On William Shakespeare’s 400th birthday, I feel obliged to publish a small tiny post on him. I’m not extremely well-versed with him, and have read very few of his works. But, whatever I’ve read, it’s been enough to make me realize that the world won’t have another Bard. Not in a million years.
Reading Shakespeare in school is so different than reading his plays just for the sake of reading (at least for me). I remember cursing him during those long nights before my final exams, not being able to remember for the life of me what Gratiano and Bassanio discussed before going off to Belmont. After all, who can remember lines like those word to word? (ok some can but it was difficult for me). And scribbling down page after page about the same characters and their motives and actions was exhaustive and yes, I admit, the curses did escape me. 10th grade Merchant of Venice was an ache. And forcing Julius Caesar down on a 8th graders, was torture of the ultimate level.
But having re-read those later on in life, and having read one or two more of his plays, I’ve learned that Shakespeare’s not meant to be learnt and mugged up in school. It’s meant to be felt and appreciated for what it really is.
The writing is different, yes. Four hundred ago, they didn’t use the same English as us. But his characters are real, and human. The human emotions portrayed in his books are real and universal, and we all can connect to them at some level.
I can’t wait to read more of his plays. Reading all of his plays has recently been added to my reading goals for life and I can’t wait to get ahead on that.