The Value of Shakespeare Today
What makes Shakespeare stand out from other playwrights of his era is his deep understanding of human nature and the human condition, the timelessness of his works, and hi
exquisite mastery of the English language. The Renaissance (during which he wrote) was a particularly transformative time in English history, initiating a sense of English nationalism and pride in English as a language of art. Some critics continue to challenge his authenticity and relevance making the future of Shakespeare within the curriculum of both secondary school and higher education at stake. Shakespearean Literature still speaks to modernity and is therefore important in the ...view middle of the document...
For centuries, individuals have mumbled these words, not knowing their origin. To understand the art of language and culture, Shakespearean Literature must be continued in the schools’ curriculum. Without the knowledge of Shakespeare’s words, the world would miss the opportunity to view the secrets of the human condition. Readers learn the timelessness of his works through his themes-- such as love, romance, familial bonds, deception, revenge, anger, and war. These are all situations in life that happen today, as well as during the Renaissance. There are lessons to be learned from all the plays he has written that apply to our world today.
Although some critics choose to challenge his authenticity due to the fact that there are no hand- written scripts or surviving documents other than title pages, this is not a reason to pull Shakespeare from schools. Many other well-known authors from his century did not leave supporting documentation either, but such lack of hard data does not deny their existence. It is possible that many of William Shakespeare’s plays were written for pure enjoyment and later published. Critics also label the Bard of Avon as illiterate and claim he did not have enough education to write the works, though other playwrights of the era had less education than he. Does it matter centuries later whether the works are literally authentic? Can we not enjoy and learn from them just the same? Yes we can because such discrepancies do not change the mastery he created.
To illustrate Shakespeare’s mastery as storyteller and playwright, let us examine specific excerpts from his works. As You Like It contains one of William Shakespeare’s most famous monologues of all time:
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans...