting classes. I’m talking Harry Potter classes and Meaning of Life classes– it’s great.
One of my personal favorites this semester is my Shakespeare on Film class. I know, I know- Shakespeare? I’ll admit that I love his work (a lot actually, considering I’m planning to major in English), so this class was right up my alley. But even for the students who aren’t necessarily huge Shakespeare fans, this class adds the element of film, and who doesn’t love a good movie?
This year, we have read four of Shakespeare’s most well-known plays: Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, and Macbeth. We start off by reading and analyzing the play, not only in the context of Shakespeare’s world, but in ours as well. We question how the meaning of the play has perhaps changed over time and look at social implications of certain pieces of plot or specific lines and characterization. My professor, Dr. Chapman, challenged me to engage with the text in a new way and welcomed our own, unique interpretations. I’d read three of these plays before, but this class allowed me to see them in a whole new light and take away something new the second time around (one of the marks of great literature if you ask me).
After we read each play, we explored different film adaptations of the work, so yes, I got to watch movies for homework! How awesome is that? Some of the films followed a more traditional adaptation, but we watched a lot of modern takes on the classic Renaissance plays as well. We analyzed specific film techniques in order to read how the film interpreted the original text and understand what the movie thought the play was ultimately about.
As a result of taking this class, I have a new appreciation for film adaptations of literature. Before, I typically only liked faithful film adaptations that did not take out scenes or major themes and ideas, but now I realize that films create new levels of interpretation when they cut or change certain things. The appreciation and skills that this class has given me makes me even more excited to see the new Frankenstein movie and Macbeth movie this year!
Even more, our final for this class is to make a ten minute Macbeth film adaptation with a group, and I am so excited about it! We are going to have way too much fun, something you don’t necessarily think of when someone mentions “finals.” I’ve had the best time in this class, and I’m sad that it will have to end soon, but I know Vanderbilt has many more interesting classes waiting for me.
Also, as a side note, can I mention again how absolutely gorgeous Vanderbilt’s campus is? I talk about it way too often, but seriously, how could you not? After a pretty heavy downpour yesterday morning, Nashville delivered, and the campus trees turned a whole new kind of beautiful. Pictures won’t do it justice (come take a tour if you get the chance), but look at it!
As always, please send any questions you may have!
Stay well and be kind,