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William Shakespeare

1356

Posts

  • GreasyKidsStuffGreasyKidsStuff Registered User regular
    My high school Shakespeare experience consisted of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, and finally Hamlet in my senior year. I enjoyed the latter three considerably. And I am just wrapping up, four years later, a university course dedicated specifically to Hamlet and criticism surrounding it. It's been incredibly enlightening and intriguing to read all these different perspectives on the same play. It was a special topics course so I'm glad I took the opportunity before it disappeared.

    http://strngrinastrngland.tumblr.com/ - My Tumblr / http://twitter.com/#!/dirtylonghair - My Twitter / GT: GreasyKidsStuff / NNID: GreasyKidsStuff
  • BobCescaBobCesca Registered User regular
    Guys, did you know that the World Shakespeare Festival starts later this month? Lots of awesome things going on.

    Also, though it is hard to choose, my favourite play is probably The Taming of the Shrew , despite how incredibly misogynistic it is. I think it probably comes down to having seen an amazing RSC production, though the Ian Mckellan/Judi Dench version of Macbeth made me appreciate the play more after I had seen it than studying it in school ever did.

  • moocowmoocow Registered User regular
    In 11th grade, we had brit lit, and for plays, we'd read through in class, with different people doing different parts for each scene or whatever.

    A friend and I would do accents and change our tone befitting the characters, because we dug us some words and gave no fucks. Macbeth was super fun.

    imttnk.png
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    Tybalt: What wouldst thou have with me?

    Mercutio: Good king of cats, nothing but one of your nine lives; that I mean to make bold withal, and as you shall use me hereafter, drybeat the rest of the eight. Will you pluck your sword out of his pitcher by the ears? make haste, lest mine be about your ears ere it be out.

    I think this is my favorite exchange. Like, ever.

    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
  • syndalissyndalis Getting Classy On the WallRegistered User, Loves Apple Products regular
    For all the shit the modern adaptation of Romeo & Juliet gets (lots having to do with people of my generation having a hate-on for DiCaprio in the 90s), it was incredibly faithful to the flavor of Shakespeare. And the flow of the prose, which they did not modernize despite the setting.

    I'll still watch that film if it's on the TV.

  • EddEdd Registered User regular
    Edd wrote: »
    I loathe Romeo and Juliet, it honestly seems to me to be his weakest play. Caesar is by far my favorite, such epic tragedy on display and such great emotion. Midsummer Night's Dream is also fantastic, and I duly love Othello and The Tempest as well.

    What don't you like about it?

    It's the worst romance he ever wrote? Compare Romeo and Juliet to MacBeth and Lady MacBeth, to the King and Queen in Midsummer Night's Dream... It honestly reads to me more like a parody than anything else. The relationship has no real nuance, and is nothing but heavy-handed pablum. It's just plain bad, and that it's held up by so many as his greatest work boggles my mind.

    It's funny that you should say it's almost like parody, because actually, critics make the argument (and I would too) that R&J very deliberately subverts a lot of the romantic tropes of Shakespeare's era - basically all of the hammy ridiculous shit surrounding the courtly lover. Romeo's closest friends are patently tired of his emo shit with his ex girlfriend (who wasn't even his girlfriend, since she refused to give him so much as a first date), but then he instantly gets over her at the sight of this other girl, Juliet, that he's like, so totally in love with this time. His friends comment on the insanity of this.

    This sets up quite a lot of clever irony played out in Juliet. The 14 year old girl is by far one of the most sensible characters in the play. The balcony scene, which at this point is the bush league cliche of all stage drama, is never performed for the kind of humor that's implied in it. You've got Romeo waxing poetic to his not-girlfriend, who keeps reminding him "No, seriously, if they see you, they're going to stab you," to which Romeo replies something like "Oh but they cannot pierce my soul!" "But they have swords!" and so on.

    The tragedy is not so much that this ideal love is not allowed to flourish, but that too few people become aware of their own ignorance far too late, and the lot of them had less sense than the girl no one listens to. Except Mercutio. Mercutio is a boss.

    The main reason I dislike the Baz film is because it retains the aesthetic but glosses over the much more complex love story that is very much in the original text. We've gotten too used to an unproblematic reading of it as being JUST a star-crossed lovers tale in which our hero and heroine are the angelic exceptions to a corrupt society.

    And man should this play be taught to high school kids from a perspective of "here's what happens when you become so incredibly wrapped up in your own whiny bullshit that you can scarcely tell how badly you're alienating your best friends and making emotional decisions patently counter productive to your future since you're not the grown-up you think you are."

  • wanderingwandering Registered User regular
    You know what's great? MST3K Presents: Hamlet. And it will kind of give you an Elizabethan theater experience because in Shakepeare's day audiences were prone to shouting stuff to the actors.

    About Luhrman's Romeo + Juliet: You should know 15 seconds in whether you'll love it or hate it. I'm firmly in the love camp. Actually It might be my second favorite Shakespeare movie adaptation, after Taymor's Titus.

    jBEKRTH.png
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    Where is the love for comedy? I love A Comedy of Errors, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and I even love The Taming of the Shrew.
    I did but tell her she mistook her frets,
    And bow'd her hand to teach her fingering;
    When, with a most impatient devilish spirit,
    'Frets, call you these?' quoth she; 'I'll fume
    with them:'
    And, with that word, she struck me on the head,
    And through the instrument my pate made way;
    And there I stood amazed for a while,
    As on a pillory, looking through the lute;
    While she did call me rascal fiddler
    And twangling Jack; with twenty such vile terms,
    As had she studied to misuse me so.

  • SummaryJudgmentSummaryJudgment Meeseeks were not born into this world fumbling for meaning, Jerry! Registered User regular
    Haven't seen it yet in this thread, so I'm going to go ahead and plug the film remake of Hamlet with Ethan Hawke as Hamlet, and Bill Murray as Polonius. I know I should hate it, but I love it.

  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    Where is the love for comedy? I love A Comedy of Errors, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and I even love The Taming of the Shrew.
    I did but tell her she mistook her frets,
    And bow'd her hand to teach her fingering;
    When, with a most impatient devilish spirit,
    'Frets, call you these?' quoth she; 'I'll fume
    with them:'
    And, with that word, she struck me on the head,
    And through the instrument my pate made way;
    And there I stood amazed for a while,
    As on a pillory, looking through the lute;
    While she did call me rascal fiddler
    And twangling Jack; with twenty such vile terms,
    As had she studied to misuse me so.

    The Taming of the Shrew seriously?

    That whole thing is just incredibly fucked up.

  • belligerentbelligerent Registered User regular
    Edd wrote: »
    I detest those Shakespeare Made Easy and No Fear Shakespeare things. I read the Richard III one at B&N one day and wanted to punch a baby seal.

