How to Learn Shakespeare with Mind Maps

It's all about the process...

How to Learn Shakespeare

Using Mind Maps to learn Shakespeare can make learning Shakespeare easy and fun.

We encourage you to have a system, or a process, when learning anything - and that includes learning Shakespeare.

Here is a system for learning Shakespeare for you to use and adapt as you see fit.

1. Get a good overview

We obviously prefer you to use Mind Maps for your overview. We have produced a set of Shakespeare Mind Map Tutors that gives you various overviews. e.g.
  • Background
  • Characters
  • Soliloquies
  • Synopsis
  • Themes
  • Quotes
  • Speeches
  • And More...
There are also many free linear overviews online.

2. Read a great plot synopsis

There are many good synopses available for all of Shakespeare's plays. Our Mind Map Tutors have an Act by Act, Scene by Scene overview, which gives a visual overview of the whole play. This will make remembering the synopsis much easier.

Use the Mind Map synopsis together with a linear synopsis for maximum effectiveness. There are many linear synopses available online.

3. Get an annotated copy of the work.

Amanda Mabillard of Shakespeare Online places a special emphasis on having a good annotated copy, preferably one  with detailed annotations at the bottom of each page.

This is very useful to learn words that you don't know or understand as you don't waste time looking up words and terms.

It also makes it easier to focus on the content.

4. Quickly read through the play

Read through the play using your overview, or summary as a guide. If you have a Mind Map Tutor, and have some familiarisation of the Mind Map Overviews, your brain will naturally 'hook' the content to the framework in the Mind Maps.

Association and Hierarchy are two important factors of memory.

You should then have a good 'feel' for what the play is about.

5. Watch a good production of the play

BBC Productions have good renditions that resemble the plays most accurately. If you can't get a BBC production, then try to get a production that resembles the play the closest.

You could even read the play as you watch.

The more components of the brain you use in the learning process, the better the learning process.

6. Read the play again

This is when you fill in the details. You should have a good understanding of the play and can now focus on the major themes. It's time to get a firm grasp of the topics. Still use the overview to guide you.

If you have one of our Mind Map Tutors, you will have good, detailed, whole brain guide to the whole play and all its important aspects.

Reference: Mabillard, Amanda. How to Study Shakespeare.Shakespeare Online. 2000

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