Monday, 17 June 2013

Should Shakespeare Still be Taught in High School English Classes?

When looking at if Shakespeare should still be taught in high school English classes I decided to make a list of what I think are the pros and cons of Shakespeare.


-It’s hard to understand what’s happening.
-It can be boring to read when you do not understand what’s happening.


-It teaches students how to problem solve. When it’s difficult or next to impossible to understand what’s happening in the Shakespearean plays we read in class, there are two options for you to do. One, you continue reading and never understand what the play is actually about. Or two, you problem solve and figure out a way to understand what you are confused about. While some people go with option one, most of us try option two and try make out a way to comprehend the words that confuse us. This can vary from looking at the side translation in the book, to researching the passage on the Internet. Either way, by making an effort to understand what’s happening, the student learns valuable problem solving skills.
-The story lines are timeless. While they’ve been rewritten and changed throughout the years, the plot lines of most Shakespearean plays have survived to be reminiscent in many more modern sources of entertainment. From the travesty of Twilight to the less modern Pride and the Prejudice, books and movies have been coping Shakespeare’s work for centuries.
-It’s jam packed with literary devices. Where most books contain metaphors and similes, the amount that Shakespeare crammed into his plays is astounding. Every passage contains them, some lines being made up of multiple devices, and while this contributes to the problem of understanding the meaning of the text, it also makes for material that’s easier to write passage analyses, and other forms of English assignments, about.
-The morals they teach are relatable to today. While most of us think that Shakespeare’s plays are irrelevant to today’s day and life, the morals that they teach are actually very applicable to the present. An example is the play Macbeth, where if you strip it down to the bare minimum, is about a man who is overly ambitious and whose plans backfire when he tries to get a higher position in life. This play demonstrates that we should enjoy our lives at any stage and not to be so ambitious that we give up everything we care about. Although the situations in the play are a little fantastic, the morals it teaches are very prevalent to anyone’s life.
-You understand more references. Because they been around forever, and because they’re so popular, references to the Shakespeare’s plays are in a lot of media. When you read the plays you are able to understand these references and connect them to the things you know and identify with.

From the pros and cons I listed, I obviously think Shakespeare should be taught in English classes. It can be hard and sometimes frustrating, but I think that the things the plays are able to teach us far outweigh any argument against them.


  1. Wow, I never looked at it this way! Thank you for such a great insight. I really liked the way you organized your text. I must agree i have learned a lot more literary devices over the unit of shakespeare!Shakespeare also has great situations and morals like you stated!

  2. I really like the list that you made! When i wrote my post on that topic i also was not able to find many reasons not to teach it. I also agree with all the points you made, it's really well thought out.