    I used to feel that way, but I think they have their place. I've got some limited experience teaching Shakespeare, and I've found that it's helpful for many students to just get the bare bones of the plot out of the way in order to facilitate better discussion and better work. I think about 9/10ths of the frustration with Shakespeare really is just people thinking they need to "get it" all at once, and that's an understandable impulse. Even as a grad student, I've used Sparknotes just be to certain I haven't missed some detail, buried deep, that might later be important.

    In the Renaissance, it was absolutely not assumed that the majority of the audience would be picking up on every single beat - but that was also a time of incredibly rapid change for the English language, and playwrights reveled in lingual one-upsmanship. In the audience, to have to use your imagination and piece your way through was not an unusual thing. Compared to the early 17th century, we've gotten used to a hell of a lot more stability, and so to allow and even encourage that kind of supplementary material isn't necessarily so much a concession to lazier students as it is a mercy for readers who simply aren't trained to approach language in quite the same way Shakespeare's audience was. This is to say nothing of the enormous difference between reading a play and hearing a play.

    Once you're past the business of fretting over the basic issue of plot comprehension, I think you can feel a bit freer to focus on the nuts and bolts of the language and appreciate what it attempts to do. Which in turn is a nice bit of positive reinforcement for a reader who will feel more empowered not to use the training wheels next time.

    For me, this times a million.

    I mean, there's making sure people understand the play and then there's hand holding. Half the point of Shakespeare is the language, compare
    RICHARD
    Now is the winter of our discontent
    Made glorious summer by this son of York,
    And all the clouds that loured upon our house
    In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
    Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths,
    Our bruisèd arms hung up for monuments,
    Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
    Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
    Grim-visaged war hath smoothed his wrinkled front;
    And now, instead of mounting barbèd steeds
    To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
    He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
    To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.

    To
    Some Jerk wrote:
    RICHARD
    Now all of my family’s troubles have come to a glorious end, thanks to my brother, King Edward IV. All the clouds that threatened the York family have vanished and turned to sunshine. Now we wear the wreaths of victory on our heads. We’ve taken off our armor and weapons and hung them up as decorations. Instead of hearing trumpets call us to battle, we dance at parties. We get to wear easy smiles on our faces rather than the grim expressions of war. Instead of charging toward our enemies on armored horses, we dance for our ladies in their chambers, accompanied by sexy songs on the lute.

    To me, that second one is a travesty.

    The second part is only a travesty if you think teaching is a travesty. Having taught shakespeare to a generation of children who have never seen a play, nor read a book that wasn't required of them, they just don't understand the language. So you teach them the nuances (which won't help most of them on standardized testing because they're not paying attention), And a side by side "translation" is helpful for certain kinds of learners (i.e. visual ones).

    Sure it's a "travesty" on it's own, but it doesn't do anything that a teacher doesn't do when explaining the language.

    or are teenagers supposed to just get everything? Side by side is infinitely better than footnote books, anyways.

  • GreeperGreeper Registered User regular
    Two Gentlemen of Verona is so bad, maybe his worst.

    No, no, wait, that's Titus Andronicus.

    lolol_zps7df95a14.png
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad. The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Edd wrote: »
    I detest those Shakespeare Made Easy and No Fear Shakespeare things. I read the Richard III one at B&N one day and wanted to punch a baby seal.

    I used to feel that way, but I think they have their place. I've got some limited experience teaching Shakespeare, and I've found that it's helpful for many students to just get the bare bones of the plot out of the way in order to facilitate better discussion and better work. I think about 9/10ths of the frustration with Shakespeare really is just people thinking they need to "get it" all at once, and that's an understandable impulse. Even as a grad student, I've used Sparknotes just be to certain I haven't missed some detail, buried deep, that might later be important.

    In the Renaissance, it was absolutely not assumed that the majority of the audience would be picking up on every single beat - but that was also a time of incredibly rapid change for the English language, and playwrights reveled in lingual one-upsmanship. In the audience, to have to use your imagination and piece your way through was not an unusual thing. Compared to the early 17th century, we've gotten used to a hell of a lot more stability, and so to allow and even encourage that kind of supplementary material isn't necessarily so much a concession to lazier students as it is a mercy for readers who simply aren't trained to approach language in quite the same way Shakespeare's audience was. This is to say nothing of the enormous difference between reading a play and hearing a play.

    Once you're past the business of fretting over the basic issue of plot comprehension, I think you can feel a bit freer to focus on the nuts and bolts of the language and appreciate what it attempts to do. Which in turn is a nice bit of positive reinforcement for a reader who will feel more empowered not to use the training wheels next time.

    For me, this times a million.

    I mean, there's making sure people understand the play and then there's hand holding. Half the point of Shakespeare is the language, compare
    RICHARD
    Now is the winter of our discontent
    Made glorious summer by this son of York,
    And all the clouds that loured upon our house
    In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
    Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths,
    Our bruisèd arms hung up for monuments,
    Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
    Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
    Grim-visaged war hath smoothed his wrinkled front;
    And now, instead of mounting barbèd steeds
    To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
    He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
    To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.

    To
    Some Jerk wrote:
    RICHARD
    Now all of my family’s troubles have come to a glorious end, thanks to my brother, King Edward IV. All the clouds that threatened the York family have vanished and turned to sunshine. Now we wear the wreaths of victory on our heads. We’ve taken off our armor and weapons and hung them up as decorations. Instead of hearing trumpets call us to battle, we dance at parties. We get to wear easy smiles on our faces rather than the grim expressions of war. Instead of charging toward our enemies on armored horses, we dance for our ladies in their chambers, accompanied by sexy songs on the lute.

    To me, that second one is a travesty.

    The second part is only a travesty if you think teaching is a travesty. Having taught shakespeare to a generation of children who have never seen a play, nor read a book that wasn't required of them, they just don't understand the language. So you teach them the nuances (which won't help most of them on standardized testing because they're not paying attention), And a side by side "translation" is helpful for certain kinds of learners (i.e. visual ones).

    Sure it's a "travesty" on it's own, but it doesn't do anything that a teacher doesn't do when explaining the language.

    or are teenagers supposed to just get everything? Side by side is infinitely better than footnote books, anyways.

    I reject the premise that kids can't learn from Shakespeare's language.

    You send the kids out to read the play and then in class maybe you use this kind of thing. But allowing kids to just read the cut down versions as if that's good isn't something I'm willing to entertain. But kids should make the effort to read the text, class time can be used for clarification.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • EddEdd Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Edd wrote: »
    I detest those Shakespeare Made Easy and No Fear Shakespeare things. I read the Richard III one at B&N one day and wanted to punch a baby seal.

