Brightest Heaven of Invention: A Christian Guide to Six Shakespeare Plays

Brightest Heaven of Invention: A Christian Guide to Six Shakespeare Plays

Many Christians shy away from Shakespeare because of concerns about witches, ghosts, murders, and other elements that occur in his plays. Peter Leithart presents these studies of six of Shakespeare's plays from a Christian point of view. He shows how these possibly objectionable elements are used to illustrate eternal truths in keeping with Scripture.

Actually, this is only a minor aspect of Leithart's book. It is really a guide for exploring the beauty and depth of each of the six plays selected from the three primary types of dramas penned by Shakespeare. From the historical plays, he covers Henry V and Julius Caesar; from the tragedies, Hamlet and Macbeth; and from the comedies, The Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing.

Each study begins with background for that particular play. This is far more than the superficial treatment typical of must study guides. It gets into philosophy, history, culture, and other significant factors.

Leithart suggests that students familiarize themselves with each play by first reading a simplified version or viewing a film version. (Leithart discusses which films are suitable for this purpose.) Then students read a portion of the play, read through Leithart's discussion of that section, and answer ten review and ten thought questions. Thought questions might be used for either discussion or written work. After the study of each play there are suggestions of ten possible topics for lengthier writing assignments.

High school students can work through this book independently, but it would make a wonderful resource to be used in a group class where students could practice reciting lines dramatically, sharpen each others' understanding, and share ideas.

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Instant Key

  • Need For Parent or Teacher Instruction: varies
  • Learning Environment: group or independent study
  • Grade Level: grades 9-12
  • Special Audience: adults
  • Educational Methods: real books
  • Religious Perspective: Protestant

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