Don’t be fooled by the title. This book is for anyone who wants to brush up on Shakespeare.
Playwright Ludwig, who has written numerous hit plays for Broadway and London’s West End, explains his simple, proven method for teaching the works of the Bard of Avon—and we know it works, since he has used his children as guinea pigs, starting when they were 6. Now that they’re off to college, flipping quotes back and forth, it’s obvious that the simple repetition of short sections of speeches is most effective. The author includes a wide variety of speeches from such classic Shakespeare characters as Puck, Orsino, Macbeth, Falstaff, Rosalind and Hamlet. Learning to quote Shakespeare is one thing, but Ludwig opens up the secrets of the plays, the characters and the genius of the man. The best person to learn from is one who is passionate about his subject, and Ludwig certainly fits that bill. There is subtlety here: “no one in history, before or since, has written better than this.” There is sufficient sprinkling of like praise and professional envy throughout the book. Shakespeare’s creativity serves to cause creativity in those who read him. The difficulties we often encounter in his works are the unfamiliar words (though an English schoolchild would know more than an American), the oddly curious sentence structure and the broad use of metaphors. Shakespeare’s dramatic methods, such as repetition of sounds, inversion of thoughts, curious rhyming and breaking right into the action are just a few of those that make him great. Some readers may liken it to a foreign language, but once the key phrases are explained, they will appreciate the magic and begin to fall in love with Shakespeare.
Don’t buy this book to teach your children; take them along as you commit these beautiful speeches to memory.