Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Shakespeare is Rubbish



Am I alone in thinking that William Shakespeare is over-rated? Am I the only one who thinks that most, if not all, of Shakespeare's plays are rubbish?

Sure he wrote some plays at a time when there was probably a serious lack of decent playwrights but to be honest, the things he wrote are not really relevant to our current time.

In fact, when I was at school I distinctly recall reading a Shakespeare play in a book that was 15% introduction, 30% play and 55% explanation of what the hell was going on.

Here is a clip from Blackadder that illustrates my feelings on Mr Shakespeare:



You see, I always had a huge problem with his plays. His tragedies were funny and his comedies weren’t. His plays were written in a form of English that was perfectly acceptable in 1592 but make no sense to an audience of school children in 1975 (when I first encountered him) or later.

English teachers told me that these classic works were leviathans of the literary world that would stand the test of time and that reading and understanding these magnificent works were essential in order to progress in life.

At school I didn’t have the courage to face my teachers and say:

“But they are SHIT!”

Instead I was forced to endure these dreadful and irrelevant plays that bored me to tears. We were forced to sit there and analyse every bloody phrase, every sentence and every nonsensical paragraph in the most stringent manner.

A typical question was “What was Shakespeare trying to say?” and the answer should have been “I don’t bloody well know. I don’t understand it. It is written in a language that has developed into something new over four centuries. It isn’t funny. It is meaningless and it doesn’t make sense. And it is totally and utterly irrelevant. It should stay in the 16th century where it bloody well belongs.”

Shakespeare is as dull as dishwater. If I were to read a play now I would fall asleep before the end of the first act.

One of the plays we had to endure was Twelfth Night, supposedly a comedy. I don’t think anybody laughed. Here is the opening speech:

If music be the food of love, play on;

Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,

The appetite may sicken, and so die.

That strain again! it had a dying fall:

O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound,

That breathes upon a bank of violets,

Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more:

'Tis not so sweet now as it was before.

O spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou,

That, notwithstanding thy capacity

Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,

Of what validity and pitch soe'er,

But falls into abatement and low price,

Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy

That it alone is high fantastical.


What a load of baloney. I’m sure that when it first played at the Globe theatre, the people who went to see it were mesmerised by Duke Orsino’s splendid delivery. But a twelve year old kid from Walsall? No bloody chance.

We were supposedly speaking learning to speak and write English but Shakespeare’s language is so dated that it makes little sense.

Who says “thou” and “receiveth” and “o’er” and ‘thy” and “soe’er”?

Nobody – apart maybe from a pseudo-intellectual who has his Shakespeare mixed up with his philosophers.

Having suffered Twelfth Night at school we were then expected to write essays that analysed it, essay like:

“Discuss the aspects of love in Twelfth Night”.

I wish I had of written:

“I can’t. I don’t understand it because it is irrelevant. And if this is a comedy then I am a monkey’s uncle. I didn’t laugh once. I’m sure the audience in 1592 rolled in the aisles but I think it is totally and utterly unfunny. If you had asked me to write an essay saying “Twelfth Night is not funny. Discuss.” I might have stood a chance.”

In the end, I wrote several pages of horseshit and scraped a pass.

These days it seems that every actor in the world wants to star in a Shakespeare play. Every single actor falls over themselves to walk on stage roaring to a crowd of people, saying bizarre things like “Hey Nonny Nonny”. The crowd nod in appreciation but probably haven’t a clue what it going on. It would appear that playing the lead in a play like Hamlet seems to be the pinnacle of achievement for an actor, particularly if it is in Stratford-upon-Avon.

I would dearly love to stand up and shout “For goodness sake – speak ENGLISH!”

I would love to continue to barrack pseudo-intellectuals in this post, those who appreciate this nonsense in order to be recognised as culture vultures, but there are people who are genuinely moved by Shakespeare.

I had a discussion once with a woman who told me that she cried when she read Henry V’s rousing speech to his soldiers just before the battle of Agincourt. Here is Kenneth Branagh, a fine actor, giving his all:



I must admit that it is an awe inspiring piece of acting and Kenneth Branagh delivers it with gusto. Without necessarily understanding what he is saying, I can get the gist. If we are going to witness this in a modern film, why not simply modernise it? Instead of:

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.


why not say something like:

And from today until the end of time on this day, the feast of St Crispin, everybody will remember how you, my brothers, my band of brave warriors, shed your blood with me. And you are my brothers, make no mistake. And those men, asleep in England, will curse themselves for not being here on this momentous occasion; may they hang their heads in shame that they did not fight with us in this glorious battle on St Crispin’s day.

