Friday, 26 April 2013

Why most Students do not like Shakespeare.

I, like many other students, can see how studying Shakespeare in English class can be beneficial to learning, and it is easy to draw many different perspectives from his works. However, I think that the reason most students don't like (or downright hate) Shakespeare is the writing style. Elizabethan English is a very old fashioned way of speaking our language, with different mannerisms and grammar. Shakespearian language is extremely metaphorical. It draws comparisons to things that would seem normal in 16th century Europe. Students find the language hard to understand, with many words they know and use in modern English, utilised in such a way that the word has a completely different meaning. Students think that essentially learning a whole new language is convoluted and has no relevance to English. In a way, I agree, why do we have to learn a different form of the language we already know? Wouldn't it make more sense to study the language we know perfectly fine and then improve upon it? The answer is in the text itself. I think the main reason we study Shakespeare in its original text is so we can use our brains to interpret more. With so many unknowns, you can come up with many different lenses that a modern English version would not be able to give. With a modern version, the plot would be easy to follow, and every student would have pretty much the same conclusions to topics. With the original, answers to certain questions or opinions can be much more diverse, because we have to find the comparisons the writer is using, and figure out how it applies to both a 16th century Europe, and a 21st century Canada as well.


  1. I agree, and since students aren't exposed to 16th century European litterature often (or at all) before Shakespeare it's hard to pick up

  2. Marc, this is a very thoughtful post and I think it accurately explains why students have difficulty with Shakespeare, but you also detail why it is still taught 400 years later.

  3. This post is very insightful. You brought up a very interesting point that the text allows everyone to perceive it in their own way as it is written with many literary devices and a style of writing that most are not familiar with. This makes Shakespeare's writing unique as everyone has developed their own personal understanding of his plays.