Thursday, September 12, 2013

William Shakespeare's Star Wars

Title:  William Shakespeare's Star Wars
Author:  Ian Doescher
Publication Information:  Quirk Books. 2013. 176 pages.

Book Source:  I saw this book while browsing at a local bookstore.

Favorite Quote:  "O, use the Force, dear Luke. Let go and trust."

William Shakespeare's Star Wars is, as the title implies, the Star Wars story retold as a Shakespearean play. This book tells the story of the original Star Wars movie - the one that is now Star Wars Episode IV:  A New Hope.

If Star Wars is not for you or you are not familiar with it, then this is not the book for you. If, however, you are a Star Wars fan, then this is a great addition to the collection. I really enjoyed this book for several reasons.

First of all, it is a book that I can happily share with my children - even the somewhat grown up ones. These days, a book that helps start a conversation is a positive thing. We have all seen the Star Wars movie several times. They have had occasion to study Shakespeare in school. It is fun to compare and contrast and lead into discussions - both of things modern and things long gone.

In fact, the online resources for this book include a study guide designed for high school or college classes. The study guide outlines the way in which this book references or uses dialogue from Shakespearean plays such as Henry V, Hamlet, and Macbeth.

Second, the book is true to the story of Star Wars. The plot is unchanged. Reading this book is like watching the movie in my head with a Shakespearean dialogue. Because I know the story, I can appreciate the Shakespearean language. I understand the meaning before I read it; so, I can focus on the rhythm of the iambic pentameter so particular to Shakespearean writing.

Third, the book is funny. One aspect of Shakespeare that the book fully adapts is the asides - remarks or passages by a character heard by the audience but unheard by the other characters in the play. In particular, hearing what R2-D2 and C3PO "think" is such fun. For examples, here's a R2-D2 gem, "A plague on 3PO for action slow, A plague on upon my quest that led us here, A plague on both our circuit boards, I say!"

Overall, a delightful read for those familiar with the Star Wars story.

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