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Shakespeare Still Matters

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In today’s world the quality of the art form called writing is said to be somewhat diminishing, it is important for English literature to keep some studies of classic literature, such as Shakespeare

I think well rounded education must have a strong foundation in both modern and classical literature, for the foundation in classical literature, an in-depth study of Shakespeare’s works would be more than sufficient. Not only was Shakespeare so skilled in his writing that he has become a significant point in the history of literature, but a majority of his works were written on such basic human themes that they will last for all time and must not be forgotten.

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You don’t have to live in England to see Shakespeare’s influence everywhere you look. Shakespeare’s plays were amongst the precious few books brought to Australia by Captain Cook on his ship, The Endeavour. A note on the back of Australia’s oldest surviving print document tells us that Richard III (probably Shakespeare’s play) was performed as early as December 1793 on Norfolk Island

Shakespeare is embedded in our history. His plays were performed consistently in Australia throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, and remain some of the most frequently adapted stories in Hollywood. Film producers could rely on familiarity with Shakespeare’s work, and use it as a licence to experiment with form. Some of the earliest silent pictures were of Shakespeare plays. King John, for example, made it into film as a short feature as early as 1899. A silent Midsummer Night’s Dream (1909) was an early leader in special effects, making its fairies fly and disappear on film. Shakespeare provided the vehicle for social commentary: in the 1956 sci-fi cult classic, Forbidden Planet (starring a very young Leslie Nielson), the “new world” of Shakespeare’s The Tempest is literalised as “new worlds” in the context of the space race concerns of the mid 20th century.

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The messages in his works are relevant even today. He talks of things such as power and shows how corrupting power can be especially to greedy people. He shows how people in power find it difficult to balance their private and public lives and shows how the people in power manipulate the masses for selfish interests. The plays are very good in studying murders and conspiracy. His works explore other issues such as gender, sexuality, love and war among others. These issues show the kind of relationships people have in the society (Forrester 18). In addition, his plays contain wit and humor and are very entertaining besides being educative. Therefore, Shakespeare’s works help college and school students to have a deeper literary appreciation (Lund 1; Forrester 18). His works opens up our imaginations and radical thinking. He addresses issues such as the relationship between rulers and their subjects. He gives us an opportunity to enter the minds of the characters in his plays and thus enlarges our experience.

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In the final analysis, no one has any moral obligation to like his work but for those who do, that ‘like’ is probably best recognized as ‘love’. We seek to celebrate what we love and what matters to us, and that’s why I, with millions of others around the world, want to remember Shakespeare’s birthday every year.

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Forrester, Ann. Why teach Shakespeare? Or any other dead white male? Literary Canon, Shakespeare, (1995). A paper presented to the Community Colleges Humanities Association Washington DC Nov. 1995.

Lukas, George and lee Baxandall.”The sociology of modern drama.” The Tulane Drama Review, 9.4 (1965), 146-170.

Lund, Norman J. Why study Shakespeare? 11 Jun. 2005. Web.

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