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  1. #261
    Bloodsail Admiral BananaInsane's Avatar
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    What I think is interesting is the arguments that he didn't write his work. If you're interested; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakesp...rship_question
    (。◔‸◔。✿)

  2. #262
    Quote Originally Posted by aloiv25 View Post
    To me learning about Shakespeare is equivalent to putting Latin in the English curriculum. I mean they both tell you about the histories of English right? Both may answer questions about why English is the way it is today but many consider studying Latin useless as we have now MODERNIZED and developed English to no longer resemble Latin. Same with Shakespeare.
    I don't often say this, but you're wrong. I didn't quote your post before this specifically, but both express the same idea. That idea is incorrect. Literature, and art in general, does develop over time. This development doesn't make what came before obsolete. It's not like your cell phone. Once the new one comes out, you can just throw the old one away. Studying old literature, old art, isn't just a study of language. It's a study in culture. If you read Shakespeare like you read Latin, then you missed the point. It's not about translation. (This is totally ignoring the fact that English is a Germanic language, and teaching Latin sentence structure, etc would teach you nothing about where English came from. We borrowed some words not the root language.) If you taught a class on literature and only focused on what you would consider to be modern (20 years? 50? You tell me.), then you would be doing a great disservice to the students in that class.

    @Falrinn: I'm not saying you need to spend a semester on Shakespeare unless you are some kind of lit major, but any intro to lit course should include him. I'm also not saying that he's the stick by which all other authors should be measured. That's a bit silly since, as you say, there are many styles and most have some merit. My participation in this thread has been to answer the question posed in the thread title. This is why we study Shakespeare, and why we are correct to do so. I'm not trying to say he's any better or worse than any other author. I am trying to say he is a huge part of the history of literature, and to ignore him in a class that is an intro to literature is insane.

  3. #263
    Legendary! darenyon's Avatar
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    i prefer steinbeck

    i agree though that most teachers just kind of phone in shakespeare. it should be taught though because its influenced a lot of other stuff. even if its dry, at least it challenges you.

  4. #264
    I have just finished reading Hamlet (from what I've heard, one of his supposed "best tragedies ever written" - imo I thought J. Caesar was better but I digress) and I'm not really too sure how it can even qualify as good writing... there are deep plot holes, poor characterizing, and a pretty stupid ending (though I suppose the last point is personal preference, to a degree). For starters, Hamlet is a sissy. Yes, his father was murdered by the now king and his whore of a mother is sleeping with her brother-in-law (which in itself is odd because throughout the whole play, it is made blatantly obvious that incest is frowned upon in their time period and people seem to know it (of course, besides Gertrude herself). Gertrude is portrayed as a semi-rational person but we are to believe that the Queen of a country would just be whorish/stupid enough to not contemplate that something was up with the murder of her husband - and instead - just get's hitched with her now dead husband's brother? Sure, why not.

    Back on to why Hamlet is not a well written character - he is so poorly written emotion wise, that I wouldn't be against the idea that Shakespeare wrote him as if he had a mental disorder. Like I said, his father was killed and his mother loves to bone his uncle but still - he is massively suicidal throughout the whole play. I don't know, maybe people didn't mind offing themselves back in the 15-1600's as much but that whole idea that Hamlet see's his life as so shitty that he would rather just kill himself is a little far-fetched to me. Even the idea that Ophelia would legit go insane is odd. Like really, how believable is it that once this girl's father died, she would become obsessed with flowers and singing - to the point where she also kills herself (if you believe her death was not accidental)

    As far as plot holes go, there are two big ones that I can recall this early in the morning. First off, when Hamlet is being taken to England on a ship, he is kidnapped by pirates. Now, we are to believe that these pirates just boarded their ship while everyone was sleeping and kidnapped Hamlet... right... Not only that, but PIRATES off all people are said to understand Hamlet's plight and just let him go free back to Denmark. Since when do lawless, greedy, morally corrupt people, such as pirates, just let an extremely valuable prince of a country go free without trying to get a ransom or anything out of it, besides the fact that they apparently only took Hamlet off the ship, without waking anyone else up.

