Sunday, February 20, 2011

Exeter-Milligan Update: Rewriting Shakespeare

Rewriting Shakespeare
By Jami Ellis

The Exeter-Milligan High School senior English class recently studied the well-known soliloquy that appears in act III, scene I of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Some may recognize the often quoted first words, “To be, or not to be: that is the question.” In the famous lines the main character, Hamlet, speaks thoughtfully and agonizingly to himself about the question of whether to commit suicide to end the pain of experience. He says that the miseries of life are such that no one would willingly bear them, except that they are afraid of “something after death.” Because we do not know what to expect in the afterlife, we would rather “bear those ills we have,” Hamlet says, “than fly to others that we know not of.”
The senior students, after discussing the passage, were asked to rewrite the famous lines, pose a different question, and weigh the consequences and benefits of each outcome as Hamlet did in his soliloquy. A few examples of student work are below.

To Forgive or Not to Forgive
by Jacob W.

To forgive or not to forgive: that is the question.
I try to find anything
To stop the thought of your embrace
But nothing can help me cope with this disaster.
Should I live with the knowledge?
What is broken here can never be fixed again
But I can also face the truth and forget
Because I cannot face this mess alone.
These thoughts constantly run though my head,
So potent that they make sleep a bitter oblivion.
You said forever over and over
But is it possible this deceit can be ignored?
The truth is, I can do neither
Because not even the strongest of heart
Could forget or forgive this.
I thought our coalition was strong enough to withstand anything
But it seems we have found the cancer that can shatter the fortress.
I wish I had one more chance to put heart in fragile hands.

To Sleep or Not to Sleep
By Kelsey M.

To sleep or not to sleep—that is the question.
Whether it is more wise to stay up and cram
or to sleep and take the risk.
The extra hour of studies
and lost hour of dreams,
will it help to remember
those facts that seem useless?
Will it help to memorize
the order of events
Or the formula to the equation?
Or the extra hour of sleep
That experts say everyone needs.
Will it help to remember
the notes taken days ago
or answers from that pop quiz?
Maybe instead finding the wisest choice,
I should’ve studied long ago.

To Tell or Not Tell: A View of Hannah Montana
by Linsey K.

To tell or not to tell—that is the question.
Whether it is smarter to let it out
or keep the secret inside.
Of course there are pros and cons to both decisions.
You may be followed in everyday life
by paparazzi who know now your true identity.
You may lose friends that feel betrayed
by secrets they know not of.
However, if you choose not to tell,
you keep the life you now have.
The secrets, the double life,
the normalcy of people not knowing who you truly are.
Would it be better to keep life how it is at the moment
or tell and not know what the consequences might be?
It is a huge step with unknown results,
but I now know what I must do.
I am older and more mature than when I first started.
I will tell and hope that it will be alright.

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