Lit & The Arts What made Shakesphere so great?

Discussion in 'Literature & The Arts' started by pineappleupsidedown, Dec 5, 2004.

  1. pineappleupsidedown

    pineappleupsidedown Premium Member

    I guess i am a little negative because we are reading Macbeth in english right now and my English teacher is overly enthusicastic about Shakesphere IMO.

    I realize that he wrote all these plays in iambic pentameter and what he wrote "still applies to our lives today" but really, what is so amazing about him?

  2. rawiea

    rawiea New Member

    Reading in English? Gee, I thought you were older.
    Okay, why was #@!&% so great? Hey, My grandfather was named William and folks called him "#@!&%", so I claim a certain familiarity. There are not really all that many writings readily available to us from those days. His are and so he is favored. His topics have been used extensively through the years, murder, incest, intrigue, etc. His writings are among the first, so everybody else copies him, even if they are not trying to.
    Look at America in the early 1800's. Lewis & Clark are the first "official" Americans to lead a party across the continent. Others followed. The others built on the First Explorers work, but did not really try to copy it.
    In much the same way, most all writers since Shakespeare have built on his foundation. At least that is the way I understand it.
    If it is any consolation, I hated reading Shakespeare and even some of the "newer " stuff by Dickens. About the oldest stuff I could really get into was by Jules Verne, H G wells and Mark Twain. I'm 50+ and still do not like that stuff.
  3. rawiea

    rawiea New Member

    I left the computer and came back. I was thinking about Shakespeare. I'm not sure, but I think the Printing Press was only invented about a century before #@!&% lived.
    That would mean that for most of the world, recently leaving the Dark or Middle Ages, reading was a new experience. So was education. Previously, it had been reserved for those of Noble Birth, If for no other reason, the cost of hand written documents. Gutenberg, (did I spell thatcorrectly?) brought the printed word to the common man. Education came with the Printed word, and Authors could begin to write and sell fiction. Before that, most writings had the approval of the Churches, I think, and most writings echoed Church beliefs.
    Just thought I'd add another word . The FIRST is generally looked on with favor. Shakespeare was among the first Fiction writers. In fact, the only one I can think of.
  4. Zsandmann

    Zsandmann Premium Member

    I agree I think the fact that his works were performed for the common man as a morality tale in a play format lended some hype to his tales. Then as word spread more and more people wanted to see the plays and finally they were put into print. However, to say he was the first isnt correct, because I cant remember names but I know some of his most popular plays, ie romeo and juliet' were translations of forgein works. I believe R&J was Italian. I guess his ability to collect those thoughts and threads of the common man was wht brought him so much success.
  5. elizabeth

    elizabeth New Member

    Cheer up pineapple. :)
    I had to go through all that Shakespeare stuff too in highschool. I had to memorize Hamlet's whole soliloquy and say it aloud in class.
    When we finally started studying Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Dickens I was so grateful. These old writers seemed "modern" to me after reading all that "olde english" of Shakespeare.
    It really helps if you can find movies of Shakespeare's plays. It helped me to understand the language better by seeing actors perform the plays. Personally I think Shakespeare is better watched than read.
  6. Zsandmann

    Zsandmann Premium Member

    'old writers?'
    Memorizing Shakespeare?

    Try memorizing the entire Prolog to the Cantebury Tales in Middle ENglish!

    Whan that April wit a shour a sorte
    The drought of March had perced to the roote...
  7. elizabeth

    elizabeth New Member

    :lol:No thankyou Z. Luckily I did not have to do that!
  8. Aubiefan05

    Aubiefan05 Member

    I have to admit, I actually like reading Shakespeare...and I was Lady MacBeth in the school play a couple of years ago. What I really love all of the humor he always includes, even in his tragedies, and he seems to have really good insights about human nature.

    Another thing that's significant about him is that he coined a lot of words/idioms that are a big part of the English language today. I can't think of any examples off of the top of my head, but my teacher had a list of them when we read "Romeo and Juliet" last year.

    Rawiea's comment about reading still being a novelty back then is a good point. The printing press wasn't created until 1450, and I think that for most of the early years the main things printed were bibles, so Shakespeare probably was one of the earliest forms of literary entertainment.

