View Full Version : I am a highschool student wondering "Why teach Shakespeare".

robert j
05-22-2009, 10:41 AM
I am doing Romeo and Juliet in English right now, and i thoroughly enjoy it. But i still wonder why we have to learn shakespeare or "his language" not our own kind of English.

05-22-2009, 12:09 PM
alot of it is based in classic education theory. In that a student should know english in all its divers forms, but alot of it is also that a school does not need to pay royalties to a man long since dead. Using modern texts would cost alot.

Sucks for you huh. It is easier to introduce a student with modern, then teach the archaic. We does it buckwerds heer.

05-23-2009, 07:49 PM
... So you don't enter the world ignorant of the Bard?

05-23-2009, 11:08 PM
Yeah, I kind of agree with Homer's child (Maggie?). Shakespeare is regarded as the best writer in English, and that is just how he wrote. Changing the English to a more modern style runs the risk of missing something Shakespeare intended (maybe a pun or a double-meaning--and, of course, the rhythm!) or just plain making it suck. Bark's right, too, though, and hopefully your school system has had you study some stuff written in more contemporary English before doing Shakespeare. That's great you're enjoying it though!

Also, I liked reading Shakespeare because it was difficult. The books we used had what Shakespeare wrote on the right page, and definitions and notes on the left page. It was kind of like learning about another language/culture. By the way, I'm not in a Shakespeare fan club or anything, I just read a handful of his plays (less than 10 anyhow).

Also, if you like movies, and if you're getting the hang of his English (doesn't have to be 100%), then one of my top 5 movies of all time is "Much Ado About Nothing".
It won't bum you out, like a lot of the Shakespeare they made us read in high school did. It's adapted from the play, but they don't change the language, it's the same as Shakespeare wrote it.

05-23-2009, 11:53 PM
Yeah, I kind of agree with Homer's child (Maggie?).

... what? Who's Maggie? :lol:

But anyway, I also enjoy Shakespeare because he's more difficult. I love more challenging reads.

Well... of the question of reading the language of Shakes, I think it's important to see how the English language evolved. We didn't always speak like this you know. And once you read a lot more of Shakes, it becomes less foreign I would say.

05-25-2009, 02:24 PM
I like to think that I understand the archaic, but I found a translation of Purgatory that is set in modern english. The political names are Bush, Cheney, etc. The metaphor is constant. I read that version and was dumbstruck by how much I missed in the old version. I have since reread the old version and I found that learning the symbolism beforehand allows you to concenttrate on the prose. It was cool.

Sorry thats kind of garbled. I feel kind of sickish today