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  1. #1
    Pit Lord Waaldo's Avatar
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    Why do we still study Shakespear's work?

    In one of my classes we are reading Othello, and for our final we have to write a 2000w research paper on it. I don't understand why we are reading and studying such an old piece of work that is basically written in a foreign language. I get that they are very well written stories for his time,but shouldn't we be reading a more relevant re-write of the story or just a more relevant story in general. I.E. something that my generation can understand without looking of the definition of every other word because we don't normally use it in that context.

    Edit: I'm putting this here because people are obviously just reading the title and responding to it (as I'm writing this I'm realizing how counter productive it is because the people it's for aren't going to read it). I am not saying that I want to read Twilight, Harry Potter, or Transformers book, There are hundreds of current and well written books from our generation that can teach the same lessons as Shakespeare.

    I am also in no way complaining about reading Shakespeare, all I wanted was to get other peoples take on why we still study 400+ year old literature.
    Last edited by Waaldo; 2012-04-07 at 01:14 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Torethyr
    I thought doing the toothpaste-tube-squeeze and vigorous shake was the "traditional" way.

  2. #2
    Epic! Punks's Avatar
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    Ill leave this here lol

    but his work really is a masterpiece, it just doesn't flavor well to some people.
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  3. #3
    ..Shakespeare is the reason we have a lot of words in the English language.

    Why shouldn't we study him?
    Because people are too lazy to look up words they don't know? Because it's too "old and boring"?

    Maybe it's not to your taste, but it's still some of the best literature in the world.

  4. #4
    Shakespeare wrote sociopolitical commentary into most of his plays (or some British Lord did, and gave credit to Shakespeare because the types of plays were considered "beneath" someone of his standing. Nobody knows for sure.)

    By understanding the context and meaning of Shakespeare's plays, you can draw parallels to modern problems, as well as learn a lot about the culture and history of Britain around his time.

    3DS Friend Code: 0146-9205-4817. Could show as either Chris or Chrysia.

  5. #5
    Pay attention and dissect the text and you might actually learn something. Most of what your generation can understand and the authors of today are shit. Just wait until college when you have to write 30+ pages on a 7 page short story and then bitch.

  6. #6
    Stood in the Fire Jaux's Avatar
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    You do it to preserve a masterpiece in it's original form. If you had a re-written version every 10 years the stories would decay into something else and eventually it wouldn't be Shakespeare anymore. The bible is a perfect example of literature decay. Do it for the future kids
    Roadhouse

  7. #7
    Shakespeare's work is classical in the same way that Retro gaming is classical.

    Example: You can go back and plug in Super Mario Bros on your NES and still play it. The controller is a little funny in comparison to modern day, the graphics are different, the entire premise is different than the way that games are made today. That doesn't mean that you cannot see comparisons between the two, and the ways in which Super Mario Bros was revolutionary, effectively changing the playing field for all the games that came afterwards.

    Now change that. Change "Super Mario Bros." to "Othello", "controller and graphics" to "Language and Syntax" and "games" to "Storytelling and the Theatre"

    This is all looking at Shakespeare from a modern perspective, while if you look from a historical perspective, Shakespeare was incredibly potent.

    Basically, We study Shakespeare because without him, Modern English would be far less developed (in regards to him coining words and revolutionizing some specific grammar), as well as English storytelling and the Theatre being stunted.

    As for reasons that his work is taught in High Schools, a lot of it has to do with teaching kids to infer what a word means when they don't understand. You'd be surprised at how many kids lack thorough reading comprehension because they can't infer the meaning of a word that they don't know. Shakespeare's diction helps this immensely.

    Summary: Read Shakespeare and Play retro video games. Both are awesome.

  8. #8
    Scarab Lord Atrea's Avatar
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    No one gets Shakespeare the first time you read it. It's not just "your generation". He's been dead almost 400 years.

    With that said, Shakespeare's works are the foundation for classical literary archetypes. They were, as Chrysia pointed out, the socio-political commentary of his time, and they are an indicator of the cultural values of his day.

    By reading the works Shakespeare, you'll find enrichment in all sorts of everyday activities. Perhaps they'll help you better understand yourself.
    I realize now that they just seem a chore to you, as a student; but believe me, when you're not being 'forced' to study them, when you can actually take them in on their own without the preconceived notion that "homework sucks", they might speak to you.

    Or they may not. The point is, you are being given that opportunity, and you may find that one day, you'll appreciate it.

  9. #9
    Shakespearean stories are SO RELEVANT to the everyday person, though. That's why they're used in schools. The stories are about feelings and thoughts that everyone can relate to. Macbeth is a great example: people think about ways to acquire power all the time, except we usually don't act on those thoughts.

  10. #10
    Lmao, a foreign language? All that equates to is proof our current generations simply MUST read Shakespeare, because it actually is English. It's our language. It's yet to be fully bastardized, but it is our language. Understand the full depth that is the English language. Also as others have mentioned, what he wrote about back then still applies in many situations of today. Anyone reading Hamlet in this day and age can take many parts of that book and apply it to their daily lives in the here and now.

