Shakespeare frustration

Every year students are dragged to school and every year students are required to take English. While it may be fun for some, others dread this class and the books that come along with it. Since what seems like the beginning of time, English classes at DHS and around the country read the feared literature of Shakespeare. “Romeo and Juliet, “Macbeth” and “Julius Caesar” are just some of the many Shakespearean plays that are up for grabs.

A question that pops into most students’ heads while reading: why are we reading this? Maybe that’s something that teachers and administrators should answer. If a person asked an English teacher why students are forced to read the confusing text, they would receive an answer close to, “So many modern stories and movies are based on his work”. Well, if there are so many books and movies based off his stories, why not read or watch those? Educating students with a more current and relatable topic would most likely prove better than offering up a play that is uninteresting to many and could possibly be considered another language.

“After reading just a paragraph of Shakespeare, it’s hard for me to even follow the story, let alone have a connection to the text,” senior Steven Handlon said.

Handlon along with many seniors are open about their hate for Shakespeare and the difficulty of interpretation.

Why else would there be numerous websites and books contributing their interpretation of Shakespeare text? If it is so difficult to understand these stories that are supposedly English, what is the point of teaching it in an English Class? Literature from hundreds of years ago would prove difficult to relate to and if hard to relate to, the struggle of teaching the text would be even harder. Reading current novels that are entertaining and interesting could spark a motivation that is so easily missed when the name Shakespeare is mentioned.

The sting of reading Shakespeare is increased even more when completing the story, passage or page thinking it is done. Only to be bombarded with questions asking for explanations and reasoning over a language extremely foreign to students of the 21st Century. If learning was the goal of the class would it not make sense for the teacher to explain the passage or story and inform students on why this message is important and what it contributes to our current language and works of fiction?

After all, Shakespeare invented over 1700 words, which seems a little excessive. Who was checking these words making sure they were acceptable and putting them into the English dictionary? No one, because Shakespeare had free reign on what he wrote and contributed to the language. Granted, Shakespeare contributed many useful things that are still used today. Other options for studying and learning English would prove more useful than dragging students through a story that will undoubtedly crash and burn. In the end, while Shakespeare may have contributed a great deal to the English language and fiction as a whole, the ability to connect to students of the 21st century is severely lacking.

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Dylan Hammer

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