Is Shakespeare Actually Good for School?

By Ryan W., Opinion Writer

For many years, students have read many books in school. But a lot of the books they read are written by one person from England in the 1600’s: William Shakespeare. Shakespeare has made over 1500 plays and stories from about 1590 to 1613 and is regarded as one of the most influential playwrights and authors in history. But there is the problem: most of Shakespeare’s popular works that schools and a lot of people read (Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, etc) were created to be plays. You may think that the difference is not that big of a deal, but you can’t replicate an actor’s performances with words or even the occasional illustration. That is why Shakespeare did not simplify his diction. It’s the actors and their performances who get the main idea across.

      Some things you cannot replicate on paper, and a real life performance is one of them. Actors on stage talk with movement and body language, something which cannot be replicated with words on paper. Shakespeare’s plays are not meant to be stories alone but has to be seen. One thing I don’t like about Shakespeare is its complicated diction and how it is hard to understand, but I would understand it better if I saw the actors moving, feeling, and living the scene. 

    This problem would have affected people when Shakespeare was around. It would happen during the pinnacle of his career (early 1600s). In that time most people in England could not even read, the literacy rate then was only 30% for males. With a literacy rate below half, how could Shakespeare be so popular? He was popular because the audience had the actors to get the idea in their mind. So, if it wasn’t meant to be read and could not even have been read by most people when it was created, then why should it be read now. 

       I know that the books is the only practical way for most people to experience Shakespeare. Most people can’t go to a theater more than a few times a year. This is even why Daniel. R thinks reading the books is a good idea, so people can experience the story for years to come. My solution is to recreate the experience the best we can to not let these stories fade into obscurity. It doesn’t even have to be an authentic auditorium with actors you can touch. Maybe Hollywood can make movies based on Shakespeare’s work (not changing anything). This will ensure that people get to see these anytime at the movie theatre or even on their own tv. These are not just exceptional plays but are pieces of history which should be rightfully preserved. So, what is a few million dollars for an eternity of knowledge?