Why do we spend far too much high school time studying Shakespeare's work?Why do we spend far too much high school time studying Shakespeare's work? Any arguments why?

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malibrarian's profile pic

malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

There are outstanding links right here at eNotes to help you out, including side-by-side textual help if you need to go that route.  Here are a couple to get you started:

http://www.enotes.com/william-shakespeare

http://www.enotes.com/macbeth-text/

Keep in mind, too, that these plays were not meant to be read, sitting by yourself in a room, forcing toothpicks under your eyelids to stay awake.  These are stories that were meant to be acted out, and if we don't have the opportunity to see these plays in real theaters, your next best shot is to get with a group of classmates and read it out loud together.  I promise you that you and your friends will better understand the play this way than if you just try to read it silently to yourselves.

Here is one more link - this is a blog that I write weekly about a drama troupe that I lead and my experiences with teaching Shakespeare.  These steps might give you some insight, too:

http://blogs.enotes.com/shakespeare/2008-02/staging-shakespeare-is-that-even-english/#comments

He really is timeless - Don't lose heart! :)

amy-lepore's profile pic

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

Posted on

Perhaps you are frustrated because we usually focus on the tragedies and not the comedies.  I agree that with so many students and society members on Prozac and antidepressants, perhaps we should laugh a little more.  "A Midsummer Night's Dream" "Twelfth Night" or "The Taming of the Shrew" would be great choices, but as most school districts require "Romeo and Juliet" in 9th grade, "Julius Caesar" in 10th grade and either "Macbeth" or "Hamlet" (sometimes both of these) in 12th grade, it may seem like all Shakespeare did was write depressing plays where everyone dies by Act V.

Check out the comedies, too, and see if you still feel this way.  If you are able to get past the language (which is beautiful, but hard to understand at first for some) you will see that the lessons taught are still very relevant today.  This is why we study the classics.  They have "sticking power" because their themes are universal--they matter to all of us regardless of our gender, age, color, religion, or nationality.  They touch on all the things that draw people to theatres today--sex, mental disabilities, ghosts, betrayal, love, revenge, ambition, greed, and drama!

I hope you will find that Shakespeare is wonderful, and each time you read a play (more than once, even) it's like a Quentin Tarantino (spelling?) film--you're sure to find something you didn't see the first time!

Enjoy your journey...

linda-allen's profile pic

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

Posted on

How much time do you consider too much time? Sometimes I feel as if I'm stuffing too much material into too little time.

I'll admit that Shakespeare wrote other plays that I prefer to study, but you have to admit that Macbeth has themes that are relevant for today. Think of how many political assassinations there were in the 20th century. Think of how many politicians schemed their way to the top. Some pieces of literature are timeless, and this play is on that list!

Consider these points:

  • Shakespeare is the greatest writer of the English language.
  • Shakespeare has influenced other writers and artists around the world.
  • Shakespeare enriched the English language by creating words and phrases still in use today.
  • There is never a day when somewhere in the world a Shakespeare play is not being performed.

Visit the links below for more information.

jeff-hauge's profile pic

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

Posted on

Because I heard he was a pretty good playwright.

*** Don't pay me for this one.***

allyson's profile pic

allyson | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted on

You are certainly not the first student to ask this question! At first Shakespeare seems outdated and much too difficult. But Shakespeare's works illustrate perennial themes and his language permeates several aspects of our culture. For instance, Shakespeare masterfully depicts love and hate, the practical and the magical, jealousy and empathy, and the list goes on!

Often, we do not even realize that common saying we use everyday were created by the Bard. Shakespeare was the first to coin such sayings as "eaten out of house and home," "it's Greek to me," and "laughing stock," just to name a few. Plus, did you realize that several 20th Century movies have been based on Shakespearean works, including 10 Things I Hate About You and elements of The Lion King

Even if you are having a hard time with Shakespeare now, keep working at it and asking yourself how his words relate to life today.

valdean's profile pic

valdean | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

How much time do you consider too much time? Sometimes I feel as if I'm stuffing too much material into too little time.

I'll admit that Shakespeare wrote other plays that I prefer to study, but you have to admit that Macbeth has themes that are relevant for today. Think of how many political assassinations there were in the 20th century. Think of how many politicians schemed their way to the top. Some pieces of literature are timeless, and this play is on that list!

Consider these points:

  • Shakespeare is the greatest writer of the English language.
  • Shakespeare has influenced other writers and artists around the world.
  • Shakespeare enriched the English language by creating words and phrases still in use today.
  • There is never a day when somewhere in the world a Shakespeare play is not being performed.

Visit the links below for more information.

 where are the links that you have provided?

like yh they dont have none

 

sundalo's profile pic

sundalo | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

How much time do you consider too much time? Sometimes I feel as if I'm stuffing too much material into too little time.

I'll admit that Shakespeare wrote other plays that I prefer to study, but you have to admit that Macbeth has themes that are relevant for today. Think of how many political assassinations there were in the 20th century. Think of how many politicians schemed their way to the top. Some pieces of literature are timeless, and this play is on that list!

Consider these points:

  • Shakespeare is the greatest writer of the English language.
  • Shakespeare has influenced other writers and artists around the world.
  • Shakespeare enriched the English language by creating words and phrases still in use today.
  • There is never a day when somewhere in the world a Shakespeare play is not being performed.

Visit the links below for more information.

 where are the links that you have provided?

sundalo's profile pic

sundalo | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

WOW! Thx for the people who replied!

especially for jeff-hauge -_-"

well for me this is kind of a hard question to answer.

but thx again for the answers 

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