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Whats the point in shakespeare?





ParsaAkbari
This question beat my english teacher.


1. I am not saying shakespaeare is bad or boring.
2. I have read shakespeare so dont say i dont know what i am talking about.#


A while back i asked my english teacher, "Whats the point in Shakespeare, why do we learn it.

I learn writing techniques so we can communicate formally with people.

I learn to spell so we dont look like a idiot when wiritng letters ect."

But whats the point in shakespeare?

Looking for answers Wink
David_Pardy
I am happy to say I never learned Shakespeare in school. I have always done a LOT of reading, but trying to read Shakespeare to me (on the one occasion I gave it a go) was completely pointless and annoying.

I'm not criticising the man or his work. It just lacks the ability to hold my interest.
ParsaAkbari
Even if it should hold your intrest surley its a hobby,

should i be allowed to get a GCSE in playing games? I should think not. I dont gain anything out of knowing how to read in between the lines or directing a play, in english context.

Shakespeare is performing arts.
Radar
I'm one of those person who actually gets interested in things like this (although sometimes I don't start liking something until after we've studied it at school.

I think your question is more general than 'Why Shakespeare?'. I think your point could apply to any novel or work of fiction. To which I say that you study them in school to try and get you to appreciate them, in the hope that you will keep reading, as that is the best way to maintain and encourage literacy.

Shakespeare will help you understand any plays that you will ever read, and if nothing else help you understand mentions of his work in other areas. If kids can be made to appreciate language that is formal and somewhat removed from our way of speaking today, then they'll be willing to read more widely.

Maybe that helps, I don't know.
TurtleShell
If I had to pick one reason, I think I would say that the cultural literacy you gain by learning Shakespeare is invaluable. Why learn about the great explorers? Why should you know what the Magna Carta is? Why should you know a Beatles song when you hear it? Some things you should just know, because even if you don't care about those things directly, they affect the world around you, and living in ignorance makes you a lesser person, and a less interesting person.

If you don't learn Shakespeare, you're depriving yourself of an understanding of art and culture.

That's enough of a reason to learn Shakespeare. It also endows you with a deeper understanding of the English language (if you're a native speaker).
sondosia
What's the point of any work of literature? To learn about culture and history, and what matters to people. Love, death, friendship, you name it. Shakespeare deals with all these things. You might learn something from him.
africa
I personally think Shakespeare is very exciting.

Listen folks, for one to appreciate his works it takes a lot discipline to actually ignore all things said about his works, that its boring etc. He was an artist so studying his work will make one aware of the events that happened in his era, for example the wars, the dynasties how life was etc.

Some of the suggestions here are quite shallow if i'm to be frank. Shakespeare can be read by those who enjoy comedy, tragic tales, etc. He's just a writer who had a message! Why read him.because he's just a flipping genius and mastered the art of story telling and using literary devices to perfection.

Do your research proper or state your case carefully.
Crazy_Canuck
ParsaAkbari, I'm surprised you "beat" your English teacher by asking this question. Could it be that you simply aren't ready to accept or haven't fully understood his reply? No English teacher I've ever had would be at all stumped by this question.

Five reasons to read Shakespeare:

1) he can teach you everything you need to know about plot, structure and character motivation. Before Shakespeare, none of these things really existed in literature. His plots are complex, multi-layered, filled with clever twists and turns. They are impeccably paced and they always resolve perfectly by the end. Understanding Shakespeare will help you better understand and critique just about every work of literature that came after him.

2) he understood human psychology in a very modern way. He rendered characters in three dimensions--made them human in a way they had never been before. His characters revolutionized theatre. They were motivated by things that real people are motivated by: lust, power, greed, love, existential angst, paranoia, petty jealousy, delusions of grandeur ... you name it. There is not a major conflict or human relationship that has not been explored to some extent in one of Shakespeare's plays. He covered it all.

3) He also revolutionized literature: Shakespeare's plays are made to be read, as much as experienced as a performance. His accomplishment, simply in terms of form, style and sheer volume, is astonishing: 37 full five-act plays and 154 sonnets, widely acknowledged more than 400 years later to be among the best in all of Western literature.

