Alternate Shakespeare Endings with AI

Why?

Because AI tools like ChatGPT are capable of mimicking the writing style of well-known authors, they can be a great tool for adapting or exploring alternatives to commonly-read works in class. In this lesson, students are asked to brainstorm alternate endings to Shakespeare’s works and use AI to see their ideas come to life. 
Materials Needed Time needed 
  • Computers with internet access 
  • Poster making materials (if doing optional storyboard activity) 
30-45 minutes 
Objectives
  • Students will be able to use their understanding of a play to suggest plausible alternate endings. 
  • Students will be able to prompt and AI chatbot to craft a scene. 
  • Students will be able analyze an AI-generated scene for language, coherence, and style.
Lesson  
  1. After completing one of Shakespeare’s plays (or after a unit where you read multiple works), split students into small groups. 
  2. In groups, students should list some possible alternate endings to the chosen play. For example, if the chosen play is Romeo and Juliet, ask students to think about questions like: What if Romeo arrived on time? What if Juliet woke up earlier? 
    1. After some brainstorming time, each group should decide on one alternate ending that they want to explore. 
    2. Tip: if the whole class is working with the same play (or multiple groups working with the same play), make sure each group chooses a different ending to explore. 
  3. Use ChatGPT to flesh out the alternate ending. 
    1. Try a prompt like this: “Rewrite the final act of Romeo and Juliet as if Juliet was awake when Romeo arrives. Make sure to mimic the language of Shakespeare and align with the motivations of the characters in the original play.” 
  4. Have students analyze the results. Some guiding questions could include: 
    1. Is the AI-generated ending coherent? 
    2. Does it capture Shakespearean language and themes?
    3. Is there anything that makes it obvious that this was written by AI?
    4. How does the ending change the overall feeling of the play? 
    5. Tip: include other questions for the analysis based on the key themes, concepts, and textual details you focused on while reading the play(s). 
  5. Optional presentations 
    1. If time, have students create a storyboard of their alternate ending to present to the class and engage in a whole-class discussion about the alternate endings.