    I used to feel that way, but I think they have their place. I've got some limited experience teaching Shakespeare, and I've found that it's helpful for many students to just get the bare bones of the plot out of the way in order to facilitate better discussion and better work. I think about 9/10ths of the frustration with Shakespeare really is just people thinking they need to "get it" all at once, and that's an understandable impulse. Even as a grad student, I've used Sparknotes just be to certain I haven't missed some detail, buried deep, that might later be important.

    In the Renaissance, it was absolutely not assumed that the majority of the audience would be picking up on every single beat - but that was also a time of incredibly rapid change for the English language, and playwrights reveled in lingual one-upsmanship. In the audience, to have to use your imagination and piece your way through was not an unusual thing. Compared to the early 17th century, we've gotten used to a hell of a lot more stability, and so to allow and even encourage that kind of supplementary material isn't necessarily so much a concession to lazier students as it is a mercy for readers who simply aren't trained to approach language in quite the same way Shakespeare's audience was. This is to say nothing of the enormous difference between reading a play and hearing a play.

    Once you're past the business of fretting over the basic issue of plot comprehension, I think you can feel a bit freer to focus on the nuts and bolts of the language and appreciate what it attempts to do. Which in turn is a nice bit of positive reinforcement for a reader who will feel more empowered not to use the training wheels next time.

    For me, this times a million.

    I mean, there's making sure people understand the play and then there's hand holding. Half the point of Shakespeare is the language, compare
    RICHARD
    Now is the winter of our discontent
    Made glorious summer by this son of York,
    And all the clouds that loured upon our house
    In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
    Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths,
    Our bruisèd arms hung up for monuments,
    Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
    Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
    Grim-visaged war hath smoothed his wrinkled front;
    And now, instead of mounting barbèd steeds
    To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
    He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
    To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.

    To
    Some Jerk wrote:
    RICHARD
    Now all of my family’s troubles have come to a glorious end, thanks to my brother, King Edward IV. All the clouds that threatened the York family have vanished and turned to sunshine. Now we wear the wreaths of victory on our heads. We’ve taken off our armor and weapons and hung them up as decorations. Instead of hearing trumpets call us to battle, we dance at parties. We get to wear easy smiles on our faces rather than the grim expressions of war. Instead of charging toward our enemies on armored horses, we dance for our ladies in their chambers, accompanied by sexy songs on the lute.

    To me, that second one is a travesty.

    The second part is only a travesty if you think teaching is a travesty. Having taught shakespeare to a generation of children who have never seen a play, nor read a book that wasn't required of them, they just don't understand the language. So you teach them the nuances (which won't help most of them on standardized testing because they're not paying attention), And a side by side "translation" is helpful for certain kinds of learners (i.e. visual ones).

    Sure it's a "travesty" on it's own, but it doesn't do anything that a teacher doesn't do when explaining the language.

    or are teenagers supposed to just get everything? Side by side is infinitely better than footnote books, anyways.

    I reject the premise that kids can't learn from Shakespeare's language.

    You send the kids out to read the play and then in class maybe you use this kind of thing. But allowing kids to just read the cut down versions as if that's good isn't something I'm willing to entertain. But kids should make the effort to read the text, class time can be used for clarification.

    This really depends on what your class is going to look like, I suppose. I doubt anybody is going to argue that the sparknotes version is an equivalent experience, but it definitely serves a function as a supplement to (not a replacement for) the original text.

    And in most classrooms, I'm betting the kids who didn't get it (and surely many will get it) either A) gave up and read Sparknotes instead, and so have no clarifying questions or B) are so lost by the text that they don't want to out themselves for fear of being the dumb one who can't understand this BIG Important Text. The No Fear type stuff can be one way to mediate those outcomes.

    The other thing to consider is that, lame as they might be, those No Fear texts are a kind of adaptation, and adaptations of Shakespeare are hardly a thing to shy away from. Modern adaptations often drop the original script in favor of something that attempts to engage with / modify the original themes in a way that might be more relevant or unique in a new context. It's not quite the same thing, but those adaptations can speak the original text not unlike the way that a modern English version can: it represents specific editorial / artistic interpretations of Shakespeare. All summary, after all, is a form of interpretation.

    Just typing this I'm imagining what the coursework for a unit on "No Fear Shakespeare as Adaptation" might look like.

    Edd on
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    Where is the love for comedy? I love A Comedy of Errors, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and I even love The Taming of the Shrew.
    I did but tell her she mistook her frets,
    And bow'd her hand to teach her fingering;
    When, with a most impatient devilish spirit,
    'Frets, call you these?' quoth she; 'I'll fume
    with them:'
    And, with that word, she struck me on the head,
    And through the instrument my pate made way;
    And there I stood amazed for a while,
    As on a pillory, looking through the lute;
    While she did call me rascal fiddler
    And twangling Jack; with twenty such vile terms,
    As had she studied to misuse me so.

    The Taming of the Shrew seriously?

    That whole thing is just incredibly fucked up.

    It is hilarious! Jaw-droppingly, holy-crap-did-I-just-read-that funny.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad. The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Edd wrote: »
    Edd wrote: »
    I detest those Shakespeare Made Easy and No Fear Shakespeare things. I read the Richard III one at B&N one day and wanted to punch a baby seal.

    I used to feel that way, but I think they have their place. I've got some limited experience teaching Shakespeare, and I've found that it's helpful for many students to just get the bare bones of the plot out of the way in order to facilitate better discussion and better work. I think about 9/10ths of the frustration with Shakespeare really is just people thinking they need to "get it" all at once, and that's an understandable impulse. Even as a grad student, I've used Sparknotes just be to certain I haven't missed some detail, buried deep, that might later be important.

    In the Renaissance, it was absolutely not assumed that the majority of the audience would be picking up on every single beat - but that was also a time of incredibly rapid change for the English language, and playwrights reveled in lingual one-upsmanship. In the audience, to have to use your imagination and piece your way through was not an unusual thing. Compared to the early 17th century, we've gotten used to a hell of a lot more stability, and so to allow and even encourage that kind of supplementary material isn't necessarily so much a concession to lazier students as it is a mercy for readers who simply aren't trained to approach language in quite the same way Shakespeare's audience was. This is to say nothing of the enormous difference between reading a play and hearing a play.

    Once you're past the business of fretting over the basic issue of plot comprehension, I think you can feel a bit freer to focus on the nuts and bolts of the language and appreciate what it attempts to do. Which in turn is a nice bit of positive reinforcement for a reader who will feel more empowered not to use the training wheels next time.

    For me, this times a million.

    I mean, there's making sure people understand the play and then there's hand holding. Half the point of Shakespeare is the language, compare
    RICHARD
    Now is the winter of our discontent
    Made glorious summer by this son of York,
    And all the clouds that loured upon our house
    In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
    Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths,
    Our bruisèd arms hung up for monuments,
    Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
    Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
    Grim-visaged war hath smoothed his wrinkled front;
    And now, instead of mounting barbèd steeds
    To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
    He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
    To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.