4) he's eminently quotable: "old fools become babes again" (King Lear); "to be or not to be" (Hamlet); "out, out damn spot" (MacBeth); "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" (Romeo and Juliet). At the very least, quoting Shakespeare will make you sound smart. If you can not only quote him, but also explain what he means and why it's important, you'll score big points among educated folks. In fact, like Turtle says, you can't really be considered educated unless you have at least a passing familiarity with Shakespeare: it will make you a more interesting person.

5) tragedy. comedy. history. poetry. Shakespeare excelled at each of these forms. He didn't just excel; he CREATED these forms; or at the least, brought them to life in a way that had never been done before and created a body of work that has not been matched since.

Good luck. Don't give up on Shakespeare--battle your way through the language, if you have to, and find yourself a great teacher if you need some help. It will be worth it.
ddukki
Crazy_Canuck wrote:
ParsaAkbari, I'm surprised you "beat" your English teacher by asking this question. Could it be that you simply aren't ready to accept or haven't fully understood his reply? No English teacher I've ever had would be at all stumped by this question.

Five reasons to read Shakespeare:

1) he can teach you everything you need to know about plot, structure and character motivation. Before Shakespeare, none of these things really existed in literature. His plots are complex, multi-layered, filled with clever twists and turns. They are impeccably paced and they always resolve perfectly by the end. Understanding Shakespeare will help you better understand and critique just about every work of literature that came after him.

2) he understood human psychology in a very modern way. He rendered characters in three dimensions--made them human in a way they had never been before. His characters revolutionized theatre. They were motivated by things that real people are motivated by: lust, power, greed, love, existential angst, paranoia, petty jealousy, delusions of grandeur ... you name it. There is not a major conflict or human relationship that has not been explored to some extent in one of Shakespeare's plays. He covered it all.

3) He also revolutionized literature: Shakespeare's plays are made to be read, as much as experienced as a performance. His accomplishment, simply in terms of form, style and sheer volume, is astonishing: 37 full five-act plays and 154 sonnets, widely acknowledged more than 400 years later to be among the best in all of Western literature.

4) he's eminently quotable: "old fools become babes again" (King Lear); "to be or not to be" (Hamlet); "out, out damn spot" (MacBeth); "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" (Romeo and Juliet). At the very least, quoting Shakespeare will make you sound smart. If you can not only quote him, but also explain what he means and why it's important, you'll score big points among educated folks. In fact, like Turtle says, you can't really be considered educated unless you have at least a passing familiarity with Shakespeare: it will make you a more interesting person.

5) tragedy. comedy. history. poetry. Shakespeare excelled at each of these forms. He didn't just excel; he CREATED these forms; or at the least, brought them to life in a way that had never been done before and created a body of work that has not been matched since.

Good luck. Don't give up on Shakespeare--battle your way through the language, if you have to, and find yourself a great teacher if you need some help. It will be worth it.
Seriously, dude. Find a new English teacher. Shakespeare has much more than just prose and literary importance. He defined and standardized much of the way the English language was spelled back in his day. Everybody spelled things phonetically and that can lead to inconsistencies, especially with the lay people [the poor]. Shakespeare's plays were performed for everyone and they all learned their English and culture that way.

Also, Shakespeare writes in a specific meter of poetry. His iambic pentameter is the most famous of all the contemporary poets, and maybe even in general. All [correct me if I'm wrong] are written in this format [five long - short syllables] and they actually make sense.