Okay – so I’m not Shakespeare and certainly could not write a modern day equivalent, but I am absolutely sure that a decent writer could capture the passion of that inspiring speech and leave the audience captivated, instead of thinking, “Well, he sounded brilliant but what the heck was he talking about?”

I’d like to finish with a reference to Macbeth. Now, bizarrely, this play is known as The Scottish Play rather than Macbeth because, apparently the play is cursed. The fact that it features witches and witchcraft may contribute to this but I suspect that it is an absolute load of nonsense. It has been used to real comedic effect in one of my favourite comedy shows: Blackadder the Third:



Personally I am not superstitious at all and if I were to star in Macbeth I would gladly say “Macbeth” repeatedly all the time just to irritate any pillocks who thought that mentioning the name would bring bad luck.

I would also try to sneak in a “Hey Nonny Nonny” and at the end I would ask the audience whether they understood a single word I had said.

If you like Shakespeare, dear reader, I would be happy to hear from you; perhaps you can explain why I should change my mind about his works.

In the meantime, enjoy a quote from the great man that some of you may think rather apt when reading this post:

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.

50 comments:

Stunatra said...

Excellent post. I agree with everything you've said here. Reading Shakespeare in school was a borefest.

Kath Lockett said...

I so completely and utterly agree and as I started reading it, I thought, 'Oh that reminds me of Blackadder, when one of his insults is a derisory, 'You laugh at a Shakespeare comedy' " only to find that you'd included it!

A Blog In The Rough said...

Dearest PM -

You think you had it bad when you were a lad in school? Imagine being an American being subjected to Shakespeare's codswallop, how does a kid in America relate to that? (btw you guys still talk funny after all these centuries).
And don't get me started on that Beowulf! AAAAAHHH!!! Flashbacks! AAHHH!!

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Thanks Kath,

Blackadder was merciless when it came to deriding Shakespeare - and quite right too!!

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Stunatra and thanks,

Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Macbeth and Henry V - why oh why did I have to endure them?

I reckon my English teacher was a sadist.

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lady from Delaware,

I can imagine that Shakespeare made even less sense to American kids. I can imagine the questions (apart from the obvious "What is this crap?").

I'll bet they centred around words like doth, hath, thy, thou, spake and Nonny.

Also, dear lady, it is thou and thine that talk funny.

;-)

Cheers

PM

Kent Richmond said...

I feel much of the same frustration (and I taught English at a university for 33 years). About ten years ago, after reading an article by John McWhorter, I decided to do something about it. I began translating Shakespeare plays in a way that would maintain the feel of Shakespeare but be in more comprehensible language.

You can read excerpts from my Shakespeare translations at www.fullmeasurepress.com.

Also John McWhorter's article was recently reprinted in the January 2010 American Theater magazine. Here is the link: http://tcg.org/publications/at/jan10/shakespeare.cfm. McWhorter makes many of the same points made in your post.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kent,

That's excellent! I shall pop over and have a read.

I just wish somebody had done that in 1975.

Thanks for the comment.

:0)

Cheers

PM

River said...

I never understood the so-called allure of Shakespeare either. I remember when one of my daughters was required to read one of the plays and then re-write it in present day english. She handed in an empty paper and got her first and only F. She didn't care.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

That's what I would have been tempted to do to be honest, caring not one jot about getting an F.

Good on her.

:-)

Cheers

PM

Sam Wood said...

Hi there,

Great post. Not just an "I hate Shakespeare post" but a worked out argument. Still I disagree with you, but then, I would, being a fully paid up writer of the 55% explanations!

So much did I enjoy your post, I have blogged about it at The Shakespeare Standard. There's a link to the rebuttal. You'll find that you're in good company on the plots (one Vladimir Nabokov shares some of your view) but you might like to have a go at a Six Word Shakepeare and cut down on those notes!

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Sam,

I'm glad somebody who disagrees has commented and I've read your post.