    To
    Some Jerk wrote:
    RICHARD
    Now all of my family’s troubles have come to a glorious end, thanks to my brother, King Edward IV. All the clouds that threatened the York family have vanished and turned to sunshine. Now we wear the wreaths of victory on our heads. We’ve taken off our armor and weapons and hung them up as decorations. Instead of hearing trumpets call us to battle, we dance at parties. We get to wear easy smiles on our faces rather than the grim expressions of war. Instead of charging toward our enemies on armored horses, we dance for our ladies in their chambers, accompanied by sexy songs on the lute.

    To me, that second one is a travesty.

    The second part is only a travesty if you think teaching is a travesty. Having taught shakespeare to a generation of children who have never seen a play, nor read a book that wasn't required of them, they just don't understand the language. So you teach them the nuances (which won't help most of them on standardized testing because they're not paying attention), And a side by side "translation" is helpful for certain kinds of learners (i.e. visual ones).

    Sure it's a "travesty" on it's own, but it doesn't do anything that a teacher doesn't do when explaining the language.

    or are teenagers supposed to just get everything? Side by side is infinitely better than footnote books, anyways.

    I reject the premise that kids can't learn from Shakespeare's language.

    You send the kids out to read the play and then in class maybe you use this kind of thing. But allowing kids to just read the cut down versions as if that's good isn't something I'm willing to entertain. But kids should make the effort to read the text, class time can be used for clarification.

    This really depends on what your class is going to look like, I suppose. I doubt anybody is going to argue that the sparknotes version is an equivalent experience, but it definitely serves a function as a supplement to (not a replacement for) the original text.

    And in most classrooms, I'm betting the kids who didn't get it (and surely many will get it) either A) gave up and read Sparknotes instead, and so have no clarifying questions or B) are so lost by the text that they don't want to out themselves for fear of being the dumb one who can't understand this BIG Important Text. The No Fear type stuff can be one way to mediate those outcomes.

    The other thing to consider is that, lame as they might be, those No Fear texts are a kind of adaptation, and adaptations of Shakespeare are hardly a thing to shy away from. Modern adaptations often drop the original script in favor of something that attempts to engage with / modify the original themes in a way that might be more relevant or unique in a new context. It's not quite the same thing, but those adaptations can speak the original text not unlike the way that a modern English version can: it represents specific editorial / artistic interpretations of Shakespeare. All summary, after all, is a form of interpretation.

    Just typing this I'm imagining what the coursework for a unit on "No Fear Shakespeare as Adaptation" might look like.

    I was with you until you got to the adaptation thing.

    Please don't teach that course, it will not do good things for literature.

    If they're used as a supplement, I suppose I understand the drive. It is important for students to understand the plot and such, but I would be highly skeptical of any teacher you assigned the no fear versions.

    My problem with the No Fear versions is that they don't leave anything up for interpretation it is all AND THIS IS WHAT THIS MEANS, which rather misses the point of reading.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • EddEdd Registered User regular
    Edd wrote: »
    Edd wrote: »
    I detest those Shakespeare Made Easy and No Fear Shakespeare things. I read the Richard III one at B&N one day and wanted to punch a baby seal.

    I used to feel that way, but I think they have their place. I've got some limited experience teaching Shakespeare, and I've found that it's helpful for many students to just get the bare bones of the plot out of the way in order to facilitate better discussion and better work. I think about 9/10ths of the frustration with Shakespeare really is just people thinking they need to "get it" all at once, and that's an understandable impulse. Even as a grad student, I've used Sparknotes just be to certain I haven't missed some detail, buried deep, that might later be important.

    In the Renaissance, it was absolutely not assumed that the majority of the audience would be picking up on every single beat - but that was also a time of incredibly rapid change for the English language, and playwrights reveled in lingual one-upsmanship. In the audience, to have to use your imagination and piece your way through was not an unusual thing. Compared to the early 17th century, we've gotten used to a hell of a lot more stability, and so to allow and even encourage that kind of supplementary material isn't necessarily so much a concession to lazier students as it is a mercy for readers who simply aren't trained to approach language in quite the same way Shakespeare's audience was. This is to say nothing of the enormous difference between reading a play and hearing a play.

    Once you're past the business of fretting over the basic issue of plot comprehension, I think you can feel a bit freer to focus on the nuts and bolts of the language and appreciate what it attempts to do. Which in turn is a nice bit of positive reinforcement for a reader who will feel more empowered not to use the training wheels next time.

    For me, this times a million.

    I mean, there's making sure people understand the play and then there's hand holding. Half the point of Shakespeare is the language, compare
    RICHARD
    Now is the winter of our discontent
    Made glorious summer by this son of York,
    And all the clouds that loured upon our house
    In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
    Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths,
    Our bruisèd arms hung up for monuments,
    Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
    Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
    Grim-visaged war hath smoothed his wrinkled front;
    And now, instead of mounting barbèd steeds
    To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
    He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
    To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.

    To
    Some Jerk wrote:
    RICHARD
    Now all of my family’s troubles have come to a glorious end, thanks to my brother, King Edward IV. All the clouds that threatened the York family have vanished and turned to sunshine. Now we wear the wreaths of victory on our heads. We’ve taken off our armor and weapons and hung them up as decorations. Instead of hearing trumpets call us to battle, we dance at parties. We get to wear easy smiles on our faces rather than the grim expressions of war. Instead of charging toward our enemies on armored horses, we dance for our ladies in their chambers, accompanied by sexy songs on the lute.

    To me, that second one is a travesty.

    The second part is only a travesty if you think teaching is a travesty. Having taught shakespeare to a generation of children who have never seen a play, nor read a book that wasn't required of them, they just don't understand the language. So you teach them the nuances (which won't help most of them on standardized testing because they're not paying attention), And a side by side "translation" is helpful for certain kinds of learners (i.e. visual ones).

    Sure it's a "travesty" on it's own, but it doesn't do anything that a teacher doesn't do when explaining the language.

    or are teenagers supposed to just get everything? Side by side is infinitely better than footnote books, anyways.

    I reject the premise that kids can't learn from Shakespeare's language.

    You send the kids out to read the play and then in class maybe you use this kind of thing. But allowing kids to just read the cut down versions as if that's good isn't something I'm willing to entertain. But kids should make the effort to read the text, class time can be used for clarification.

    This really depends on what your class is going to look like, I suppose. I doubt anybody is going to argue that the sparknotes version is an equivalent experience, but it definitely serves a function as a supplement to (not a replacement for) the original text.

