To Hell, with Shakespeare

Lee, Ei Leen * (2010) To Hell, with Shakespeare. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences,, 7. pp. 317-325. ISSN 1877-0428 (Submitted)

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In the teaching of Shakespearean plays to ESL students, deciphering Shakespeare‟s language has often been cited as the main obstacle to comprehending his work. While this may hold true to a large extent, there are other „aspects‟/‟areas‟ in Shakespeare‟s plays such as the concept of Hell and black comedy, which may prove equally demanding to comprehend in the ESL classroom. Humor is not only relative but it is also time and culture-bound; in the case of the Malaysian classroom, getting students from different ethnic and religious backgrounds to comprehend the black humor in the Porter‟s scene in Macbeth is no laughing matter. This paper reports on how the researcher tapped on the diverse religious beliefs of the students and used Taoist, Muslim, and Hindu concepts of the afterlife as a prelude to teach and read the Porter‟s scene. Following this, the ESL students engaged in communicative, language-based activities such as interviews with the Porter or characters in the afterlife to suspend disbelief and transcend the text. As a result of the creative methodology used in the class, the ESL students were able to discuss and comprehend Shakespeare‟s treatment of Hell and grasp the concept of black comedy in the play. In conclusion, the methodology advocated in the study celebrated creativity and diversity in the Malaysian classroom.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Paper presented at the International Conference on Learner Diversity (ICELD 2010)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Hell; humor; comic relief; background knowledge/schema; the aesthetic experience
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions: Sunway University > School of Arts > Dept. Communication
Depositing User: Ms. Molly Chuah
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2013 03:34
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2019 09:04

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