I have to say, that if somebody modernised Shakespeare, I may change my mind. I don't hate it, as you point out, but the archaic language does make it difficult to follow what is going on, particularly, I imagine, if you sit and watch a performance. To be honest, that was the point of the post.

Kent, one of the commenters, has actually had a go at translating the text into a more contemporary style and his excerpts make interesting reading, particularly the opening speech in Twelfth Night.

I shall certainly have a look at the Six Word Shakespeare and I am not stubbornly going to adhere to my argument if somebody can convince me otherwise.

Thanks for the comment.

:0)

Cheers

PM

Nomad said...

Finally somebody said what I have thought since.. well, forever. I wouldn't say the plays were all crap but really, there should be some perspective. And in the end, it is a sign of intellectual laziness because surely, there were other writers of merit in English history beside Willie. Isn't it a kind of faux cleverness, and short-hand culture? I mean, think about it, you only have to study one playwright and suddenly you have class and education!
One Shakespeare-lover I know would go on and on and if I didn't nod my head in agreement to all she said, I was some kind of caveman. After listening to her for hours, finally I asked her (an attempt at conversation)whether she knew of any American literature. She turned up her nose and said,with a slight snicker,"Oh? Does America have literature?" That's her loss but is it really Shakespeare's gain?

I feel more pity for those poor children who have to memorize all that antiquated rubbish day after day, brainwashed into thinking this is the beginning and end of English literature.

By the way, when American actors try to "do" Shakespeare, it makes even less sense to the audience, generally speaking. It's like trying to listen to some possessed person speaking in tongues. And, you know, the elitists also walk out of the theater with the same, smug and satisfied look. (Emperor's new clothes effect, I suppose.)

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Nomad,

That's a great commet - thanks very much.

:0)

I've had similar conversations with people, and I can say that a lot of the people who praise the bard out of some misguided attempt to appear clever. Now I'm sure there are people who genuinely love Shakespeare but why force it on the rest of us?

And to say something like "Does America have literature?" is typical - because they simply do not appreciate that there is a world outside their blinkered viewpoint. Of course America has literature; Australia has literature; so does Canada and other English speaking countries - and there IS literature outside Shakespeare in Great Britain of course.

I'm quite delighted that a Shakespreare lover commented actually and, even though he disagreed, he (hopefully) saw my point - which is all I asked really.

Thanks again for a great comment.

Cheers

PM

cstromberger said...

The Beatles are rubbish, too, eh...!? All that LSD-fueled crap... "tangerine trees" indeed.

Sure, Will is an easy target. The first Blackadder bit is a witty venting of common schoolboy rage. But it's important to remember something that no one here has pointed out: Shakespeare himself would probably be APPALLED that children are forced to sit down and "analyze" and worship his texts, which were written for his FRIENDS who were PLAYERS and meant only to be played out for ENTERTAINMENT in a public theater on a sunny or cloudy afternoon. For fun, for a momentary dream, an escape, an encounter with another world, other experiences... then back to real grimy London life.

Some editions of his plays were printed in his lifetime, but you get the sense they were often printed by others to make a quick buck. There is none of the vanity you see in his fellow playwright Ben Jonson (and if you think Shakespeare is unfunny and hard to read, take a dip into old Ben....!)

The Collected Works were compiled seven years after Will's death by two friends from this acting company, an act of love and respect (and perhaps financial gain, why not?). The "Bard" (an awful label he himself would not have recognized) didn't appear to give a flip about his immortal reputation. All of that Bardolatry came later. And at the center is a guy we know very very little about. We can't even be 100 percent sure what he looked like.

So his response to all this would be, I imagine, "Of course you don't think it's funny, why the hell should you and why are you still reading these things? Don't you have your own plays?" To those who enjoy them (I am one, though I never laugh at the comedies either), he'd probably be a bit tickled and perhaps touched, but still stunned. Just my hunch.

Finally: I do grant-funded artist-in-residency work with kids grades 3-6 in schools in low-income areas, leading them in Shakespeare performance projects, and most of them love it, because they are encountering it as something fun and fresh, not something crammed down their brains with lots of labels. So I'm always working against the same cultural baggage that made you reject the plays. Hoping that these kids can be vaccinated against it and remember these are PLAYS meant for PLAYING. And when you tire of playing football, you put it away, you don't force others to sit at a desk and learn how to play it and worship it as the greatest game ever.