    And in most classrooms, I'm betting the kids who didn't get it (and surely many will get it) either A) gave up and read Sparknotes instead, and so have no clarifying questions or B) are so lost by the text that they don't want to out themselves for fear of being the dumb one who can't understand this BIG Important Text. The No Fear type stuff can be one way to mediate those outcomes.

    The other thing to consider is that, lame as they might be, those No Fear texts are a kind of adaptation, and adaptations of Shakespeare are hardly a thing to shy away from. Modern adaptations often drop the original script in favor of something that attempts to engage with / modify the original themes in a way that might be more relevant or unique in a new context. It's not quite the same thing, but those adaptations can speak the original text not unlike the way that a modern English version can: it represents specific editorial / artistic interpretations of Shakespeare. All summary, after all, is a form of interpretation.

    Just typing this I'm imagining what the coursework for a unit on "No Fear Shakespeare as Adaptation" might look like.

    I was with you until you got to the adaptation thing.

    Please don't teach that course, it will not do good things for literature.

    If they're used as a supplement, I suppose I understand the drive. It is important for students to understand the plot and such, but I would be highly skeptical of any teacher you assigned the no fear versions.

    My problem with the No Fear versions is that they don't leave anything up for interpretation it is all AND THIS IS WHAT THIS MEANS, which rather misses the point of reading.

    Then you're with me on my practical attitude to what they can do as an everyday resource. They're training wheels and should be discarded as such.

    But! To go back to the adaptation point, this last bit is what's so great about it! When you teach adaptation, you show a continuum of texts that are all in discourse with one another - they're making choices about what's important and what isn't, and how to communicate that. No Fear positions itself as being Truth: highly literal representations of what Shakespeare Means, For Real. But, in insisting on all the rigid stability, they're responding to and changing the original text by making those same sorts of decisions. I haven't looked at much No Fear Shakspeare, but I bet you could get some really productive thought out of a class of students (upper level ones anyway) who are reading against those texts and examining the interpretive consequences for their streamlining of Shakespeare. Ironically, that line of thought pretty much demands much greater scrutiny on the original text rather than the No Fear text.

  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    I have to say, I don't think that would be productive thought at all...

  • belligerentbelligerent Registered User regular
    Edd wrote: »
    I detest those Shakespeare Made Easy and No Fear Shakespeare things. I read the Richard III one at B&N one day and wanted to punch a baby seal.

    I used to feel that way, but I think they have their place. I've got some limited experience teaching Shakespeare, and I've found that it's helpful for many students to just get the bare bones of the plot out of the way in order to facilitate better discussion and better work. I think about 9/10ths of the frustration with Shakespeare really is just people thinking they need to "get it" all at once, and that's an understandable impulse. Even as a grad student, I've used Sparknotes just be to certain I haven't missed some detail, buried deep, that might later be important.

    In the Renaissance, it was absolutely not assumed that the majority of the audience would be picking up on every single beat - but that was also a time of incredibly rapid change for the English language, and playwrights reveled in lingual one-upsmanship. In the audience, to have to use your imagination and piece your way through was not an unusual thing. Compared to the early 17th century, we've gotten used to a hell of a lot more stability, and so to allow and even encourage that kind of supplementary material isn't necessarily so much a concession to lazier students as it is a mercy for readers who simply aren't trained to approach language in quite the same way Shakespeare's audience was. This is to say nothing of the enormous difference between reading a play and hearing a play.

    Once you're past the business of fretting over the basic issue of plot comprehension, I think you can feel a bit freer to focus on the nuts and bolts of the language and appreciate what it attempts to do. Which in turn is a nice bit of positive reinforcement for a reader who will feel more empowered not to use the training wheels next time.

    For me, this times a million.

    I mean, there's making sure people understand the play and then there's hand holding. Half the point of Shakespeare is the language, compare
    RICHARD
    Now is the winter of our discontent
    Made glorious summer by this son of York,
    And all the clouds that loured upon our house
    In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
    Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths,
    Our bruisèd arms hung up for monuments,
    Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
    Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
    Grim-visaged war hath smoothed his wrinkled front;
    And now, instead of mounting barbèd steeds
    To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
    He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
    To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.

    To
    Some Jerk wrote:
    RICHARD
    Now all of my family’s troubles have come to a glorious end, thanks to my brother, King Edward IV. All the clouds that threatened the York family have vanished and turned to sunshine. Now we wear the wreaths of victory on our heads. We’ve taken off our armor and weapons and hung them up as decorations. Instead of hearing trumpets call us to battle, we dance at parties. We get to wear easy smiles on our faces rather than the grim expressions of war. Instead of charging toward our enemies on armored horses, we dance for our ladies in their chambers, accompanied by sexy songs on the lute.

    To me, that second one is a travesty.

    The second part is only a travesty if you think teaching is a travesty. Having taught shakespeare to a generation of children who have never seen a play, nor read a book that wasn't required of them, they just don't understand the language. So you teach them the nuances (which won't help most of them on standardized testing because they're not paying attention), And a side by side "translation" is helpful for certain kinds of learners (i.e. visual ones).

    Sure it's a "travesty" on it's own, but it doesn't do anything that a teacher doesn't do when explaining the language.

    or are teenagers supposed to just get everything? Side by side is infinitely better than footnote books, anyways.

    I reject the premise that kids can't learn from Shakespeare's language.

    You send the kids out to read the play and then in class maybe you use this kind of thing. But allowing kids to just read the cut down versions as if that's good isn't something I'm willing to entertain. But kids should make the effort to read the text, class time can be used for clarification.

    Have you ever taught in a public school? If so, what was the economic situation of the surrounding neighborhood?

    How's a kid supposed to read Shakespeare without assistance when they don't have the time (the school I taught at had low attendance rates for after-school help because 65% of the student body over 16 had employment)? Parents who can't attend P-T conference night due to working two jobs?

    Again, the "kids reading it outside of class" is the idea that they're just supposed to get Shakespeare. I know you did. I did, too. That's not how the majority of public education works, and I'm not really trying to turn this into an argument about public education, but it's kind of funny that we say that everyone should read Shakespeare even though it can be so far removed from the lives of certain populations of students. Take the "son of York" line. Are the kids supposed to just know who that is?

    I'm not saying there are kids out there that "can't" learn from the language. I'm also not advocating for complete separation of the different texts. But your ignorance is showing if you think all kids can read outside of class, let alone read Shakespeare without direction by themselves. I'm not even talking about lazy students, I'm talking about 9th graders who can't read at an acceptable level because very few--if any--schools hold back students at "middle school levels."

    Case in point, my very first 9th grade english class had 36 students. At the end it of that year, it had 20. We spent 3 months learning to read Of Mice and Men. Then we went to R&J. Every single student referenced the movie. Ignoring different teaching techniques is elitist goosery that ignores how differently people can learn.

