Over the course of his playwriting career, Shakespeare wrote 37 plays, 10 of which were history plays. The histories recounted actual events, each documenting the reign of an English king. Compared to some of Shakespeare’s other works, they might not seem as attention grabbing. They’re not nearly as infamous as his tragedies or comedies, but that doesn’t mean you should skip over them.
While the histories may not be produced as often as his other plays, they shouldn’t be lost to – well, history. The histories still contribute quite a lot to literature and our culture. Here’s some reasons to give the histories a chance.
*The end of this article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home. I will be mapping out the three-act structure of the movie. There will be a definitive warning before any spoilers are revealed.*
I first learned about three-act structure back in high school. During a creative writing class, our teacher drew an arc on the whiteboard, broke it down into segments, and labeled them: exposition, inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action. It was taught to me as a basic outline for plot, but I recently learned that the three-act structure maps character instead.
I’ve been taking an online master class, and the instructor dedicated a whole lesson breaking down how the three-act structure model works in terms of characters. Thinking of the structure in terms of character instead of plot can give you a new way to look at your story.
Many stories and movies utilize this structure, and you can identify the points of three-act structure within each one. Let’s break it down, act-by-act and point-by-point.
Recently, I’ve been seeing some articles from acclaimed directors bashing on superhero movies. ‘Superhero movies are ruining cinema’, ‘All superhero movies are bad’, ‘The superhero genre is cheap’ etc. etc. and quite frankly, this isn’t true.
I’m a big fan of superhero movies (hence why I bought my No Way Home tickets two weeks in advance), but as a film student myself I can clearly see why they aren’t exactly winning any Oscars anytime soon. Of course, this is a generalization and there are several different ways to tackle the superhero genre in less traditional ways, such as Watchmen, Hancock, Logan and the Kickass series. However, going off the stereotypical view of superhero movies, they serve one very clear purpose: to entertain.
And that’s perfectly fine.
On this blog, I frequently write about the importance of focusing and enjoying the little details in our everyday lives. Incorporating it into our writing can broaden our horizons in ways we never realize. I’ve finally found an example that captures the heart of this idea: Studio Ghibli’s 1988 film My Neighbor Totoro.
CW: witches, death
The Crucible, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Vampire Diaries, American Horror Story season three, at least a dozen documentaries and horror movies, an abundant amount of historical books, even video games are obsessed with one topic: the Salem witch trials.
Until this year, I didn’t know as much as I would have liked to about the Salem Witch Trials. I didn’t realize how short the period in which the trials took place was or how they were fueled by repression. And now, having done the research and started The Crucible in class, I find there is so much to know about them outside this media, and I find it even more unsettling than witchy horror.
Fair warning, much of this article will be American-centric because the Puritan community that perpetuated these trials was so important to founding America.
Trigger Warning: Mentions of death and dying
Picture this: it’s a cold, dark, stormy night. You’ve gone on vacation to some cabin in the middle of nowhere, when all of a sudden you hear something creaking, scratching, coming closer. You reach for your phone, only to realize that you don’t get service all the way out here. Now it’s just you and whatever lies out there in the dark...
Horror is the genre that makes people squirm, scream and sometimes cry. It’s full of jump scares and creepy monsters, a lot of gore, ghosts and paranormal creatures or even some impossible killer who never dies. It’s the stuff of nightmares, and the only reason anyone could possibly want anything to do with it is because of the adrenaline boost fear gives us right? It’s fun to be scared of something without having to face any of the real danger that fear implies.
Of course, safe fear isn’t the only thing horror can give us.
Academia as an aesthetic has seen a rise in popularity — especially in America — throughout recent years, although the 1989 movie Dead Poets Society certainly contributed to this increase. And while on the surface, academia is a lovely aesthetic (who doesn’t want to sit by the window while it’s raining, reading poems by Oscar Wilde, wearing tweed jackets and thick-framed sunglasses?) It is also steeped in classism that contributed to the historical imperialism of British society, and currently contributes to the divide in modern British society, setting most of the population at a disadvantage and is the basis for most discrimination and inequality that people in this country face, more so than in any other country.
Spoiler Warning for Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin
Content Warning: This article discusses murder and sexual assault, but not explicitly. The novel does not describe the assault in detail but uses vague flashbacks, however other themes are described explicitly like murder, blood, transphobic bullying(not excused by the narrative), and a suicide attempt.
“We’re magic. I can feel it right now in the dark. We’re invisible when we need to be and then so firework-bright no one can look away. We’re patience and brilliance. We never forget. We never forgive.”
— Jade Khanjara, Foul is Fair
Remember when as a kid, you looked out at the world, it seemed to be filled with wonders, and magic was always lurking somewhere around the corner. You were able to find joy in the simplest of things but not anymore. Now, as an adult, life seems so boring, and you barely even have time to slow down and enjoy life. And this is often reflected in the media we consume which is packed with grandiose and flashy elements to help us escape our boring lives.