Thanks for getting a conversation started!

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi CS and thanks for a great comment.

Actually I think the Beatles are a little overrated - not rubbish (because I like them)- but there have been better artists.

I am sure that Will would have been shocked to discover that kids are forced to endure his works. Thanks for the history of how his plays made it onto paper.

As I said in the post, I'm sure at the time his plays were fabulous, modern and totally relevant the period in which they were performed.

That said, I think it can be interesting for those who love their history and literature; to be honest I am fascinated by the real classics like Virgil's Aeneid and such like - because it wasn't forced down my throat.

I am not suggesting for a second that people should ignore Shakespeare; I merely suggest that it should at best be optional. To be honest I would rather have read modern literature.

"Shakespeare is rubbish" is at the end of the day my own opinion and I don't expect everybody to agree with it or, more importantly, be put off Shakespeare because of it.

I applaud your efforts to promote Shakespeare and long may they continue.

Thanks again for a great comment.

:0)

Cheers

PM

Pandora Behr said...

Alas, PM, we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one....

Like The Flight of the Conchords - some get it, some don't...

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

That's OK. Ultimately its about opinions. And that's a good thing.

:0)

Cheers

PM

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree with you. I remember sitting in class listening to the teacher talk about the symbols and the supposed meanings in Macbeth (absolute nonsense might I add), and I just felt sleeping on the desk using my pencil case as a very comfy pillow, along with my stacks of books underneath. It was so hard to just listen to the teacher and focus on her explanations, because it was really boring, stupid and a complete waste of time and on top of that most of the students did,nt really bother to waste conscious effort. I do not understand how people have made it out as if Shakespeare's plays have these stupid symbols and meanings, seriously they just make up crap to make the plays look good.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Anon,

Yes - symbols (imaginary ones) were invented to try to make us dig deeper into the story - it failed because, like you, I considered the symbols to be nothing more than the vivid imagination of a Shakespeare fan.

:0)

Cheers

PM

Chris Punnett said...

I have always felt Shakespeare to be vastly over-rated; the 'funny' sections (such as ancient postole and Bardolph) I found distinctly unfunny. I much prefer Bernard Shaw, whose plays cover issues that are still relevant to the modern world, but of course he is Irish, or Oscar Wilde, whose plays are funny!

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Chris,

Not really looked into Wilde and Shaw - not deemed good enough for us poor kids at school I guess.

Maybe I will look into them.

:0)

Cheers

PM

Dirk Johan Klanker said...

Great post. I stranded today while watching a 1967 film-adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew. I got a headache from the incomprehensible screaming, and got away from the film with an admiration for the actors being able to pull off the illusion that they knew exactly what they were talking about. Then I thought: now am I simply too stupid to appreciate this, or is all this Shakespeare adoration a matter of the Emperor's New Clothes? The more I dove into this, the more I could see ye old Williams buttocks swinging in the wind. Turns out that Tolstoy devoted a 117 + pages essay to show Shakespeare was a total quack. Tolstoy explained all misplaced adulation as a form of mass hypnosis. Shaw hated the bard too. Now you can say a lot about Tolstoy and Shaw, but not that they're fuzzy writers. They are clear. Something that simply can't be said about Shakespeare.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Dirk,

There is an element of "pseudo-intellectualism" in Shakespeare simply because I have in the past been called an idiotic heathen for not being able to appreciate his plays.

Yet when I've asked them to explain why I should devote my precious time to learning to love Shakespeare, they have no answer.

I am still in the dark on what the appeal is.

:0)

Cheers

PM

jeremy said...

What an excellent thread PM. I like the way everyone is so pleasant in spite of differing opinions.

I agree entirely with you on the exaggeration of the importance of his plays. As one of the comments above well points out, that's not Will's fault. I had the same unfortunate experience as you. Twelfth Night was one of the plays we studied, it hacked me off to think that they could be so stupid to mistaker a woman for a man, or was it the other way round. Just a crap farce! I wish we'd read Chekov instead.

What gets to me is the pseuds who make it out to be God's gift to english. It is as if there was nothing before or since, which is worth studying. The middle class has hijacked it, no doubt to make themselves seem superior.

