Shakespeare’s Universal Human Truths Assignment
WORTH: 10 points
WORD COUNT: 650 total — broken up between several questions in both Part I and Part II.
WHAT: Watch Julie Taymor’s cinematic adaptation of The Tempest by William Shakespeare.
• This movie version is available for streaming on Amazon, Google Play, Vudu or iTunes.
• It is also available as a DVD from Netflix.
• Any other means by which you can watch it is also fine. Just make sure it is this
version of The Tempest. Made in 2010, directed by Julie Taymor.
• Watching a different version means you will see a different interpretation and I will not
be able to grade you on that version.
FOLLOW ALL GORDON RULE ASSIGNMENT GUIDELINES as stated in Syllabus Policy #4:
➢ Upload the assignment as a Word Document
➢ Double-space all information
➢ Please choose a 12-point font that is easy to read.
➢ Include your Word Count
COURSE OBJECTIVES (CO) & ANCILLARY LEARNING OUTCOMES (ALO):
CO2. Explain the basics of play analysis [when reading a work of dramatic literature or
viewing a work of Theatre].
CO3. Demonstrate knowledge of the various movements within the art form and the writers
and performers associated with them.
ALO 1. To document a few important periods of Theatre History.
ALO 5. To apply terms that describe the art form of Theatre’s function in society that both
reflects and comments on current events, historical context and the universal truths of the
NOTE: The Word Document titled “CHAPTER FIVE – Theatre is… Human Truths” will help
with this assignment. If you have not read it already, do so now.
OTHER: Relax and enjoy yourself. This is a truly stunning piece of storytelling and this
version is extremely well-directed, acted and designed. There is even comedy in some scenes.
When we watch a movie version of a Shakespeare play in my face-to-face course, I
encourage students to bring snacks and let their imaginations soar. I hope you do the same.
PART I – Truth has character and each character has a truth.
Please outline each character’s journey by focusing on their most profound human truths.
If you are wondering how to turn a character’s actions into an understanding of their human
truth(s), ask yourself things like, “Why are people suspicious?” “Why does a person judge
another?” “Why is a person scared?” All human behavior comes out of human need. Even the
villain has a need that comes out their truth.
This particular Cinematic version of The Tempest is visually engaging. In other words,
Taymor certainly employs Music and Spectacle (remember those terms from Chapter Three) to
help tell her version of the story but, beneath it all, there are also some powerful and essential
Universal Human Needs driving the plot.
Below are several Universal Human Truths but, you may come up with your own.
Need to be loved Need for self-understanding
Need to be needed Need to control (the situation or a person)
Need to be respected Need to make a decision
Need to be understood by others Need for affection (and/or sex)
Need to have a purpose Need to protect another
Need to be accepted (to have a community) Need to be safe
NOTE: Word count for each character varies as does the number of examples you need to cite
directly from your viewing experience.
Be very specific and be certain to give examples directly from the play (movie). In many ways,
this is an easy assignment. Don’t hesitate to state the obvious, but be detailed in doing so.
• Prospera (150 words, THREE examples)
• Miranda (100 words, TWO examples)
• Ariel (100 words, TWO examples)
• Stephano & Trinculo — they share Needs and Truths (100 words, TWO examples)
• Antonio (50 words, ONE example)
• Caliban (50 words, ONE example)
PART II – The only stories we know are true stories… if not in the exact
content, then in the meaning of the content.
For this portion of the assignment it is not necessary for students to read the entire script of
Hamlet or even to watch all or part of a recorded version of Hamlet. However, students should
read these pages in the textbook.
• Pages 110-114
Hamlet is often considered to be Shakespeare’s finest play and, over four-hundred years later,
is still considered to be one of the most enduring works of Theatre ever written.
Question #1: Using information from the textbook, please write a brief essay describing the
overall Universal Human Truth of Hamlet.
➢ 75 words
➢ Example: In Romeo and Juliet, two youths on the verge of adulthood, discover their need
for love amidst severe civil unrest between their families. Their ill-fated journey arises
from the human truths of needing understanding, protection, acceptance and affection.
Romeo and Juliet don’t just need these things from one another, but from their families
and communities. Sadly, the mis-used human need for control and respect held by those
around them leads to, not just the loss of human connection, but the loss of human life.
Much of the exploration of human truths that you just did for the characters in The Tempest
are exactly the kinds of thoughts that Directors and Actors have when preparing for their own
work. These theatre artists seek to bring truth to the stories that they are telling and in their
portrayals of the human beings that populate them.
So, please choose a currently working actor that you would cast in this role if you were
directing this play. The actor you choose does not have to be well known but must at least be
someone I find with a simple google search.
NOTE: You may NOT choose an actor that has already played the role on either the
stage or the screen. So, you will need to research any choice you wish to make. (Off the top of
my head, I can state that Benedict Cumberbatch, Ethan Hawke, David Tennent and Jude Law
— just to name a few — are all movie or TV stars who have played Hamlet.)
Question #2: If you were directing a production of Hamlet, who would you cast in the role of
Hamlet? And WHY?
➢ 25 word
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