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Thread: Can someone review my "Why Teach Shakespeare Essay"?

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    Can someone review my "Why Teach Shakespeare Essay"?

    Why Teach Shakespeare?

    In my English class we are currently reading about Romeo and Juliet written by Shakespeare. I can’t help but wonder why we have to learn it, and what is so important about it. But I asked a couple questions on a Romeo and Juliet forum to clear things up, and it did! Some of the answers explained how it teaches us a different point of view on English and poetry. The answer that answered my question most successfully was that teaching Shakespeare and his play is just a challenging reading comprehension with questions that make you think. Here are some of the reasons why we should learn Shakespeare and even bother with it in school.

    The first reason people fail to realize why Shakespeare needs to be learned is poetry. Most of the play in Romeo and Juliet is written in sonnets! When you read the play you might not realize this but the fact is that Shakespeare put together a story using a poetic language he created himself. So why learn poetry? Poetry is an excellent way to use abstract ideas or bring out your artistic point of view on things. Poetry challenges you to use your vocabulary to the fullest by putting together words that rhyme.

    The second reason why we should teach Shakespeare is that it shows us the diversity of English. People don’t like reading Shakespeare because it is too hard to understand or even read. Well that’s really the point of teaching it! It helps you understand what you can do with the English language or even the different types of English. Shakespeare challenges us to study and observe the history of English. It shows us how English came to be what is now and what it used to be. We learn the history of things to make us learn from the mistakes or accomplishments of something like English or WWII. We use this knowledge of history to prevent the same mistakes or to prolong the success of Shakespeare.

    The last and foremost reason why we should learn English is we learn how to comprehend a simple story using a complex form of English. A lot of people complain that Romeo and Juliet is too hard to read or understand but no one realizes that’s exactly why we should learn it. Shakespeare’s work allows us to be challenged by our English, even though Shakespeare’s language is almost completely different. We get questions to answer for the story of Romeo and Juliet for reading comprehension. It is so hard because we comprehend a story that is different from our everyday language. Why not have a little challenge in life?

    I hope I have answered everyone’s quarrels on why we should teach Shakespeare and what values it brings us. We have to keep in mind that the workings of Shakespeare challenge our English because of their differences. Some history of English is displayed in Shakespeare’s writings and also the diversity of English. If you want to be challenged in the English language, then take part in reading one of Shakespeare’s plays like Romeo and Juliet.

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    I found your comments interesting because I will be teaching Romeo and Juliet to a 9th grade English class in the next few weeks, and I wanted to know how to present it. Thanks for your insights!

    Here's my review: Your essay makes some good points...there are some typos and style issues with it (1st paragraph, "I asked a couple of questions." 4th paragraph "The last and foremost reason why we should learn English" I believe you mean "Shakespeare." You switch from "learning" to teaching in paragraph 3). That's just my first read. The reasons you have given are worth noting, but I'm not convinced you "mean" it. If this is a persuasive essay, perhaps an example of how the experience affected you, or changed you would be more meaningful.

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    Shakespearean xman's Avatar
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    A very good first draft, Robert. I too would like to point out a few gramatical weaknesses, not all faults necessarily, but there is room for clarification.

    Quote Originally Posted by robert j View Post
    In my English class we are currently reading about Romeo and Juliet written by Shakespeare.
    Perhaps you should use the author's full name, William Shakespeare, the first time you mention it. It's just good form. From then on you can use more familiar references.

    Quote Originally Posted by robert j View Post
    The answer that answered my question most successfully was that teaching Shakespeare and his play is just a challenging reading comprehension with questions that make you think.
    Use the plural 'plays' because he wrote many and many are taught. It seems that you are missing a noun after 'comprehension'. If you remove the indefinite article 'a' before the word 'challenging', your intent to use 'comprehension' as the noun should be clearer.

    Quote Originally Posted by robert j View Post
    Most of the play in Romeo and Juliet is written in sonnets!
    This is actually incorrect.there are sonnets in the play, but the play is mostly written in what we call rhyming couplets.

    Quote Originally Posted by robert j View Post
    I hope I have answered everyone’s quarrels on why we should teach Shakespeare and what values it brings us.
    I would use the singular 'value' otherwise it sounds like you're trying to describe morality rather than enrichment.

    As I said, a very good piece with a few minor hiccups.

    X
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    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xman View Post
    This is actually incorrect.there are sonnets in the play, but the play is mostly written in what we call rhyming couplets.
    My memory of Romeo and Juliet isn't all that great. However, I believe the play is written in iambic pentameter free verse for the most part, not rhyming couplets. Shakespeare often used rhymes interchangeably with his free verse though. Often you'll see a character speak completely in rhyming couplets (aa,bb,cc,dd), then you'll see the next character speak in a different rhyme scheme (ababcdcd). Also, you often have the servants and such speaking in prose.

    Edit: After browsing over the online copy of R&J he does use a good deal of rhyming couplets in the play.
    Last edited by OrphanPip; 02-15-2010 at 06:02 PM.
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    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
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    Some of the themes in a play by Shakespeare are usually relevant to the current times as well. They provide a springboard into a reflection upon them.

    For example in Romeo and Juliet you have the theme of forbidden love. The context here is the feuding families, but this could be extended to modern scenarios. Baz Luhrmann's R&J had the Capulets and Montagues as competing Mafia families. Another context is Arranged Marriage. I have found that R&J stikes a chord with Asian students where the family is dominated by a strong patriarch and marriages are arranged. This theme crops up in a lot of Bollywood movies.

    Another example is gang culture. Romeo and his mates are a gang wandering around verona, just as Tybalt and his mates are.

    Another good point for reflection is the fact that Juliet is 13 and Romeo 16. Modern portrayals of the play use older actors, but in modern western society they are children. The marriage of children does still persist in some cultures.

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