Saturday, 11 May 2013

The thing about Shakespeare is...

Firstly, this is not me slagging off Shakespeare. It has become trendy to knock Shakespeare. I am not one of the knockers, generally.

From my experience working in a school, trying to enthuse teenagers about Romeo and Juliet, nobody seems to like Shakespeare. For the most part I would say those that don't like, don't have the intelligence to appreciate his genius. And I'm not a huge fan of his but I can respect talent.

That being said, I don't like worshipping things just because they are difficult to do. I had a deep discussion with a teacher about how his work was so impressive because he constantly wrote in Iambic Pentameter (which for the normal people who don't care about pompous phrases like that is: pairing ten syllables on a line of text, into five pairs.) If you crack open any Shakespeare play you will most likely find this and whilst it is difficult to do it is not something worthwhile on it's own.

Surely that is not a reason to celebrate the works of Shakespeare. Rejoice in the way he controlled language or whatever but conforming your writing to strict rules for no reason seems restrictive at best and arrogant at worst.

I could develop a technique of writing my stories whilst simultaneously humming and doing a headstand. It wouldn't make my work good - it just makes me weird.

So, yes Shakespeare is amazing but he is for the words he writes, not the STUPID rules he may self-enforce upon his plays.

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