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REVISION NOTES BY Shakin Bill Shakespeare

Forsooth it is without doubt a considerable and moving honour to make your acquaintance thou fledgling scholars of the Bard (ME!) and English Literature which is without a doubt the sunshine in our universe! Oh, alright I’ll cut down on all the flowery language and deal with the facts! It’s me, Shakin’ Bill; playwright extraordinary and creator of the play Macbeth. I happen to think that it’s undoubtedly one of my best, but you won’t think that as you are studying it for your GCSEs. I’m here to make it all simple and clear for you so that you can get a brilliant level in the examinations. So, no waffle or excessive language; to the point Shakin’ Bill, to the point!


Why write it?

Simple – In 1603, England had a new King – James I, who was also the king of Scotland (James VI). If I was to be able to carry on writing my plays I had to interest the King in them! So, I included several of the things that interested him in the play (pretty cunning I hear you say!). I also needed the money!


An Inspector Calls

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I know what you’re thinking – how can JB be writing to me when he’s been dead as a doornail for ages now. WTF!

Well sometimes we must suspend our disbelief in English Literature and that is what you need to do now. I’m guessing that you only bought this to help you get a good grade in English Lit. Fine by me – I probably got some royalty payments along the way. I can’t say I really follow the Examination grading now that they have changed it back to pretty well when I was around – well done Michael Gove – that’s real progress for you. Any way I’m afraid that you will no longer have your books in the exam so there is no getting away from the fact that you MUST learn quotes to back up your pints – sorry points – it’s just that I do like beer.

In your AQA exam you will get a statement such as ‘Do we feel any sympathy for Sheila?’ You will need to show that you know my play – Oh yes btw I am assuming that you HAVE read the play?! To do this you need to explain how I tried to use form, structure and language to create an impression on the audience – note that you should refer to the audience rather than the reader. Again, this means that you MUST learn quotes. If you are smart, the quotes that you learn will both back up a point AND give you the opportunity to refer to form, structure or language. You will also need to show how my writing was affected by the context of the times – what was happening in the country and the world when I wrote it. So, if you want the inside track on this stuff read on!

A Christmas Carol by Charlie Dickens – HOW I PUT IT TOGETHER

Well the key thing was to make Scrooge seem the most despicable character ever in the First Stave then show how even someone as awful as he could change for the better. The idea was that the readers, educated rich and powerful people, might recognise how some of what Scrooge was like actually applied to them too – make them feel guilty. So I created Scrooge as a CARICATURE to represent all of the bad things about the rich and powerful people of the time – you could never find one person as terrible as Scrooge – I hope!

To read more of Charlie Dickens’ revision book, email

A Christmas Carol by Charlie Dickens: THINGS THAT INFLUENCED ME

I wrote the book in 1843 in December (of course). Several things were pissing me off at the time, mostly to do with the terrible way that the rich and powerful people of the time in London (Bastards) only looked out for themselves and their own families and friends. In those times living conditions were pretty awful if you were unlucky enough to be poor. The problem was that loads of people had gone to London from the countryside in search of jobs or places to live and the City couldn’t cope with them all. Many employers took advantage of the large numbers of people looking for work and paid their employees as little as possible – if you lost your job then it was hard to find another.

To read more of Charlie Dickens’ revision book, email

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