“Perhaps all the world is a stage. Thanks to these ingenious apps, the world of Shakespeare is certainly much easier to comprehend” claims J.D.Biersdorfer in his article of The New York Times. Shakespeare continues his expansion even in modern times, and his next step for his spread is the app. Apple and Android, both offer different types of applications about The Bard aimed to facilitate its reading and understanding. Furthermore, some of them use visual and audio-visual resources in order to make them more eye catching and attractive for the public.
Firstly, Othello is a multimedia version for the iPad that, as J.D.Biersdorfer details, includes a big variety of video clips of selected scenes from a 1987 performance at the Market Theatre in South Africa. Moreover, the scenes are interspersed with the play’s lines, allowing the reader to see the written words in action. Just as an example, thanks to this interactive edition we will see and hear how Sir Derek Jacobi intones sentences such us: “Whatever your experience in reading Shakespeare, it is in performance that his words come alive.”
In addition, it also provides the reader with one-touch English translation of 1,400 terms throughout the 3,560 lines of the play, thanks to which, readers can have the archaic vocabulary explained and then tap back into the text and continue reading without having to leave the line. Just pressing a finger to the iPad’s screen on select phrases, readers will be given the translation into modern English.
Another interesting app is called merely Shakespeare. Available for iPad, iPhone, IPhone, iPod Touch, and Android devices it offers, as David Farmer explains in his blog, the complete works of Shakespeare (41 plays, 154 sonnets and 6 poems, including doubtful works). Apart from that, it also has impressive features such us the option of customizing the reading experience, quality texts, detailed scene breakdowns or the Shakespeare passport; which is a virtual ticket to events and exhibitions all over the world. For those looking for more detail, they can also download the Shakespeare Pro version. For only $9.99 this application is plenty of extra features designed for students, including a guide to scansion, biographical information and a portrait gallery.
Finally, if all these applications would not be helpful enough for the comprehension of Shakespeare’s works, SwipeSpeare is another good option. As Apple’s official web describes, “Unlike other apps that put the original and modern side-by-side in a way that is distracting and hard to read, SwipeSpeare only shows you the modern text when you want to see it. Simply swipe your finger over the text, and the text will change; swipe it again and it will change back.” In the following video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMhM-PL92yk) you can see a demonstration of how easy it works. Without a doubt, if you are looking for the simplest and the easiest application, this is your best option.
All in all, these applications might be the key in order to encourage new generations to read Shakespeare. In fact, the ones named above are just a few of the numerous existing Shakespeare’s applications for mobiles. All of them will be the perfect tool to immerse oneself into The Bard’s complex but wonderful world.
- J.D. Biersdorfer (November 30, 2012). Shakespeare: New Apps for Help Reading Shakespeare. In The New York Times retrieved 2013.12.19 from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/books/review/new-apps-for-help-reading-shakespeare.html?_r=1&
- David Farmer (December 19, 2013). Shakespeare App. In Drama Resource retrieved 2013.12.19 from http://dramaresource.com/resources/software-and-apps/247-shakespeare-app
- Apple’s official page (December 02, 2013). Shakespeare by Readdle. Retrived 2013.12.19 from https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shakespeare/id28503541
- Apple’s official page (November 02, 2013).SwipeSpeare – Modern Shakespeare By BookCaps. Retrived 2013.12.19 from https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shakespeare/id285035416