    This may be a little off topic, but there is some controversy as to whether Shakespeare really DID write all of the plays that are credited to him. I haven't read about it extensively, someone one here is probably more informed on it than I am. The main argument is that Shakespeare lacked the kind of formal education needed to be knowledgeable about the topics and lifestyles depicted in his works. I believe the man most often proposed by the theories as being the "true" author was Christopher something...correct me if I'm wrong, though.

    I don't really know what to make about the whole thing, I don't really believe it, but I can't say that I would absolutely rule out the possibility, either, at least not without studying it in more depth.
  9. Bleys

    Bleys Phoenix Takes Flight Staff Member


    I with aubiefan in this one - I really do enjoy Shakespeare, Hamlet and 12th night are my favorites.

    But Pineapple I do understand your frustration - English teachers do have a tendency to diminish the beauty when they break it down and over analyze each scene. To get past that and truly experience the Work itself - rent the movie or find a recording or better yet go see one of the plays.

    We have a great Shakespearean festival here and the beauty, the timing, the humor, the sadness of a live performance is an incredible experience. I honestly think people would appreciate and learn much more about Shakespeare if they presented his works instead of reading them.

  10. pineappleupsidedown

    pineappleupsidedown Premium Member

    Aubiefan, here are a few:

    If you cannot understand my argument, and declare "It's Greek to me", you are quoting Shakespeare; if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you act more in sorrow than in anger, if your wish is father to the thought, if your lost property has vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose, if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony, danced attendance (on your lord and master), laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool's paradise - why, be that as it may, the more fool you, for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare; if you think it is early days and clear out bag and baggage, if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it, if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood, if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play, if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason, then - to give the devil his due - if the truth were known (for surely you have a tongue in your head) you are quoting Shakespeare; even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing, if you wish I were dead as a door-nail, if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then - by Jove! O Lord! Tut, tut! for goodness' sake! what the dickens! but me no buts - it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare. (Bernard Levin. From The Story of English. Robert McCrum, William Cran and Robert MacNeil. Viking: 1986).

    I guess i dont mind shakesphere too much, its just the in depth symbolism i dont like drawing from it. I think Shakesphere was more concentrated on idioms and play-on-words instead of some deep underlying hidden message only truely seen by english teachers.

  11. pieman

    pieman Premium Member

    shakespear rocks. thats why.
    once you get used to the launguage, you'll understand. i love king lear,my fave charactor is the fool!!, i am the fool!!
    and i did the cantibery tales in school aswell Z, in middle english, but i got used to that aswell, we had to learn about the charactors in it aswell, so we understood the satire, which was great, i found it funny by the time we finished, god bless that teacher, she was damn good. don't remember much of it now though. i must look it up later.
  12. lord_lizarus

    lord_lizarus Premium Member

    I think if you compared shakespeare to some play writers nowadays he doesn't seem that brilliant but his ideas are copied into 99% of plays nowadays. He invented so many different styles of plays and also around 3000 words including the word assasin. Also he is one of he very few people who's plays have lasted for that long. It is very difficult to name any other playwrites from that time.
  13. oddtodd

    oddtodd Premium Member

    thoust shall readeth and liketh thine lessons lest thee becomest a scourge of ignoranceth (denied) pineappleth

    Good luck ! Teachers do tend to break it down to much , I find with old engish writing that once I am familiar with the manner of speach that I can understand a great deal more . Brahm Stokers Dracula helped me work through the wordyness (is that a word?)

    For instance : It would be mine greatest pleasure to share the company of one such as lovely as thineself at the breaking of bread upon the morrow noontime

    = how bout' lunch hottie ? something definitely gets lost in the translation .....

    I'm still waiting for that room full of monkeys to match his writings !
  14. bodebliss

    bodebliss The Zoc-La of Kromm-B Premium Member

    He said things in eloquent ways that enarmor us to this very day.

    He splashed our mental canvases with words of his fancy which when contemplated send our minds all to dancing.

    His prose as you know were written long ago, and yet e'en to this day they enlighten in their way.
  15. bodebliss

    bodebliss The Zoc-La of Kromm-B Premium Member

    There are only 8 plot lines that can be used so in literature you will see allot of reuse of plot lines.

    They have plays from ancient greece. You have to find a company that still puts them on and I think it would have to be an aquired taste as they are not exactly mainstream.
  16. Kalibur

    Kalibur Premium Member

    Pioneer as such, and ahead of his time. Edgar Allen Poe is better!!!!!!!!!!!