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Do you think Shakespeare really wrote with hidden meanings or did he write simply to...

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knon | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 29, 2008 at 10:40 AM via web

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Do you think Shakespeare really wrote with hidden meanings or did he write simply to attract paying customers to the theatre?

What do you think?

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reidalot | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted May 29, 2008 at 11:02 AM (Answer #2)

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Of course Shakespeare had to attract paying customers; it was his job. However, Shakespeare was a craftsman, a master of his profession. That is why four hundred years later, we are still reading his plays!

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted May 29, 2008 at 11:07 AM (Answer #3)

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Shakespeare was an artist, but he had to put food on the table. Of course his intent was to make money. If all he was interested in was art, then he might have spent his time writing nothing but sonnets. Playwrights always write for an audience--that's really a given for the genre.

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knon | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 29, 2008 at 11:20 AM (Answer #4)

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Thank you for responding.I think Hamlet is a very ineresting storey but feel dissecting it takes away a lot of enjoyment

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 29, 2008 at 12:15 PM (Answer #5)

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Shakespeare did of course incorporate all the factors that still attract people to movies today--incest, conflict, violence, ghosts, witches, ambition, heros and villains.  He did this to entertain people as well as to get them in the doors.

With regard to your comment about Hamlet, I agree that you can enjoy it by reading it, but there is no way you'll pick up on everything that's packed into a Shakespearian play without discussing it.  Sometimes half the fun of reading anything is to see what others picked up from it...it makes you think and there's always an "Ah-ha!" moment or two. 

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kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted May 29, 2008 at 6:32 PM (Answer #6)

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I  think, first and foremost, as true artists do, that Shakespeare wrote because he loved to do so.  Of course I believe he wanted to make as much money as possible, too, though.  I don't believe true artists can achieve greatness without genuinely loving what they do.

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knon | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 31, 2008 at 4:08 PM (Answer #7)

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So am I wrong in accepting my first impression of the play(I really like it and may read more of Shapespeares plays)or is it necessary to pay heed to all the interpretations that are posted on the internet.I still wonder if he had deeper meanings

 

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted May 31, 2008 at 5:46 PM (Answer #8)

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Shakespeare wrote of the times he knew.  He lived in a time where upsetting the monarch could lead to beheadings.  His play, Richard II, was apparently not very popular with Queen Elizabeth as it tells about the deposition of an anointed monarch.

I get the feeling about Shakespeare that he wrote what he knew, what he loved, and that he was one of those very lucky people who find their niche, their God-given talent, and they are fortunate enough to be able to make a living at it.  I also think he had a wicked sense of humor, and that he enjoyed poking fun at people and society.

Don't let yourself get bogged down by all of the scholarly theories out there...the secret meaning of Hamlet, or what did he really think about monarchs when he wrote Richard III?  Choose one of his plays that might interest you - tragedy, comedy, romance, history - then find a good annotated copy.  The Folger Editions are GREAT!  Then read it for yourself, making sure you understand all of his allusions by checking the notes in the edition.  Shakespeare was a storyteller, and I think he would like to know that his plays are being read and enjoyed, 400 years later, rather than picked apart to look for a meaning that might not even be there.

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted May 31, 2008 at 5:52 PM (Answer #9)

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So am I wrong in accepting my first impression of the play(I really like it and may read more of Shapespeares plays)or is it necessary to pay heed to all the interpretations that are posted on the internet.I still wonder if he had deeper meanings

 

  No, you're not wrong in accepting your first impression of the play.  But if you re-read his plays, maybe 3-4 times, you will gain greater understanding of the language, leading to a further understanding of the story and maybe what he was intending by it.  I've read Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew, and Henry V, at least 5 times each, and everytime I read them, I learn something new.

Another great tool is a book called Shakespeare's Words, by David and Ben Crystal.  It will give you definitions of tons of the words in his plays that give modern readers trouble.

Finally, good heavens, no, it is NOT necessary to pay heed to all the interpretations that are posted on the Internet.  Sure, there are good sources out there, good writers trying to write about a playwright they love (but sometimes hate), but there are also wingnuts out there who don't know what they're talking about.  But it's the Internet, so anyone can write what they want.  If you're unsure of a source, double check what they're saying with other sources, preferably non-Internet sources.  Make sure you're not being fed a bunch of fish-tales! :)

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knon | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 1, 2008 at 11:14 AM (Answer #10)

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Thank you I feel much better and not quite so Ignorant.Being 78 years old makes alot of the words he uses more understandable than to a teenager.Have now read Hamlet 4 times and watched the video 3 times and still find it most enjoyable even if I was forced into studying it to get my high school diploma. will I read more Shakespeare?-Yes but just to enjoy.Thanks again to all who responded. Nils

 

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jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted June 2, 2008 at 4:30 AM (Answer #11)

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No hidden meanings. ... or are there?

Shakespeare had a killer, evil side. People either appreciate reading elite relics or consider knowing something.

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ermoran | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 5, 2008 at 8:51 PM (Answer #12)

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That's a very good question.  I think but there is one thing.  Does anyone really know for a fact that what happend back then really happend?  I would seriously love to know. 

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