Ancient Literature: The Importance of Reading Shakespeare in a Modern Society

Provided by Historic UK

William Shakespeare is a pain. Unless, you’re a psychopath, and actually enjoy his writing. In that case, stop reading this article. Personally, I never understood the importance behind reading his various plays, whether this be A Midsummer’s Night Dream in Mr. Wilson’s eighth grade English class or two years later reading Macbeth with Mrs. Blum. I always thought his work was just  a necessary part of English literature for reasons I never understood, granted a very boring part and my least-favorite unit next to poetry. However, apparently there is some reasoning behind this integral part of any English class curriculum. 

Perhaps the most frustrating part about Shakespeare is his language; instead of modern day diction and grammatical choices, his plays mimic the time in which they were written: the 1600s. 1600s English literature is not exactly equivalent to modern day English, which could possibly lead to some confusion in trying to decipher the meaning behind a couplet. However, as tedious as the process of trying to comprehend his writing may be, research suggests that it, surprisingly, is worth it! Although written in the 1600s, many plays contain themes ( love, corruption, power, etc..) in scenarios that can be found in everyday life, creating a connection between the past and the present.This, quite literally allows us to see the progression of our language as it evolves in front of us. 

Besides, I’m sure most of us would prefer an easier, more comprehensible piece to read.But, there is some level of excitement found in being challenged, which Shakespeare’s works provide. In either analyzing the text or simply trying to find the theme, any play of his forces you to change your thinking and reread each statement over and over until it makes sense, resulting in a more creative and determined mindset for the next writing piece you (or your English teacher) decides to tackle. And when you finally begin to understand all of his writing “quirks,” think of the self-confidence boost! So next time you read the lines “Wherefore art though, Romeo,” instead of drifting off, pay attention! Who knows, maybe you’ll learn a little bit more about not only yourself but the world around you?

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