Shakespeare through Pop Culture


    “Did Shakespeare rip off the top fantasy and scifi franchises? Or is it the other way around? Let’s discuss and discover a fun, approachable way to tackle the biggest author of them all.” ~Prof. Valerie


    Coming Soon

    Teen with hair in buns reading Shakespeare for the Shakespeare through Pop Culture Course
    InstructorProf. Valerie Frankel
    Content LevelsGrades 9-10 • Lower High School
    Grades 11-12 • Upper High School
    Course Length16 weeks
    Live Webinars Held OnThursdays, 2:00 - 2:50 PM Pacific - 1/25/24 - 5/18/24

    Did you know that The Hunger Games was largely inspired by Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, with a bit of Anthony and Cleopatra thrown in? Or that the War of the Roses, which inspired the Richard and Henry plays, has also inspired top fantasy series? What about A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the concept of fairyland? Do you know about all the Doctor Who and Star Trek actors who have performed Hamlet?

    Let’s analyze the plays the fun way by learning about their connections to our favorite franchises.

    For a list of plays students will read, please see the Materials & More tab.

    What to expect in the Required section in the classroom each week:

    • Assignments to practice terms and make connections
    • Weekly reading or viewing from Shakespeare

    What to expect in the Highly Suggested & Optional sections in the classroom each week:

    • Curated resources, including websites & videos, are provided to excite learners and to add depth to the subject matter.
    • Additional lessons and resources to help students get more out of the lessons and research literary references

    What to expect during the weekly webinar:

    • Weekly webinars are 50 minutes long. Webinars are recorded and are available for students with schedule conflicts.
    • In-class analysis of Shakespeare as well as lessons on analysis and literary devices and how to find them in all forms of literature. Connections made with recent pop culture.
    • Active Participation (via the microphone and chat) is encouraged in online class discussions and also during lectures.

    Before taking this course, students should be able to: 

    • Read at a solid 8th-grade level or above.
    • Type fluently.
    • Write a paragraph independently.

    Students should be willing to:

    • Have an interest in literature and pop culture
    • Actively participate (via the microphone) in the class discussion.
    • Encourage class discussion by adding their questions/ideas in the chat window during the webinar.
    • Respond with positive and encouraging comments on their classmates’ posts in the classroom forums.

    Required books & materials:

    • Shakespeare plays (all free online at and similar sites):
      • Julius Caesar
      • Richard III
      • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
      • Hamlet
      • An additional play of students’ choice
    • The Hollow Crown films season one
    • Recommended: Any film versions of selected plays