The reactions to this name run the gamut. Memories of being assigned to read Shakespeare in high school are resurrected from a gallery of memories. What was your reaction to reading SHAKESPEARE back then? Has it changed today?
While I recognize the genius in Shakespeare, it it is a real mental gymnastic for me to adapt my mind to reading the archaic language of his time and place. How is it for you? When I do follow the impulse, I discover once again the genius and the relevance to our times, to the commonality of the human condition across time. His writing encompasses the human drama, comedy, satire, fantasy, romance, politics, etc. I am not a scholar of Shakespeare, not nearly. However, I have enjoyed the BBC films that rendered Shakespeare palatable. I admit to especially enjoying the comedies.
One thing that is of note…Shakespeare’s works are plays. Therefore they lend themselves better to being spoken than read. When his words are enacted, they have the dimension that they were intended to have. A play is meant to be performed. Therefore, if you get a chance, either watch a film or see a play. Do you notice the difference yourself? Do you feel engaged in a different way? Does viewing a play (or film) give you an expanded appreciation for his genius?
I have viewed A Midsummer Night’s Dream more than once. I am always delighted and inspired by the wit of the story. The cast of characters are engaging, enthralling, mischievous. I’ve enjoyed Michael Hoffman’s version of this tale.
“Having once this juice,
I’ll watch Titania when she is asleep
And drop the liquor of it in her eyes.
The next thing then she, waking, looks upon
(Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull,
On meddling monkey, or on busy ape)
She shall pursue it with the soul of love.”
A trailer from Michael Hoffman’s 1999 film.