I've quoted the guy above, because he/she seems to have gotten most of the rest of the points I wanted to make.
TurtleShell
maybe you should bring this up with your English teacher. Start a class discussion. You'll probably win bonus points for exploring this issue outside of class.
Afaceinthematrix
What's the point of any fiction? Shakespeare wrote for his time. Back then that was their form of entertainment. And what he wrote is not too much different for what we like. Shakespeare wrote about sex and violence. And if you think about, that's pretty much what entertains us today (sex and violence). As for the point of forcing us to read some fiction book... I have no idea. I personally think the entire subject of literature is pretty damn pointless. I like to read literature some times, but what's the point of making me read it and then testing me on what was in the book? I honestly don't see the difference between making someone read Shakespeare and testing them on the content in it or making someone read The Cat and the Hat and testing them on the content of that. It's the same thing. I was so happy when I got to college and didn't have to take those classes. In fact, this term all of my classes are math and science classes.
TurtleShell
Mr. Matrix, just b/c you read on your own doesn't mean that other people read on their own, and students (particularly children) should read literature.

These classes are required in schools because children need to develop grammar and reading skills, so they can be better readers and writers as adults. If students did not practice reading, analyzing what they have read, and writing about what they've analyzed, most people would be terrible readers. Not only would they develop into illiterate adults, they wouldn't be able to succeed in school as children because they wouldn't have the ability to understand books in their classes, whether those books were about science, or math, or history, or anything else.

Reading itself needs to be a subject because reading is so critical.

Thus, literature is essential because literacy is essential.
Afaceinthematrix
^^Okay... You just told me what the point of reading in school was. The topic was about the point of Shakespeare (or any other fiction). Why was it a requirement where I went to high school that every single Freshman read Romeo and Juliet and every Sophmore read Julius Caesar? Furthermore, why is it a requirement that any teacher be forced to teach any specific piece of work? Sure you want kids to enjoy reading. Hell, I remember half the class getting excited when they got to read out loud in elementary school, and when the teacher would allow us to do SSR (do they still use that term - "silent sustained reading"?). Many kids get turned off of reading in high school because they were forced to read books that are, quite frankly, boring. Why are the national standards forcing students to read (well nowadays most students in high school just use SparkNotes.com) books that they find boring? Most students find Shakespeare boring.

Why can't they let the English teachers choose the books that they feel are appropriate for their class? English teachers spend an hour a day with their students, so surely they have some sort of idea of their personalities/likes/dislikes.

Also, what is the point of testing the students on specific details? Ex: What was the name of the book that Guy Montag got caught reading in Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury? I'm serious, I've had questions like that on tests! On tests! There is absolutely no reason to expect a student to remember all of those silly details - especially when they're trying to remember definitions of physics terms, new math concepts, history dates, their music for marching band, etc. Testing should be of the basic plot to ensure that the students have some basic reading comprehension and to ensure that they read the book. Most good English teachers will check SparkNotes.com and other popular websites and choose questions that the website doesn't cover.

So my criticism in the my last post was not against reading. Literacy is important. While I will argue that math and science are the most important subjects because they have created our very civilization, I will give a lot of credit to literacy. While you do not have to be literate to be a scientific/mathematical genius, it surely helps.

I do not see the point in Shakespeare (or most fiction). I find it quite boring. Unless you have the time to pick through all of his speeches in order to find his sex references, there is little entertainment value to it. Forcing high school students to read it is counterproductive as it really does (and my evidence for this is many of my friends in high school) turn many people off from reading all together. While it is good to force students to do some things that they'll hate (as it builds the "suck-it-up" skill that is so needed in the "real world"), it is not a good idea to force students to do something that will turn them off of reading.

If I was a high school English teacher, I would have my students read something that was either non-fiction, or that was fiction but had a lot of social/historical references to it. Then they'd be at least learning something else. Reading fiction should be done for pleasure, and I would probably offer extra credit for any outside reading done at home. If a student read a book at home and wrote a critique (or something along that line) and turned it in, I'd give them extra credit. I would try to instill some value of reading for recreation.
slashnburn99
Its a class divide in my eyes

Rich kids read Shakespear and pretend to understand oldye English

Poor kids take drugs and sell the books to get money

Obviously, this may not be true Razz
amgoodwater
Good Lord! Shakespeare is the greatest writer in the Western Canon. If you are at all interested in the human condition, Shakespeare is a good place to start.
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