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Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by Ktulu, Dec 13, 2007.
But now I realise it did prepare me for some funneh later in life:
Oh, and he wasn't completely useless, in a few plays he made jokes about farts and genitalia... subjects that are still relevant today
If you cannot understand my argument, and declare "It's Greek to me", you are quoting Shakespeare;
if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, you are quoting Shakespeare;
if you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare;
if you act more in sorrow than in anger, if your wish is father to the thought, if your lost property has vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare;
if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose, if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony, danced attendance (on your lord and master), laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool's paradise - why, be that as it may, the more fool you, for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare;
if you think it is early days and clear out bag and baggage, if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it, if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood, if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play, if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason, then - to give the devil his due - if the truth were known (for surely you have a tongue in your head) you are quoting Shakespeare;
even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing, if you wish I were dead as a door-nail, if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then - by Jove! O Lord! Tut, tut! for goodness' sake! what the d1ckens! but me no buts - it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare. (Bernard Levin. From The Story of English. Robert McCrum, William Cran and Robert MacNeil. Viking: 1986).
After reading the previous post one could be excused for thinking Shakespeare practically invented the modern English language. But if you read some actual Shakespeare's writing it doesn't take long to realise that isn't so, because the overwhelming impression is one of WTF ARE YOU ON ABOUT?!?!
That stuff is unreadable and not because there was anything wrong with his writing - it's just that the times and the language moved on. That's why I have long maintained for all of his accomplishments Shakespeare should be completely removed from the syllabus of high schools and left to the scholars who specialise in reading such things. As for the teenagers, their time in school would be more productively spend on studying Buffy The Vampire Slayer which I seriously consider to be the pinnacle of our culture - offering everything Shakespeare offered, but in language and context our generation can relate to with much less difficulty.
Shakespeare is for the stage not the book. I love his work and for the people who are not into stage plays or the bard go and rent one of the following movies.
Action - Henry the V, the one with Kenneth Brannagh in it. The battle scene and the intro to it is brilliant.
Want to impress a chick? Much Ado about Nothing, (1993), directed by Kenneth Branagh. This is a ripper
Like a bit of ye olde rock and roll? Romeo and Juliet, (1996), starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Claire Danes. Directed by Baz Luhrman.
there ya go, some nice summer watching.
I'd have to put in a vote for Roman Polanski's version of Macbeth too. Loapdsa blood :grin: .
Seriously though, although I didn't enjoy studying the Bard at school, I came to appreciate his works later. And at least it wasn't as f*#king tedious as Jane bloody Eyre or the ghastly Thomas Hardy rubbish that we were also forced to read. Bronte characters all need a damn good slapping and Hardy's romanticised view of the rural population of South-West England should have been grounds for capital punishment.
If we're dishing out slaps to the literary "greats" don't forget "the great gatsby" loaded american self-inflatory pomp that is...
It shouldn't be taught because its hard to read? LOL, so we should only give our kids 'easy' books to read like that piece of $hit jesse martin book? Feck that. Shakespeare is taught because the issues it raises are universal, because it presents a challenge of form - have to struggle to comprehend something that is not similar to them (100% useful in life), because the texts are extremely well written, because knowledge of his works is considered basic knowledge to many, etc. etc.
+100 well said. It is the ability to decipher what the writer is trying to say. This is of great importance in later life.
Haven't read it but did hear a reading of A Diamond as Big as the Ritz serialised on radio. It appeared to have been written by a precocious 8 year old .
I learnt how to do that reading things like A Brave New World, 1984 and a bunch of other books, and I could read it first go, without having to work out what was actually written first, then what was the meaning behind those words. Shakespearean english isn't relevant today, and hasn't been for many, many years.
It's not even high culture anyway, it's entertainment for the proles.
No, it shouldn't be taught IN HIGH SCHOOL because it is impossible for a modern teen to relate to. Struggle to comprehend is all well and good, but there is such a thing as aiming too high as well, and then instead of said struggle you end up with complete indifference. Almost anyone who actually appreciates Shakespeare as an adult admits they hated his stuff in school and only learned to appreciate him later.
And since as you said the issues he raises are universal, then by extension they could just as easily be presented in another form, no?
But find me someone who likes or loves shakespeare at adulthood that didn't get taught at high school.
Yes it should be taught as it is an integral part of our written [OK anglo] history. He is not taught around the world for nothing.
Geez, poor Will, taking a caning for being difficult to comprehend and irrelevant to todays world......must have been an HD rider.
Yes, the themes in shakespeare can obviously be presented in different forms. Love, conflict, tragedy, jealousy, revenge, and pretty much anything you can imagine is portrayed in his plays. Yes, no high school student ever has any of those issues. Deciphering does take more effort than a modern text, but thats part of the point of studying it IMO, its a lesson in comprehension and imagination on top of everything else.
Sure the language isn't relevant, but saying that they shouldn't be studied on the basis of the language not being 'relevant' is like saying that poems are pointless because you can't comprehend them easily, lets replace them all with point form, shallow, simple texts shall we?
I suppose they could use some of DStump's posts?
sorry stump, stump it up
It could be equally argued that more people would come to appreciate him of their own accord if they weren't scarred for life and turned off Shakespeare, and possibly any form of writing, by their early experience
Let me just illustrate my previous points with this little quote:
"When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,"
Come on, this could be lifted directly from Jabberwocky. But it wasn't; these two lines are in fact lifted from the famous Hamlet's first soliloquy, you know, the one that starts very promisingly, with the mathematical expression
"2b V ~2b"
but unfortunately quickly degenerates into the nonsense quoted above
Easy to make something incomprehensible by editing it, if ya gonna quote it, quote enough to make sense eh...
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin, who would fardels bear,