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Explore Shakespeare for iPad App Review

Explore Shakespeare for iPad App Review

In a world where text-speak is becoming a little bit too overused and fewer people are using language and grammar properly, it seems appropriate that the works of Shakespeare are making an impact on the iPad. While much of his language was made up, his new words did at least contribute to the English language and broaden it, rather than reducing it to a few letters and numbers. Shakespeare is said to have invented the word “obscene” and I’m sure he would use it to describe the language used on places Facebook. Fortunately Explore Shakespeare is now available on the iPad to bring his unique use of language to the digital age.

There are in fact two apps available based on two of his most famous plays; Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet but both offer a very similar package. You can download them from the App Store now for the introductory price of just $8.99 each.

The most obvious feature of course is the complete text of the play involved as it would be a bit cheap not to include it but these apps have a bit more to offer than just books and there is an interactive element too. Most notably, the apps double as audiobooks and include a complete audio track of the whole play. But this is more than just an empty read-through and it is in fact an actual performance of the play, complete with atmospheric sound effects, to really bring the plays to life. You may recognise some of the voices acting the script out, and rightly so, as there are some famous actors in there, including Kate Beckinsale. This audio option can be enabled and disabled at will and while it is playing, the app also scrolls the accompanying text along with it so you can follow it yourself.

Other features include a complete annotation of the script to help with your understanding of it. Any words you are unsure about, for there are many odd ones, can be highlighted and defined for you and there are all kinds of extra notes to help you keep track of it, including essays and study activities.

You may find it a bit pricey for what you get and as good as the apps are, it is a bit steep. This could be especially problematic if subsequent releases cover other plays as it would be expensive to download them all. Hopefully some further texts will be made available as cheaper add-ons when the time comes.

But apart from that, this is an excellent way to present some of the most-loved plays of all time. Explore Shakespeare can be used by anyone, whether they are trying to learn lines for a production of the play themselves, studying the text for an assignment, or simply want to enjoy the play as a fan of one of England’s finest writers. This app is comprehensive, educational and, if you can get your head around the creative language, hugely entertaining.

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