English Discussion on Shakespeare „What point is there in studying a dramatist who lived 400 years ago? ” Shakespeare is a British dramatist, lyric poet and actor who lived from 1564-1616. Today it’s the 6th of september 2010. Shakespeare died almost 400 years ago. So why should people still keep busy with someone who lived such a long time ago? Why is Shakespeare still studied today? Many pupils would answer: Because teachers love to bore us. How could someone who lived 400 years ago write about anything which is from current interest?
I think, even if Shakespeare doesn’t live anymore, he has a certain influence on the present. Weather in his own works (Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer Night’s dream, Hamlet, Macbeth) film adaptions of his works, theatre plays or in our everyday life- Shakespeare is everywhere. Besides Shakespeare is not just any dramatist. He is the dramatist who shaped the English language and whose words are still used today. There are about 1700 words that Shakespeare used first in his works. Most of these words, for example “critical” or “bloody” are still used even in our everyday conversations.
But it’s not only his words that are still used, there are even whole expressions just like “There is something in the wind” or “That’s Greek to me”. By the way Shakespeare is also the most quoted dramatist. Who doesn’t know the quotes “To be or not to be” (Hamlet) or “A horse, a horse, a kingdom for a horse”? (Richard III) He is the dramatist whose language and expressions still fascinate people. Especially nowadays, in the century of language decline, Shakespeare’s well-formulated rhymes, seasoned with word games and his words, full of meaning and truth can inspire people.
His sonnets are of such a beauty, that it’s a joy to read them. It seems like he didn’t only use the words- he brought them to life, just like his characters. When reading the book you can feel with them. His characters are failable, they do things because of reasons and motifs, which are still relevant today, just like love (Romeo and Juliet) or jealousy (Othello) He is the dramatist who wrote about topics which are universal and the dramatist who wrote about both the beauty of life and the ugliness of it.
Certain situations which are given in his works could still happen today. Shakespeare’s probably most famous work “Romeo and Juliet” is for example about forbidden love because of hatred between two families. Today there are still reasons just like religion or nationalities why lovers can’t be together. In “A Midsummer night’s dream” Shakespeare describes the funny side of life that results from misunderstandings.
I guess for every one of us there has already been a situation where it seemed like there are really elves who messed everything and left a love chaos. “The tragedy of Othello” shows us, what people do out of jealousy, and how easy it is to influence people. Shakespeare is the dramatist who understood the human mind very well. He was a connoisseur of human nature. Reading Shakespeare’s works and identifying with his characters can help us to develop a better understanding of human nature and a wider knowledge of the factors which influence human behaviour.
Shakespeare was a genius and I think it’s important to motivate pupils to deal with him. There are not many pupils who would do that voluntarily but I think if you fade out the prejudice that the language is too difficult to understand or that teachers just want to bore us with Shakespeare it can be a pleasure to deal with his works. Just as Ben Jonson (british poet, 1572-1637) once said “He was not of an age, but for all time! ” And I guess that’s right.
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