I don't understand why in this country there is such an obsession with teaching English literature. Surely it is better to teach the language and let people use it creatively I went to a grammar school and they didn't teach much grammar. I learned more about that when I taught myself French! Ironic huh?

On Desert Island Discs, they always give the castaway the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare. The latter, I think, is included to help light a fire! At least that's what I'd do with it.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Jeremy,

I enjoy discussing things I consider to be rubbish with people who disagree with me - mainly because sometimes, if they are convincing enough, I am willing to change my opinion and learn.

Sadly, in the case of Shakespeare, my views are still the same, even three years on from writing this post.

I genuinely think that there are people who really do sincerely love Shakespeare. Sadly, however, the "pseuds" as you call them use it, as you say, to make those of us who hate Shakespeare seem like heathens without a shred of culture.

Thanks for a great comment.

:-)

Cheers

PM

Edward said...

I found this drivel by accident. I'm just amazed that there are people out there like you, very many people in fact, who wear their ignorance and foolishness so proudly. I thought I was reading the ramblings of some over-opinionated teenager until I saw what an old fart you were.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi "Edward",

It's very nice of you to comment; in particular it is very nice of you not to actually attempt to debate with me about the merits of Shakespeare. I am certain that Shakespeare himself would be impressed by your heroic defence of his work.

Except it's not really a defence is it? Clearly you can't put forward a cogent argument as to why I am wrong; you can't give me examples of why I should care one jot about the bard's work, like the other, more reasonable commentators on this post.

But hey - all I do is write drivel, eh?

If you dare, please try commenting again, this time with an email address or something, rather than under the anonymous name "Edward" and with less of a hint of the keyboard warrior.

I am willing to listen to people who can debate - but not people who blindly insult without actually thinking about what they are saying.

:-)

Cheers

PM

jeremy north said...

My thoughts exactly mr PM, all he did was abuse you rather than put up an alternative point of view.

Here's another reason to rubbish the obsession with WS: imagine that in school, the other subjects, especially the sciences had a similar bias toward what was thought to be de rigeur in the 16th century. Where would we be?

FOSSILS!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Jeremy,

Good point about science. :-)

And also about the keyboard warrior too.

I feel another Keyboard Warrior post coming on ...

:-)

Cheers

PM

jeremy north said...

I fear for the Keyboard warriors. Bring it on Sir PM, you've been knighted.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Why thank you kind sir.

:-)

Anonymous said...

i AGREE we are doing shakespeare at school, we are doing macbeth and it's so hard to understand, I just somehow analyse it. we watched the movie and everyone's falling asleep no one knows what's going on I really hate it that they make us study shakespeare which is incredibly irrelevant in modern day society.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Anon,

That's the point. I have no problem with Shakespeare enthusiasts analysing it, praising it and constantly watching it in theatres; I just don't think it should be inflicted on the rest of us.

The truth is that the majority of people agree with me.

:-)

Cheers

PM

Fred Cawthon said...

I believe Shakespeare is highly over rated. I have read very few works that bore me to death than Shakespeare. After I heard he may not have in fact even been the true author I thought even less of the work. I see reading Shakespeare as a big waste of time, especially for high school English classes. I learned absolutely nothing from it.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Fred,

The only use I've found for Shakespeare is the ability to answer the odd quiz question.

:-)

Cheers

PM

Anonymous said...

Shakespeare is the medieval equivalent of "Two and a Half Men". People who are enamored with it are usually halfwits who feel "intellectual" by figuring out anything in archaic English.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi anon,

I wouldn't generalise like that - but for some of the lovers of Shakespeare I think that is definitely true.

Cheers

PM

Anonymous said...

Funny blog. I agree with your assessment of Shakespeare being highly over-rated. I compare those who endlessly praise Shakespeare to those who swoon endlessly over abstract art like Warhol's can of soup, Ellsworth Kelly's Green White painting, or most of Barnett Newman's work. Crap with a strung out artist making the art but a good salesman making the pitch to the rich, and rich-wannabe's jumping on the band wagon simply to play at sophistication.

Blackadder through all four ages was pure brilliance... five ages if you include the final Millennium movie. I bought that box set ages ago, will have to watch those again now lol.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Anon,

I agree - there is an element of the "pseudo-intellectual" about Shakespeare.

:o)

Cheers

PM

Anonymous said...

