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Student Blog: In Defense of Shakespeare


Why You Should Think Twice Before Dismissing Shakespeare as "Boring" or "Hard to Read"

Student Blog: In Defense of Shakespeare Hello again BroadwayWorld readers! Summer is slowly drawing to a close and the school year is steadily approaching. Speaking of school, for this blog entry, I decided to speak on something that's pretty much the meeting point for my two college majors (my majors being Theatre and Secondary Education with English as my focus). Shakespeare could definitely be considered the middle of the road between English Literature and Theatre. While I personally love Shakespeare, many people dismiss his works as "boring" or "hard to read". Well, today I'm building my case for why Shakespeare is so much more than that and why you shouldn't just dismiss his works as nothing but old, boring literature.

To start, Shakespeare wrote plays. Plays aren't just meant to be read, they're meant to be performed! I think this is part of the reason why so many people don't like Shakespeare. Most of the time people just read Shakespeare's plays whether it's in school or on their own time. While reading the plays is fine, they're truly meant to be performed on a stage. This is how you truly get the full Shakespearean experience. It's one thing to read it, but it's a whole other thing to see it. I think so many more people would enjoy Shakespeare if they had the chance to see his works as he originally intended for them to be.

The language that Shakespeare uses in his works is absolutely incredible. Contrary to popular belief, the language Shakespeare uses is not Old English, but actually a very early form of the English we speak today. Old English works would be something like Beowulf. While I do admit that it is a bit hard to understand Shakespearean language at first, it is very rewarding if you put the effort to understand it in. After you read or study Shakespeare for awhile, you'll be understanding jokes or phrases that you couldn't at first. This is also where Shakespeare being performed live comes in. It can be so much easier to understand what Shakespeare is trying to say when you see it acted out. It might be hard at first, but the payoff makes it worth it.

Finally I just wanted to close with some of my favorite Shakespearean performances. I love each and every one of these that I'm about to list, and I hope you can find a newfound love of Shakespeare through them as well.

Hamlet, the 1996 film: This is literally the entire play just with a film budget. It's four hours long (since it is the entire play) and it's absolutely incredible.

Hamlet, the 2018 Almeida Theatre production: This production stars Andrew Scott as the titular character and he is absolutely incredible. I don't think you can find this full production online but the clips that you can find are amazing. Click here for my favorite scene from Hamlet as portrayed by this production.

Hamlet, starring David Tennant: Another fantastic production. David Tennant is an incredible Hamlet.

Much Ado About Nothing, the 1993 film: Another great Shakespeare movie adaptation. Much Ado is probably my favorite Shakespearean comedy so I highly recommend this movie.

My favorite plays from Shakespeare: Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, and Macbeth.

Can you tell I'm a bit of a Hamlet fangirl? I hope I was able to help you find some newfound love of Shakespeare through this article. Shakespeare's plays aren't just brilliant, but his sonnets are as well. They're absolutely beautiful and I recommend reading some of those as well. Thank you so much for reading and I'll see you in my next article!

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From This Author Student Blogger: Katie Van Sickle