There are a lot of people, really a LOT of people who cant understand Shakespeare. Well, until sometime back even I couldn’t make out any meaning out of his work. Now, I have come to appreciate it better.
Many of us start reading Shakespeare with a notion of it being hard because everyone who ever read it said so, everything ever written about it said so and every other person, who may not have read it or even attempted to read it said so.
Shakespeare is hard to understand. True.
But I think reading a play has to be different and yes, difficult than reading a novel. They are meant to be watched, not to be read..
The way they both are written is entirely different. Now, I am not a literature scholar, but from what I understand (from what ever I have read so far) the format of play and a novel are different. As such, a novel is very descriptive, the story, the whole plot, the character are more or less clearly defined. But plays, on the other hand, have a lot of room for the readers imaginations. There is more work to do while reading plays. Yes, the stage description is usually given in plays, but the whole setup is left to your imagination.
Here’s what I think. Before reading a Shakespearean play, one should go about to find out the story. There are end number of ways for that, you can even watch a movie based on it. This will give you a perspective (although it will only give you the film maker’s perspective, but as they say, something is better than nothing). Once you have a story, an understanding of the characters, the setup, the background, then it would be much more easier to make sense out of it.
The language is by far the toughest part about Shakespeare’s work. Some words like ‘thou’ ‘thee’ and ‘ye’ are not used anymore, some other words are used in a different meaning now. He is said to have contributed a lot of new words to English literature through his work. I read in an article that, out of his ten words, one was new, either a new form of existing word or a fresh one. To me, that’s pretty amazing.
He’ll take you back to school :)...
I mean you have to read and re- read his plays to understand.
Thank him as he gives you a chance to re live the most amazing part of your life (yea yea I know no-one ever enjoyed reading at school, but still cant ignore the fact)
He teaches you perseverance.
How? You have to be patient and re-read his plays, referring the dictionary for every difficult word. And the end, you have learned another great life lesson :)…
You must be thinking, it sounds so much of work, why should one bother reading it. Here’s my take.
He is one of the greatest contributors to English literature, even claimed as Father of English Drama. He has given us stories on basis of which a number of blockbuster movies are made, they may say its inspired and what not, but they are looking at Shakespeare for stories on love ( and others too). Well yes, there are not always happy endings but love tragedies are nevertheless gripping. (may be only to a hopeless romantic like me).. I am a huge fan of Romeo and Juliet, no matter what one says, its the best love story ever. Some may call them stupid, childish or even horny… To me its one of the most passionate love story