Star Wars and Shakespeare Unit
Luke Skywalker meets Hamlet in a 10-lesson plan unit based on Ian Doescher's William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope (WSSW). Using Star Wars® as source material, Doescher has transformed Lucas's film into a Shakespearian drama. Readers consider several essential questions: How does an author's use of language add meaning? How does an author transform source material? What are the unique techniques afforded by different media to create meaning? How significant are sound effects? To learn about the power of iambic pentameter, young Jedi use their lightsabers to strike the accented syllables in lines from WSSW. To make the point that there are many forms of language, each with its purpose, class members select 10 lines from Doescher's play, translate these lines first into contemporary English and then into "SMS/Tweet." Learners also have an opportunity to compare how a film and a play handle the same source material by viewing the opening chapters of George Lucas's Star Wars: A New Hope and comparing these scenes to acts I and II of WSSW. Pupils craft an in-class essay comparing Doescher's adaptation to George Lucas's film to conclude the unit.