    The second plot hole comes at the end of the play. After (and this seems to happen a little too much in Shakespeare's plays, kind of making them repetitive and predictable, imo) everyone dies (Hamlet, the queen, Laetres, the king, and almost Horatio, because once again he seems all too ready to just kill himself) Fortinbras, prince of Norway just storms in, gets told of Hamlet's story and is crowned king. Now it is said earlier in the play that the throne of Denmark is to be filled by election. Oddly enough, as Hamlet is succumbing to the poison, he apparently forgets that and states that he passes the crown to Fortinbras, not even a Denmark citizen - right

  5. #265
    Epic! Sighz's Avatar
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    I can appreciate his works, but any classic gets boring when you have to analyze every fucking word.
    And if the teacher insists on letting the people in the class read it, especially when they pick the... people... who... SIR WHAT'S THIS WORD? OH OK-read... like... this, it destroys the rhythm of the scene.
    We just finished Othello as well. Glad I don't have to read a Shakespeare again in school.
    "HURR IF YOU DON'T STUDY OTHELLO HARD YOU WILL DO BAD IN THE EXAMS DERP" half the time and people reading slow the rest.

  6. #266
    What would the OP rather study?

    Harry Potter? Twilight?

    The best thing about irrelevant old stuff is that it'll ALWAYS be old and irrelevant.

  7. #267
    The Lightbringer eriseis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmist View Post
    What would the OP rather study?

    Harry Potter? Twilight?

    The best thing about irrelevant old stuff is that it'll ALWAYS be old and irrelevant.
    Hey, don't dismiss Harry Potter. You can relate HP to interesting topics such as being in the closet and the corruption of the government. I enjoyed reading HP since the Ministry of Magic reminds me of the Mexican government.

  8. #268
    Pandaren Monk vep's Avatar
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    Yes, why DO we study Shakespeare? Why do we study anything? I'm sure this world would be so much better off without us having to study. Especially the basics of ethics. The world is full of sunshine and rainbows at the moment, not having to study would be a blessing, wouldn't it?

  9. #269
    Scarab Lord Zhangfei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eriseis View Post
    Hey, don't dismiss Harry Potter. You can relate HP to interesting topics such as being in the closet and the corruption of the government. I enjoyed reading HP since the Ministry of Magic reminds me of the Mexican government.
    It doesn't require that much thought and there is little depth to plumb for literary value. I enjoy HP but as very light entertainment for eleven year olds. Not suitable for high school or university.
    In fact as far as I'm aware the UK is the only european nation that outright bans guns for civilians.
    Shotguns I'll give you (provided you're allowed 12 and larger gauges... because I mean... come on...) but not .22s.
    This is why people ban guns. Gun supporters don't know what guns are.

  10. #270
    Moderator Kasierith's Avatar
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    The essential reason why is that his works are an epitome of a time when the entire purpose of elements of writing was not as much to tell the story, but to be symbolic... nowadays, for example, you put a raven into works because its a raven, simple as that. A black winged bird often associated with eating carrion often associated with death. In his time, the raven was either death or wisdom, depending on the context.... if a man saw a raven, it was a sign of departing from reality in either knowledge (true learning) or life. It's a type of thinking that seems outdated, but has merely taken a new form as critical thinking because we have a deeper understanding and a thought process not as attached to the physical world. The only reason why this doesn't get transferred across is that this is a complex understanding that isn't readily transferred into teaching, and its easier to simply have people memorize a few lines for an exam

  11. #271
    Quote Originally Posted by eriseis View Post
    But what does this greatness consist of?
    You should really take a class on shakespeare if you want to learn about it. His mastery of the english language is simply astounding and his multiple themes and sub-themes are beautifully woven together. there is a degree of subtlety to his writing that that is unmatched in most authors. You can spend and hour talking about a single passage of shakespeare and not even scratch the surface of it's full meaning. That's pretty abstract, but that is what makes it so great for me.