    The real battle is all about engagement. Shakespeare is gripping, engaging shit, if it's approached in the "right" way, being whichever way works. I would have fucking rapped Othello's scenes if it would have engaged a student more than I had. Hell, "O" was one of the best modern adaptations I've seen in recent memory.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad. The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    I don't think you can equate No Fear Shakespeare and O. Those are very different. One is a thoughful adaptation and another is a good way to cheat through getting work done.

    I've not personally taught public education, no, I'm not even out of grad school yet, but I did go through public education in a really poor really rural part of the world. I understand the problems your facing and I don't want to sound like I'm shitting all over teachers, because that's the last thing I want to do but I don't really like the idea that we should lower our expectations completely (which I'm sure you're not doing, just to be clear).

    I can see how they might be useful as a supplement in class or as a study aid for students on their own time, but I wouldn't accept them as an actually replacement for the texts.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    Edd wrote: »
    I detest those Shakespeare Made Easy and No Fear Shakespeare things. I read the Richard III one at B&N one day and wanted to punch a baby seal.

    I used to feel that way, but I think they have their place. I've got some limited experience teaching Shakespeare, and I've found that it's helpful for many students to just get the bare bones of the plot out of the way in order to facilitate better discussion and better work. I think about 9/10ths of the frustration with Shakespeare really is just people thinking they need to "get it" all at once, and that's an understandable impulse. Even as a grad student, I've used Sparknotes just be to certain I haven't missed some detail, buried deep, that might later be important.

    In the Renaissance, it was absolutely not assumed that the majority of the audience would be picking up on every single beat - but that was also a time of incredibly rapid change for the English language, and playwrights reveled in lingual one-upsmanship. In the audience, to have to use your imagination and piece your way through was not an unusual thing. Compared to the early 17th century, we've gotten used to a hell of a lot more stability, and so to allow and even encourage that kind of supplementary material isn't necessarily so much a concession to lazier students as it is a mercy for readers who simply aren't trained to approach language in quite the same way Shakespeare's audience was. This is to say nothing of the enormous difference between reading a play and hearing a play.

    Once you're past the business of fretting over the basic issue of plot comprehension, I think you can feel a bit freer to focus on the nuts and bolts of the language and appreciate what it attempts to do. Which in turn is a nice bit of positive reinforcement for a reader who will feel more empowered not to use the training wheels next time.

    For me, this times a million.

    I mean, there's making sure people understand the play and then there's hand holding. Half the point of Shakespeare is the language, compare
    RICHARD
    Now is the winter of our discontent
    Made glorious summer by this son of York,
    And all the clouds that loured upon our house
    In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
    Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths,
    Our bruisèd arms hung up for monuments,
    Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
    Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
    Grim-visaged war hath smoothed his wrinkled front;
    And now, instead of mounting barbèd steeds
    To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
    He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
    To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.

    To
    Some Jerk wrote:
    RICHARD
    Now all of my family’s troubles have come to a glorious end, thanks to my brother, King Edward IV. All the clouds that threatened the York family have vanished and turned to sunshine. Now we wear the wreaths of victory on our heads. We’ve taken off our armor and weapons and hung them up as decorations. Instead of hearing trumpets call us to battle, we dance at parties. We get to wear easy smiles on our faces rather than the grim expressions of war. Instead of charging toward our enemies on armored horses, we dance for our ladies in their chambers, accompanied by sexy songs on the lute.

    To me, that second one is a travesty.

    The second part is only a travesty if you think teaching is a travesty. Having taught shakespeare to a generation of children who have never seen a play, nor read a book that wasn't required of them, they just don't understand the language. So you teach them the nuances (which won't help most of them on standardized testing because they're not paying attention), And a side by side "translation" is helpful for certain kinds of learners (i.e. visual ones).

    Sure it's a "travesty" on it's own, but it doesn't do anything that a teacher doesn't do when explaining the language.

    or are teenagers supposed to just get everything? Side by side is infinitely better than footnote books, anyways.

    I reject the premise that kids can't learn from Shakespeare's language.

    You send the kids out to read the play and then in class maybe you use this kind of thing. But allowing kids to just read the cut down versions as if that's good isn't something I'm willing to entertain. But kids should make the effort to read the text, class time can be used for clarification.

    It is incomprehensible to me that you would expect someone, in 9th grade, to read MacBeth and not miss out on the vast majority of meaning and nuance. Kids who don't have these training wheels are going to look at the text, not get it, and get bored and decide that Shakespeare is balls. It is literally the best way to kill someone's interest in Shakespeare.

    Ideally an education in Shakespeare would go like this: first the kids read a play with the annotations, then the kids read a different play without them. They'll already be introduced to the language and how to decipher the bits they don't understand, but now they have no choice but to read the original words.

    mjoa2p.jpg
  • belligerentbelligerent Registered User regular
    And really, the question has to be, why teach Shakespeare at all (note, i do not teach anymore for a variety of reasons, but content vs. testing was the big one)?

    You teach Shakespeare to show how powerful themes can be, how invasive they are in popular culture and how great examples of human truths these plays from over 400 years ago were. Yes, "learning the language" is a good part of that, but it's not like Shakespeare is given the time he needs, anyways. Look at college, you can take courses that are just on some of his plays for 6 months, 2-4 hours a week. Instead you get 45 minutes from a captive and often unwilling audience. I think the fight is definitely worth it, but you have to pick your battles. Also, I taught from the footnote versions of the books, which is way more distracting than the side by side versions released later.

    There are many things I would do to change current education, but offering a shakespeare in the modern world course to young people would probably be at the top of that list. No, Not R&J, though if that helps, so be it. The problem ends up being, the actual books we use as canon are so violent that we can't show those movies because lolzthe children.

  • EddEdd Registered User regular
    And really, the question has to be, why teach Shakespeare at all (note, i do not teach anymore for a variety of reasons, but content vs. testing was the big one)?

    You teach Shakespeare to show how powerful themes can be, how invasive they are in popular culture and how great examples of human truths these plays from over 400 years ago were. Yes, "learning the language" is a good part of that, but it's not like Shakespeare is given the time he needs, anyways. Look at college, you can take courses that are just on some of his plays for 6 months, 2-4 hours a week. Instead you get 45 minutes from a captive and often unwilling audience. I think the fight is definitely worth it, but you have to pick your battles. Also, I taught from the footnote versions of the books, which is way more distracting than the side by side versions released later.

    There are many things I would do to change current education, but offering a shakespeare in the modern world course to young people would probably be at the top of that list. No, Not R&J, though if that helps, so be it. The problem ends up being, the actual books we use as canon are so violent that we can't show those movies because lolzthe children.

