William Shakespeare may have died in 1616, but his plays have been taught in schools for over 400 years following his death. Most students dread having to read plays like “Julius Caesar,” “Macbeth” and “Hamlet” but even if these works of literature may be difficult to analyze and just generally hard to read, high schools should continue to teach Shakespeare, even if their students aren’t very fond of it.
According to a study by the University of Warwick, 49% of students find Shakespeare to be a bit boring and difficult to read. But, whether you like his plays or not, Shakespeare is the foundation of English literature. Many of the books and poems we read nowadays draw from his work in some shape or form. Shakespeare has had such an immense influence on a vast amount of literature and many writers are unaware of the amount of his elements they use in their own works. Shakespeare has paved the way for many works of literature, inspiring them with his plays and poems.
It is also believed that Shakespeare invented certain words that he used in his plays by replacing nouns for verbs and combining words. Many modern works of literature use Shakespeare’s techniques, so it is interesting to learn about everything Shakespeare inspired in modern literature. Supposedly, the book “Harry Potter” by J.K. Rowling and the television series Game of Thrones, which was adapted from “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin, both took inspiration from aspects of Shakespeare’s works. Between those popular shows and movies, this shows that Shakespeare’s ideas have carried on into modern-day stories for everyone to enjoy.
Reading Shakespeare is also a great source to use when learning how renaissance English literature compares to modern day. Most people have opened something by Shakespeare and immediately closed it because they had no idea how to read it. Fair enough, but taking the time to learn the language of Shakespeare and other renaissance writers is crucial to learning about the evolution of the English language. It is important for students to see how the language has evolved and changed over the centuries. Shakespeare is a perfect resource to use when comparing early modern English to the language we use nowadays. For students to get a full grasp on the English language, learning about Shakespeare is the best way to do that.
Most people know that reading Shakespeare is no simple task, but if students learn how to read and analyze Shakespeare, they can easily read other works of literature. There is no question that Shakespeare can be difficult and sometimes boring to read. He hides many details in his writing, to the point where people have to really break down his stories to fully understand them. Not to mention the difference in language, it can be a challenge. However, this is a blessing in disguise. If students learn how to read Shakespeare in school, they will develop the skills to effortlessly read and analyze other works of literature in the future. Diving deeper into stories is much of the fun for any student learning about literature. In doing so, students are able to formulate their own response to his works and can create valuable skills in analyzing any type of medium that will become an advantage to them in the future.
Even with all the positive things that come with reading Shakespeare, it is no secret that many students would rather read just about anything else. Though his stories might still hold a bit of relevance in modern times, with themes like love, corruption and revenge, let’s face it, Shakespeare is becoming outdated and losing its relatability to young minds. His plays and poems have been passed down for centuries, and simply due to the curse of time, they are gradually starting to lose relevance in our world today. But despite this, it is still important to understand Shakespeare because it has and will always be a part of English literature.
Instead of complaining about his work, students should take the time to realize the rewarding aspects of Shakespeare. While his worm does not need to be the only focus in an English class, a few sufficient lessons on Shakespeare’s life and his plays are necessary for a good education in English literature. Students should see the good in Shakespeare, not the bad.