  12. #272
    Quote Originally Posted by Ciano View Post
    I agree that studying literature is about the critical thinking. The problem is though, that most high school teachers do not take Shakespeare to that level. My AP American Lit teacher, however, took every book we read in that class to a completely different level of thinking than I had ever experienced before. If teachers would take Shakespeare to that level, then I would agree that it must be taught in high school classrooms. But the reality of it is that the class just reads the book, maybe picks out a few juicy parts of it, then moves on. Since that is the case, I would argue that his plays should be pulled from high school classrooms and be taught by professors at the university level who can tackle his plays.

    Just as a quick example: Hamlet's famous "To be, or not to be" speech that is full of existentialist ideas was read over in minutes time and the word 'existentialism' never came up in class. Why, then, should we have read Hamlet, if we did not delve into the deeper meanings of the play?
    I would agree with you on that point, Ciano.

    I protested decades ago in my AP 11th grade English class the reading of King Lear. I knew the play well enough to know that it was inappropriate. Moreover, I knew my A-type Ivy league bound classmates enough to know that they for the most part didn't give a shit about learning the depths of the real meanings to be found within the play and that they would be straddling that fine line that is academic dishonesty and plagiarism by regurgitating other people's analysis using clever and not so clever rewrites works and in wholesale fashion stealing other people's ideas and concepts about the play and its characters.

    It was clear to me that the play was there so that the AP student's parents could say that their students were working on King Lear in 11th grade versus what was normally a 12 grade work (when none of that mattered because the subject matter of an elderly King parsing the true affections of his scheming daughters and one true daugther through trials and intrigue would be something NO ONE could in any way relate in a real way). I surely didn't want to censor the work, but without any ability to relate to the material or even empathize, the only way to write a paper would be to simply copy someone else's take on it. Which everyone else basically did. They read other people's analysis and just recopied it in their own words. I'd read my classmates papers before, so I was pretty clear how that one would go. There would be no original scholarship for King Lear.

    My prize for making a principled stand on ONE paper to the school board was to be summarily kicked out of the AP program. Period. They made it clear they didn't give a shit about understanding Shakespeare any more than the students did.

    Which burns me because of this: I read Shakespeare as prose. I laugh at the jokes. I get it like reading it the first go through for the most part. I LOVE the puns and always got in trouble for laughing at all the right parts.

    I think Shakespeare should be taught PROPERLY fairly early on, actually. But just like for pianists, some Rachmaninoff concertos are meant to be studied very late in their training, some Shakespeare just doesn't mean much until you've lived some. Course, that goes for a lot of things, I guess. Thing is with Shakespeare is that his sonnets and plays have so much depth that you can write a book on a sonnet. Not many authors can or have accomplished such a feat.

    Shakespeare is an awesome author and those that have not studied him in depth are leading a life somewhat diminished, less full than it could be if they were availed of the beauty, savagery, ribaldry and tragedy that comprise his works.

  13. #273
    The Lightbringer eriseis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kasierith View Post
    The essential reason why is that his works are an epitome of a time when the entire purpose of elements of writing was not as much to tell the story, but to be symbolic... nowadays, for example, you put a raven into works because its a raven, simple as that. A black winged bird often associated with eating carrion often associated with death. In his time, the raven was either death or wisdom, depending on the context.... if a man saw a raven, it was a sign of departing from reality in either knowledge (true learning) or life. It's a type of thinking that seems outdated, but has merely taken a new form as critical thinking because we have a deeper understanding and a thought process not as attached to the physical world. The only reason why this doesn't get transferred across is that this is a complex understanding that isn't readily transferred into teaching, and its easier to simply have people memorize a few lines for an exam
    And the Brilliant Post of the Thread Award goes too...