    Agreed, though this really does have everything to do with the public school / college divide. I know professors who would froth involuntarily at the notion that Shakespeare teaches "human truths," so their battles are very different, but in a public school context, starting a conversation that demands students evaluate their own believes based on those Big Human Ideas has a real value very much apart from understanding Shakespeare's use of the functional shift.

  • belligerentbelligerent Registered User regular
    Just imo now, but I really feel you need a base of education before you can rebel against it. I'd much rather teach our children a version of history, or a version of English, and then give them opposing views than let them wander all over with no touchstone.

    Just like writing, you have to learn the rules before you can break them in a way that has value. Rebellion through comprehension is the only rebellion I value.

    So no, little imaginary Johnny, don't tell me shakespeare sucks, or that you don't get it. Tell me why it sucks--read it first--then complain.

    One of my worst students ever got away with this. I punished his ego by making him do a reference paper explaining in great detail why Lord of the Flies sucked, but it got an A because it was better than average and did everything I asked him to do with it.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad. The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Just imo now, but I really feel you need a base of education before you can rebel against it. I'd much rather teach our children a version of history, or a version of English, and then give them opposing views than let them wander all over with no touchstone.

    Just like writing, you have to learn the rules before you can break them in a way that has value. Rebellion through comprehension is the only rebellion I value.

    So no, little imaginary Johnny, don't tell me shakespeare sucks, or that you don't get it. Tell me why it sucks--read it first--then complain.

    One of my worst students ever got away with this. I punished his ego by making him do a reference paper explaining in great detail why Lord of the Flies sucked, but it got an A because it was better than average and did everything I asked him to do with it.

    :^:

    All my best teachers have had this kind of attitude. If I ever become a teacher (its one of the things I'm considering) I hope to have this attitude.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • valhalla130valhalla130 Od's blood Sailing a longshipRegistered User regular
    Edd wrote: »
    Edd wrote: »
    I loathe Romeo and Juliet, it honestly seems to me to be his weakest play. Caesar is by far my favorite, such epic tragedy on display and such great emotion. Midsummer Night's Dream is also fantastic, and I duly love Othello and The Tempest as well.

    What don't you like about it?

    It's the worst romance he ever wrote? Compare Romeo and Juliet to MacBeth and Lady MacBeth, to the King and Queen in Midsummer Night's Dream... It honestly reads to me more like a parody than anything else. The relationship has no real nuance, and is nothing but heavy-handed pablum. It's just plain bad, and that it's held up by so many as his greatest work boggles my mind.

    It's funny that you should say it's almost like parody, because actually, critics make the argument (and I would too) that R&J very deliberately subverts a lot of the romantic tropes of Shakespeare's era - basically all of the hammy ridiculous shit surrounding the courtly lover. Romeo's closest friends are patently tired of his emo shit with his ex girlfriend (who wasn't even his girlfriend, since she refused to give him so much as a first date), but then he instantly gets over her at the sight of this other girl, Juliet, that he's like, so totally in love with this time. His friends comment on the insanity of this.

    This sets up quite a lot of clever irony played out in Juliet. The 14 year old girl is by far one of the most sensible characters in the play. The balcony scene, which at this point is the bush league cliche of all stage drama, is never performed for the kind of humor that's implied in it. You've got Romeo waxing poetic to his not-girlfriend, who keeps reminding him "No, seriously, if they see you, they're going to stab you," to which Romeo replies something like "Oh but they cannot pierce my soul!" "But they have swords!" and so on.

    The tragedy is not so much that this ideal love is not allowed to flourish, but that too few people become aware of their own ignorance far too late, and the lot of them had less sense than the girl no one listens to. Except Mercutio. Mercutio is a boss.

    The main reason I dislike the Baz film is because it retains the aesthetic but glosses over the much more complex love story that is very much in the original text. We've gotten too used to an unproblematic reading of it as being JUST a star-crossed lovers tale in which our hero and heroine are the angelic exceptions to a corrupt society.

    And man should this play be taught to high school kids from a perspective of "here's what happens when you become so incredibly wrapped up in your own whiny bullshit that you can scarcely tell how badly you're alienating your best friends and making emotional decisions patently counter productive to your future since you're not the grown-up you think you are."

    This. So much this. But in regards to Hamlet even more so. That's the whole play. I love Hamlet, but that character spends the entire play trying to decide what to do and asking other people to tell him when his dad came back as a ghost to tell him what to do in the very beginning. He drags it out until the matter is sort of taken out of his hand. Shakespeare wrote some messed up stuff, and I love it.

  • CaptainPeacockCaptainPeacock Registered User regular
    High School Shakespeare should start with Titus Andronicus. Is it the bestest ever? Hardly. But at least it's relatively easy to follow along and the material is explicit enough to keep their attention and be interesting.

    Cluck cluck, gibber gibber, my old man's a mushroom, etc.
  • CaptainPeacockCaptainPeacock Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Double post

    CaptainPeacock on
    Cluck cluck, gibber gibber, my old man's a mushroom, etc.
  • BlackDragon480BlackDragon480 Registered User regular
    High School Shakespeare should start with Titus Andronicus. Is it the bestest ever? Hardly. But at least it's relatively easy to follow along and the material is explicit enough to keep their attention and be interesting.

    I certainly know that my Jr. High self would have engaged with something with lots of sex and beheadings, more than it did with Romeo and Juliet.

    However, my love of Shakespeare (or whoever wrote them) didn't start till senior year, and AP English. We did a detailed breakdown of Merchant of Venice and Othello and I soaked that up like a sponge.

    I now hit the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival in Kansas City every year. I'm pretty excited for this year's, as it features Antony and Cleopatra, a play I've got very little experience with. Looking forward to it.

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  • belligerentbelligerent Registered User regular
    It's almost as if little 12 year olds can't comprehend the amazingness of the written word because the frameworks aren't designed with social, economic, political, or developmental differences in mind.

    I swear that high school should start at 16, go to 20, and provide you with a certificate/a.s. in the field of your choice (which you choose at 18). Anything before 16 should be teaching those bags of hormones how to integrate into society (write a check, open a savings acct, apply for a job, write, read, do basic math and how not to be a shithead).

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad. The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Who is twelve in high school? Is that a thing? I thought you were 14?

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  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad. The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Yeah, I was 12 in seventh grade, we weren't given Shakespeare until Romeo and Juliet in 9th grade (toward the end).

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  • RozRoz Let the Storm follow Nap TimeRegistered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Edd wrote: »
    I loathe Romeo and Juliet, it honestly seems to me to be his weakest play. Caesar is by far my favorite, such epic tragedy on display and such great emotion. Midsummer Night's Dream is also fantastic, and I duly love Othello and The Tempest as well.

    What don't you like about it?