    It might not be for you now, but I suggest at some point going back through in your later years, and giving his works another read.
    And if it never IS for you, at least you experienced it currently. :P

  11. #11
    Pit Lord Waaldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lunaeria View Post
    ..Shakespeare is the reason we have a lot of words in the English language.

    Why shouldn't we study him?
    Because people are too lazy to look up words they don't know? Because it's too "old and boring"?

    Maybe it's not to your taste, but it's still some of the best literature in the world.
    Don't get me wrong, I don't think his writings were bad in any way. But they are old and boring. It's not just looking up definitions of words, grammar has changed a lot since his time too. I'm not an English major, so the class I'm in is just a per-requisite. My title is a little misleading to the point where I think that Shakespeare should continue to be studied, but by people who are interested in that kind of literature.
    Quote Originally Posted by Torethyr
    I thought doing the toothpaste-tube-squeeze and vigorous shake was the "traditional" way.

  12. #12
    I think a lit class is a lot more than just "hey this is what Othello is about." First of all you have to understand his work influenced so much stuff that came later. Drama, poetry and literature. As mentioned above the stories themselves are still largely relevant in their themes and morals. Also a lot of what we should be learning in higher levels of education, are how to use your brain. You read Othello to learn what the story is about, yes, but also to learn how to read it...and UNDERSTAND it. It teaches you how to think and interpret.

    Shakespeare is poetry, and allegory. A rewrite using modern language would simply destroy anything that would make it worth learning in the first place. If you are really hard up find a cliff notes...get used to there not always being a graphic novel version of what you are required to read.

  13. #13
    Not having any appreciation for the classics in literature, from Greece and Rome to Shakespeare and the like is the sign of a poorly educated individual.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by atsawin26 View Post
    Not having any appreciation for the classics in literature, from Greece and Rome to Shakespeare and the like is the sign of a poorly educated individual.
    Nah, appreciation is not required. An understanding is. Hell, I loathe most things considered classic.

  15. #15
    You should really be doing Hamlet. That story was epic.

    Beowulf is far older than Shakespear, I hope you don't consider that old and boring. hehe...

  16. #16
    Anytime someone tells me "write 2k words, write 10 pages" I wanna choke that person. What is magical about those 2k words or those 10 pages that will suddenly make my paperwork any better? Nothing! If anything its limiting because I might aswell have only few words to say about something untill it turn into some mindless mumbo jumbo or I might have 10k words and it will still be not enough.

  17. #17
    Legendary! Reg's Avatar
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    Shakespeare boring?

    I bet you like Michael Bay movies.

  18. #18
    Pit Lord Waaldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cobalt17 View Post
    Shakespearean stories are SO RELEVANT to the everyday person, though. That's why they're used in schools. The stories are about feelings and thoughts that everyone can relate to. Macbeth is a great example: people think about ways to acquire power all the time, except we usually don't act on those thoughts.
    That's why I said it would make more sense to read a more relevant re-write.

    ---------- Post added 2012-04-07 at 12:14 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Slanderize View Post
    Lmao, a foreign language? All that equates to is proof our current generations simply MUST read Shakespeare, because it actually is English. It's our language. It's yet to be fully bastardized, but it is our language. Understand the full depth that is the English language. Also as others have mentioned, what he wrote about back then still applies in many situations of today. Anyone reading Hamlet in this day and age can take many parts of that book and apply it to their daily lives in the here and now.

    It might not be for you now, but I suggest at some point going back through in your later years, and giving his works another read.
    And if it never IS for you, at least you experienced it currently. :P
    I said it's basically written in a foreign language. Yes, it is still English, but NO one talks like that anyone because it is an outdated version of English.

    It's definitely not for me, thats why I'm asking why it's required to be studied in a college class. I guess that could be said about any college class though. >.<
    Quote Originally Posted by Torethyr
    I thought doing the toothpaste-tube-squeeze and vigorous shake was the "traditional" way.

  19. #19
    Shakespearean works and other pieces of that ilk are a waste of time. Yes, there is much you can learn from the works of Shakespeare: unfortunately, the average person just does not care about literary works that are over four hundred years old. There is not many assets to be gained from studying these works. I would love it if k-12 focused on STEM topics that have more practical applications in modern day society. An analysis of the writing structure used in hamlet has no real use unless you become a writer or an english connoisseur.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by MathAddict View Post
    Shakespearean works and other pieces of that ilk are a waste of time. Yes, there is much you can learn from the works of Shakespeare: unfortunately, the average person just does not care about literary works that are over four hundred years old. There is not many assets to be gained from studying these works. I would love it if k-12 focused on STEM topics that have more practical applications in modern day society. An analysis of the writing structure used in hamlet has no real use unless your a writer or english connoisseur.
    A society with no arts, full of scientists, engineers, and financiers is a sad society.

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