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Serial Replaces Shakespeare in One California English Class

At least that’s the case in one California classroom, where high school teacher Michael Godsey did away with Hamlet, long a mainstay in his class, to use the wildly popular This American Life spinoff as one of his class’s primary texts.

In a way, Serial is about as Shakespearean as a story can get: You’ve got young lovers whose families don’t approve of their relationship. There’s a backstabbing friend. And it’s all built around the investigation of a mysterious death, though in this case it’s veteran reporter Sarah Koenig doing the poking around, not an increasingly unstable Prince Hamlet. Serial unspools its story in the same conversational language students use every day but still gives Godsey a chance to talk about the same things he can get at with Shakespeare: characters, reliable narrators, story structure, foreshadowing.