    It's the worst romance he ever wrote? Compare Romeo and Juliet to MacBeth and Lady MacBeth, to the King and Queen in Midsummer Night's Dream... It honestly reads to me more like a parody than anything else. The relationship has no real nuance, and is nothing but heavy-handed pablum. It's just plain bad, and that it's held up by so many as his greatest work boggles my mind.

    Well, it isn't a great romance and people who act like it are silly geese.

    Think about it this way, before the play starts and right up until he sees Juliet, Romeo is trying to chat up whats her name, Rosaline, and then sees Juiliet and is smitten like a 'tarded kitten.

    They're also teenagers.

    While this might not have been what the original intent was, I think there's a reason that the plotline gets co-opted by teen angst dramas and comedies all the time.

    It's a really dark comedy when you think about it.

    When I did my undergrad in English, all I wanted was to take as many Shakespeare courses as I possibly could. Thankfully, my university managed to offer a sole Shakespearean drama class towards the end of my time there. /bitter

    I was thrilled to finally have the chance to argue about Shakespeare with adults, since my High School experiences with literary aptitude (among the general student body) were lackluster at best.

    Day 1 we arrive to class and the teacher hands out the syllabus. Our first play? Romeo and Juliet.

    I

    was

    furious

    Why was this teacher wasting our time with Shakespeare's most trite, boring, and contemptible play? I'd already read that play in 9th grade and it made me want to vomit. No Hamlet? No Lear? No Othello? Who was this jackass? I went home that evening so upset that in my only collegiate level Shakespeare course, half the semester would be spent on Romeo & f'ing Juliet. I thought about dropping the course right there, but I didn't. I consoled myself that at least the second-half of the semester would be Macbeth, and that play is awesome. So I'd stomach Romeo and Juliet to get to the awesomeness that is Macbeth.

    Only, the Romeo and Juliet I read wasn't the 9th grade play I remembered. It struck me as completely unlike the movies and the popular romanticized angelic love story that it is so often portrayed as.

    No, this Romeo and Juliet was different. This one was sharp-witted, grim, and seemed to mock every teenage romance I'd ever read or watched. I came to the table expecting garbage, but as I pulled away the layers of romantic façade, I found the incredibly juicy steak lying within. That's when I fell in love with William Shakespeare.

    My most enjoyable moment reading R&J was this line:
    Juliet wrote:
    What's in a name? that which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet;

    What a beautiful sentiment, that names are immaterial to who and what we are; that we love people not names. Except, this is Shakespeare using Juliet to unknowingly, and ironically, mock the shit out of Romeo. Romeo started the play madly in love with Roseline, a girl he can't even get to talk with him for more than 5 minutes; then he sees Juliet, and *BAM* all of sudden it's "whose Rose again?" What's in a name, indeed.

    I spent the rest of the play reading it as the actual romantic dark comedy that it is, openly laughing at all the silly courtship nonsense that Romeo goes through. The play is utterly brilliant in its subtlety. After the course ended I thanked the professor for giving me a new love that would burn throughout the rest of my life. I've read most of his plays at this point, and seen probably about 15-20 performances, and I have never been disappointed. Shakespeare is enlightening and fulfilling in a way so few other artists ever reach.


    Roz on
    Burnage wrote: »
    If the Fiora rework actually makes her play like a fencer I will never select another champion ever again.
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad. The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Nice, Roz.

    I was lucky enough that my Shakespeare course in undergrad had us do several plays, Titus, Caesar, Comedy of Errors, Othello, a few of the sonnets, and Lear. It was a decent enough class, the prof hated Shakespeare so at times it was a bit grating at 8am, but over all it was good.

    Then this semester in my master's degree I took a course on Shakespeare Adaptations, it was, less than impressive to say the least.

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  • lonelyahavalonelyahava One day, I will be able to say to myself "I am beautiful and I am perfect just the way I am"Registered User regular
    Pretty much was Roz just said.

    We started with R&J in 9th grade, which was easy. The new movie had just come out, everybody was familiar enough with the general overview of the story that the language did not really present a barrier. Oh, there were some struggles with the words, but the overall point of the story came through that much easier. Then sadly the only other experience I had in high school was with the Scottish Play senior year. Which was not as good an experience as it could/should have been. The teacher put on the movie, had us read along with it, and then had us write a sequel (based on the end of the movie showing Macduff going back to see the witches).

    But Uni... I got involved with my Uni's theatre company through a production of Midsummer, and then I switched majors to English. I took the Shakespeare courses that were required, had a professor that was astounding. Particularly in his teaching of R&J (which was very similar to Roz's experience), and then we moved on. I loved the language, the sound, the beats, the plays on words.

    Which led me to another course at Uni for Reformation drama. The period of drama after Oliver Cromwell's defeat. I wish I had my books with me down here, they were seriously some fantastic plays. I wrote a full research paper on how the differences between the words you see on the page were translated to the stage.

    Man I miss those classes.

    My Little Corner of the World || I am ravelried! || My Steam!
    You have to fight through some bad days, to earn the best days of your life.
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad. The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Reformation drama! A glorious celebration of the death of Puritan bullshit!

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  • LolkenLolken Registered User, __BANNED USERS, Dumbasses
    Greeper wrote: »
    Two Gentlemen of Verona is so bad, maybe his worst.

    No, no, wait, that's Titus Andronicus.

    If by worst you mean most awesomest...

    "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" - Lord Acton.

    "Money tends to corrupt, and lots of money corrupts lotsely" - Me.
  • lonelyahavalonelyahava One day, I will be able to say to myself "I am beautiful and I am perfect just the way I am"Registered User regular
    Reformation drama! A glorious celebration of the death of Puritan bullshit!

    so much FUN! Seriously. the actors and the playwrights all went wild, and the jokes and the plots...

    One of the absolute best classes I took at Uni. Along with another class (same professor!) about the "Rise of the Novel" in which we studied Moll Flanders, Tom Jones, And so many other works. I think that was also Evelina and Orinoco? I think that was the name of the book with the Noble Savage.

    My Little Corner of the World || I am ravelried! || My Steam!
    You have to fight through some bad days, to earn the best days of your life.
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad. The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Man, fucking Orinoco. I hate everything about that book. Just. Ugh.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • lonelyahavalonelyahava One day, I will be able to say to myself "I am beautiful and I am perfect just the way I am"Registered User regular
    Man, what? I loved Orinoco. I loved everything in that class. Although, thinking back it might have just been that I loved the professor. It was also about 10 years ago.

    Maybe I should take a break from my high fantasy and go back and reread some of those. Moll Flanders was amazing. If you haven't read it, you should.

    Oh. umm.

    Shakespeare was awesome I loved those classes too!

    My Little Corner of the World || I am ravelried! || My Steam!
    You have to fight through some bad days, to earn the best days of your life.
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