Why Shakespeare Is More Relevant Than A Course Requirement

Why Shakespeare Is More Relevant Than A Course Requirement

"O reason not the need!" - "The History of King Lear," Act II.4

Why Shakespeare Is More Relevant Than A Course Requirement
Any Design Logo. "Why Shakespeare Is More Relevant Than As A Course Requirement." Fiverr

As an English major, I can definitely say that William Shakespeare applies to life outside of the classroom. He is not some subject of a boring class, but an active contributor to both English- and Non-English-speaking cultures.

Beyond the textbooks, Shakespeare's influence extends beyond academia and into media, common speech, and the human condition. The purpose of this article is to shift the groaning into pondering, which was a task that I had to do as part of my curriculum.

I had to enroll in a seminar class as part of my final semester which focused on a specific work of literature or an author. In my seminar class, the main theme was Shakespeare's play "King Lear" along with the works that were inspired by it, as well as the anonymously written Elizabethan play "King Leir" that inspired Shakespeare's well-known version.

A more obvious reason why Shakespeare is relevant is because his plays explore the human condition, either through comedies such as "Much Ado About Nothing" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream," through tragedies like "Macbeth" and "Julius Caesar," or through a play that fits into the WTF category like "Titus Andronicus."

Within those plays are characters that are relatable and identifiable with the audience, including prisoners when displaying humanity. The audiences' fascination mainly has to do with the conflicts the characters have that involve death, passion, and love that they might be tasked with in their own lives.

As for the works that were inspired by Shakespeare, such as the novels "A Thousand Acres" and "Fool" and the films "Ran" and "Throne of Blood," they are what are formally described as the term nachleben, which is German for "afterlife." Within the context of media, the term applies to Shakespeare's literary afterlife, in other words how novels, films, and other forms of media have re-adapted Shakespeare's plays to fit a particular setting or time. There are plenty of examples, such as Akira Kurosawa's "Ran" being a Japanese "King Lear" and "10 Things I Hate About You" being an American high school version of "Taming of the Shrew."

Shakespeare's influence seeps into modern media, whether it has to do with the tropes, plots, characters, or even titles that directly come from Shakespeare's plays, such as Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" which its title derives from "The Tempest" and the television series "Star-Crossed" which comes from "Romeo and Juliet."

For these reasons, Shakespeare may have future importance when his works are translated into languages that have decreasing numbers of speakers. If he can be relevant to English-speakers, then why not include speakers of Irish Gaelic, Breton, or Lakota? Shakespeare's works would be important to language revitalization and would bring in new fans to Shakespeare. Indeed, there already existed a Maori translation of "The Merchant of Venice," where Shylock is not depicted as a bloodthirsty Jewish merchant, but as a sympathetic minority character. Alongside that play, there is also a Maori translation of "Troilus and Cressida."

While different languages can re-adapt Shakespeare's works, the very English spoken in Shakespeare's time period provide a common connection between English speakers all over the world. Indeed, Shakespeare left his mark on Modern English. This is how we have words like bedazzled, new-fangled, and uncomfortable, and phrases like "being in a pickle," "being tongue-tied," "wild goose chase," and "all of a sudden."

Also, while the plays are typically performed in British English posh, scholar David Crystal argues that it was not the case in Early Modern English, which was the type of English spoken in the early 1600's. He states that there are remnants of Early Modern English found in many English dialects around the world, including the American accent which may have evolved from the Early Modern English spoken by the Mayflower Pilgrims.

Originally, I did consider Shakespeare as one of the main innovators of the English language. After completing my seminar class, I can say that I would be willing to add William Shakespeare as one of my literary inspirations, and I would like to explore more of Shakespeare's plays. If a Master's Degree in Shakespearean Studies exists, I would immediately apply to the university that offers it. If Shakespeare can be relevant to me, than he would become relevant to anyone else.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

We have all been there. Mindlessly scrolling through social media and then we see that post. We see someone we once saw a future with creating it with someone else. However this time it was really different. A lot of times when we say we are happy for someone we don't really mean it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Samuel Branch on Unsplash

Affirmations affirm beliefs that we are in need of strengthening. They help up to focus on goals that we are striving for or on a powerful part of ourselves that we need a little reminder is within us.

They specifically focus on positive outcomes or belief systems that we're working to solidify, rather than solely focusing action on eradicating something "bad" or "wrong" from your life.

Keep Reading... Show less

About a year ago, I began my own fitness journey. Growing up, I had played soccer and kept busy, but after an injury cut my soccer career short I suddenly became very inactive. It took years of misfires before I finally found a new active passion for weight lifting. Getting started is never easy, and setting up for success is the best plan of action to assist anyone in your life who is thinking about starting their own journey. These are a few items you can gift for the fitness rookie in your life:

Keep Reading... Show less

Nordstrom's Biggest Sale Has The Most Legendary Deals On Luxury Beauty Brands We've Ever Seen

Counting down the days to the Chanel box set gracing my front door.

I oftentimes (excessively) use the excuse of my job as a writer to justify my excessive spending habits.

I needed the new Huda Beauty palette before anyone else in the name of journalistic integrity. It was my job to test out the new Francis Kurkdjian fragrance to make sure I could tell people whether or not it was truly worth the splurge (it was).

Keep Reading... Show less

Some people are so good at downplaying their sadness that even they don't realize how much they do it. When you ask them how they are they will always say that they are good, even when they aren't. They exhaust themselves by plastering an energetic and carefree persona in the spaces that you watch them in because at least to you they can control how they appear. They can pretend to be the happy person they want to be when everyone is telling them how funny and bubbly they are all the time.

Keep Reading... Show less

Mental health is not an easy endeavor. It's not a fad. It's not a bandwagon that you can hop on and off of whenever you want to. Your yearly dose of sadness is not depression. I'm not here to define what depression — or anxiety, or any other type of mental health issue looks like — but I will tell you what it's not.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Sonnie Hiles on Unsplash

Whether it's dealing with a global pandemic or getting fired from your job, the fear of not knowing can become consuming if it isn't controlled. Below are some easy ways to take back control and establish a peace of mind.

Keep Reading... Show less

My South Asian Roots Inspire My Future Career As Both A Scientist And Journalist — Here's How

Being born to culturally diverse parents, I feel like I have the best of both worlds!

Erikka Chowdhury

To all of those who don't know me, I'm an American girl with South Asian parents who have carved their own niche as immigrants in the USA.

Keep Reading... Show less

The beaches are starting to open up. At least in Cape Cod, where my family and I were able to vacation this week. Near our house, we have a bit of a private beach, which is great.

Keep Reading... Show less

I sometimes look back at the days when I had anorexia and think to myself what would have happened if I had taken another bite? Nowadays, I spend days dreading over my figure and wondering if the old sundresses and outfits even fit. I tell myself that they do, but I feel like reality holds a different truth.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments