Tutor profile: Andy M.
The knock on Shakespeare with students always seems to be its inaccessibility due to language, meaning, abstract concepts, and double-meanings. Are there any recent examples of Shakespeare's work that younger students can identify with?
Well, if you're a fan of Disney then you most likely have seen a version of The Lion King (either the 1994 animated version or 2019 CGI one), in which case ta-da you've stumbled upon the basic story of Shakespeare's Hamlet! For example, both stories revolve around a fatherless prince seeking to avenge his father's death at the hands of a nefarious uncle. Additionally, the father figure appears to the protagonist as spirits to offer guidance. Finally, both tales include the uncle convincing the prince to exile themselves! There are numerous smaller parallels but The Lion King is a fantastic gateway into the complex writing and relationships of Shakespeare.
Subject: World History
When reviewing ancient history, what is a lesser-known feat of engineering that seems improbable without modern technology?
One unsung achievement was the Egyptian Nilometer. This simple measuring device (a stepped structure with ruler-like markings) was used as a predictor of water level to ensure proper crop irrigation/success and gave the people a head start on preparing for drought or flooding. Given how crucial the Nile was for overall life in Egypt, the Nilometer technology was even used to assess tax rates because it could forecast potential crop yields!
In J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, who would you consider the hero of the story and why?
Despite being the least likely race to be considered heroic in all of Middle Earth (and eschewing more potentially obvious answers like Aragorn or Frodo), it is Samwise Gamgee who proves to be the most stalwart. While Frodo falls prey to the intoxication of The Ring, Samwise realizes its power and carries his trusty friend up Mt. Doom to finish their quest. Additionally, he rescues Frodo multiple times (Aragog, Gollum, Cirith Ungol) and is seemingly always the voice of reason/moral compass for Frodo.
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