  14. #274
    Legendary! Callace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eriseis View Post
    And the Brilliant Post of the Thread Award goes too...
    So, by that logic, we are aiming for a hard-realism approach to story telling that has no artistic elements.

    Does that mean that your idea of a good movie is a security camera feed?

  15. #275
    The Lightbringer eriseis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Callace View Post
    So, by that logic, we are aiming for a hard-realism approach to story telling that has no artistic elements.

    Does that mean that your idea of a good movie is a security camera feed?
    You can agree or disagree with the post I made that comment for, I was just congratulating Kasierith on making a post that 1) was not condescending, 2) actually explained the importance of studying Shakespeare without resorting to tautology and 3) didn't just quote a Shakespeare play like a religious maniac shouting Bible quotes in the middle of the street.

    I'm not gonna argue about your response, I don't find literature of my interest. I'm just trying to bring attention to the 3 types of responses people have about this kind of topic which ultimately contribute with nothing.

  16. #276
    Legendary! Callace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eriseis View Post
    You can agree or disagree with the post I made that comment for, I was just congratulating Kasierith on making a post that 1) was not condescending, 2) actually explained the importance of studying Shakespeare without resorting to tautology and 3) didn't just quote a Shakespeare play like a religious maniac shouting Bible quotes in the middle of the street.

    I'm not gonna argue about your response, I don't find literature of my interest. I'm just trying to bring attention to the 3 types of responses people have about this kind of topic which ultimately contribute with nothing.
    I understand. I disagree on your second point, however.

    I'd never argue that you should be forced to appreciate literature. I would argue to the death, though, that disavowing literary elements from literature/English studies is a bad idea.
    Last edited by Callace; 2012-04-09 at 04:03 AM.

  17. #277
    Because you are reading the origins of many, many, many popular things in literature and theater, even today, and they are fantastically well-written. Shakespeare was a goddamn artist with words, and no rewrite on Earth could possibly do it justice compared to the original.

  18. #278
    Pit Lord tommypilgrim's Avatar
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    Because Shakespeare represents a fundamental development in English literature and the discourse is as relevant as it was four hundred years ago. Of course Shakespeare should not be studied exclusively, however an understanding of Shakespeare provides a vital background to our understanding of modern literature. Being able to contextualise modernism, postmodernism, romanticism by what came before them is incredibly important, and our appreciation of those works would be diminished were we not to have some understanding of Shakespeare.
    Did you like the above post? How about sending me a dollar? I'd have adverts here but apparently that'd break ToS.

  19. #279
    The Lightbringer Vizardlorde's Avatar
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    Although its pretty old I don't consider Shakespeare boring, it can be quite interesting, but i hate reading in general so i only read it while my teachers forced me to. The english he used is too difficult to understand to be considered the same english we speak today so i understand why u call it foreign but he does employ many specific vocabulary words that are considered very sophisticated today. So... hate it or love it all literate english speaking people will be forced to read it at some point

  20. #280
    The Insane Reeve's Avatar
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    I've only read to page 5 so far, so I don't know if anyone else posted this, but I think that passages like the following one help to instill certain values that are valuable to us, and the language gives us a common means for expressing these values:

    That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
    Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
    And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
    We would not die in that man's company
    That fears his fellowship to die with us.
    This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
    He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
    Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
    And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
    He that shall live this day, and see old age,
    Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
    And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
    Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
    And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
    Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
    But he'll remember, with advantages,
    What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
    Familiar in his mouth as household words-
    Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
    Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
    Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
    This story shall the good man teach his son;
    And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
    From this day to the ending of the world,
    But we in it shall be remembered-
    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
    Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
    This day shall gentle his condition;
    And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
    Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
    And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
    That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
    Well 1, 2, 3, take my hand and come with me
    Because you look so fine
    And I really wanna make you mine

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