Shakespeare Still Matters
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.
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.
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.