Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why I Love Shakespeare

Whattup dawg-eth?
I studied a lot of literature when pursing my English degree in college, and that's when I really started to appreciate Shakespeare. In fact, I took a whole college course dedicated to the bard. When I look at my own writing with a critical eye, it's pretty easy to see where many of my influences come from when it comes to writing style - namely Robert Cormier and Orson Scott Card.

But I would still say that Shakespeare is the one author that truly has been my greatest influence. I love utilizing several literary devices Shakespeare made famous including the use of foils, foreshadowing, and dramatic irony.

There are more reasons why I think Shakespeare rocks:

1) The drama! Oh man, Shakespeare created the kind of drama that makes you go, "Damn!" From secret affairs, betrayal, murders, conspiracies, jealousy, hatred, love, fate...and everything in between. Shakespeare created the kind of juicy tension not even Jersey Shore can touch. And there was all kinds of cool stuff for everyone. You got great fencing and fighting scenes like Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth. But you also got the romance in Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, and Pericles.

2) The humor.  OK, some people don't think that puns are funny. But I sure as hell do. "I'm a mender of bad soles," remarked the cobbler in Julius Caesar. Or take Hamlet for example - a very serious and tragic play, but it had a little comedy in it too. The gravediggers provide a little comic relief as they're burying Ophelia. Shakespeare was also an expert in the "mistaken identity" plot line we see in a ton of sitcoms and funny movies.

3) The timelessness. Shakespeare is copied over and over again. The themes, drama, situations are absolutely timeless. They are as relevant today as they were centuries ago. For example, Taming of the Shrew was remade into 1999's 10 Things I Hate About You. I'm a big Jet Li fan. Remember his 2000 film, Romeo Must Die? Or how about The Lion King being based on Hamlet? The movie/musical classic West Side Story is another Romeo and Juliet remake, along with Twilight's New Moon.

Shakespeare is still so very relevant today.


Tiyana, aka "Yoyo" said...

Oh, Shakespeare...

Is it sad that what I remember most when it comes to his work is how, after our English class finished reading Romeo and Juliet, all my friend could run around exclaiming to girls was "what, ho"? :/

(Apparently, that was his favorite expression.)

Jay Noel said...

Sounds like your friend was a "saucy boy."

T. S. Bazelli said...

It is still relevant. I remember being very bored reading Shakespeare in class, but the first time I watched a play it all came together and made sense!

Mr. Shife said...

Shakespeare is awesome, and I feel he will be relevant for as long as people are reading.

J.C. Martin said...

I agree! He was a master storyteller. Don't forget all his comedy plays like A Midsummer Night's Dream. And he's responsible for lots of oft-quoted phrases, such as "a rose by any other name," "hoisted by his own petard," and many more!

Jay Noel said...

T.S., Shakespeare left a lot of room for dramatic interpretation. His action prompts were very vague (they fight, he falls). So the director can do some awesome things on stage.

Shife, Shakespeare's influence is everywhere. Even on the big or small screen.

JC, I took some dramatic sword fighting classes - it was awesome. Right up your alley!

Milo James Fowler said...

I agree, and I thoroughly enjoy good Shakespearean retellings. So you're an OSC fan too, eh? Have you read his recent Pathfinder and Lost Gate? I've been meaning to add them to my reading queue.

M Pax said...

His stories are timeless. MacBeth remains my favorite. Out damn spot.

Phats said...

I enjoyed Hamlet when we read that in HS but not a big fan of the other stuff. haha :)

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