Ok. Massively informative. Now, please, can we have the opinions of a Glaswegian plasterer on Pindar's Orphism or Virgil's use of the hexameter? Or even a new-born Eskimo infant's about the Higgs Boson?

Anonymous said...

OK. Now can we have the opinions of a Glaswegian plasterer on Pindar's Orphism or Virgil's use of the hexameter? Or even those of a new-born Eskimo in the Higgs Boson?

Plastic Mancunian said...

Or perhaps the opinion of a nobody on another one of my posts?

Nice discussion techniques.

Love it.

PM

John said...

Found this page from googling "Shakespeare is shit" (lmao). I am an actor and everywhere I turn I am told that Shakespeare is the ultimate test for the actor. So to be the best actor you have to master Shakespeare. My instinct is to throw Shakespeare's works out the window but I can't escape this simple fact: Brando who is widely regarded as the greatest actor of all time LOVED Shakespeare (same can be said for Burton, McKellen etc.). And Brando was a scoundrel and blackguard (traits I have enormous respect for).

Just a point you should take on board: "comedy" in Shakespeare's time meant a play in which nobody dies

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi John,

I can imagine that Shakespeare is the ultimate test - it's so hard to remember, understand and speak (without laughing!!).

I didn't know about "comedy" - that explains a lot. Thanks for teaching me something.

:o)

Cheers

PM

Des said...

Like John above, I discovered your blog through searching for "Shakespeare is shit", I am in overwhelming agreement with your excellent post. I don't think he is shit, I just loathe the way is transformed into a secular diety, he has long since ceased to be a writer or even a man and has become a vast cultural edifice that is a deadweight on both theatre and education. Harold Bloom even wrote a book called Shakespeare and the Invention of the Human, where he proceeds to argue "the Bard" did just that.

Like you I believe many people genuinely love the works, I have a friend who does and with whom i occasionally argue about it but everyone knows they are supposed to love the works and feels obliged to attempt to, or at least pretend to appreciate them. I loved Shakespeare at GCSE and A level but went off him at university- where I studied English and Drama, so I am not ignorant of his works or their context. I would never choose to watch a Shakespeare play or a film/tv adaptation.

I am interested in the authorship question but am essentially agnostic on the subject. What fascinates me is the anger and the perceived threat that Bardolators display at any questioning of the conventional narrative. How dare anyone besmirch their precious God.

Des said...

Like John above, I discovered your blog through searching for "Shakespeare is shit", I am in overwhelming agreement with your excellent post. I don't think he is shit, I just loathe the way is transformed into a secular diety, he has long since ceased to be a writer or even a man and has become a vast cultural edifice that is a deadweight on both theatre and education. Harold Bloom even wrote a book called Shakespeare and the Invention of the Human, where he proceeds to argue "the Bard" did just that.

Like you I believe many people genuinely love the works, I have a friend who does and with whom i occasionally argue about it but everyone knows they are supposed to love the works and feels obliged to attempt to, or at least pretend to appreciate them. I loved Shakespeare at GCSE and A level but went off him at university- where I studied English and Drama, so I am not ignorant of his works or their context. I would never choose to watch a Shakespeare play or a film/tv adaptation.

I am interested in the authorship question but am essentially agnostic on the subject. What fascinates me is the anger and the perceived threat that Bardolators display at any questioning of the conventional narrative. How dare anyone besmirch their precious God.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Des,

I agree with the deity viewpoint completely. Unlike you, I hated Shakespeare at school because his works portrayed an innate snobbery when it came to authors and works of fiction generally. I was criticized by my English teacher for daring to pick holes in the Bard's work and generally not being authorized to read more contemporary fiction.

I was made to look like a fool - and I still kind of resent that. And it led me to dislike anything older than the 20th century, something I probably criticize unfairly in some cases.

Even when it comes to acting, some actors are judged by how good and how often they portray Shakespearian characters. "Oh Larry is the greatest actor because his portrait of Hamlet was simply magnificent!" I say "Hogwash - I didn't understand a bloody word he said."

Thanks for a great comment.

:o)

Cheers

PM

Geo said...

yup shakespeare had his place in time. His stuff bores me stiff. It really is outdated.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Geo,

I wouldn't mind if they tried to modernise it. All they do is churn it out as was - and that's rubbish.

:o)

Cheers

PM