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Tips to Better Understand Shakespeare


Our education system is passionate about Shakespeare and keen to keep his plays alive even though he has been dead for hundreds of years! Many schools, throughout the world have Shakespeare in their curriculum. As part of the syllabus, students enact plays such as Hamlet, Macbeth and Julius Caesar. Literature majors will agree with the fact that Shakespearean language is rich and the plays are full of complex characters. Moreover, the plays are based around specific themes such as treachery, honour, politics and love etc. But students find it gruelling, especially the Elizabethan English.They argue that Shakespeare was never meant to be studied in classrooms, rather, it was meant for the stage! Shakespeare is a component of dramatic literature. It requires students to concentrate and think. Many students are of the opinion that Shakespeare may have been a tragedy reason being that nearly of his plays had heartrending endings. His plays glamourized dark characters and gave them importance. However, many English teachers and lecturers will agree with the fact that Shakespeare's themes were based on different shades of the human personality, the good, the bad and the evil. The playwright was a master of his language. His works have a creative flow that ticks the consciousness. Historians say that Shakespeare also created his own grammar and vocabulary because he didn't want his writing to be constrained. He created words such as 'amazement', 'windle', and 'lacklustre'amongst many others.

Students Find Shakespeare Difficult

Shakespeare works have too much history and intense dialogues. Students say that it doesn't match with the modern-day language. They complain of not being able to keep up with the script. Moreover, teachers and lecturers end up giving them assignments to analyse and interpret the plays. High School students find reading Shakespeare plays useless. They cannot relate to the theme nor deliberate on it. Some say that the teachers just make them brush up the dialogues for dramatic stage plays. Students feel that there's nothing to it. They lose sleep over having to stay up all night to cramp up the dialogues. Moreover, students cannot relay the plays to their everyday lives. They say it's boring and time consuming. Overall, teachers take the life out of the plays by taking all the fun out. And students find the playwright's works out-dated! 

Tips to Better Understand Shakespeare

With, students can tackle any assignments and projects related to Shakespeare. The organization understands the students' problems and has solutions for it too. Shakespeare is demanding, yes but with a little bit of time spent on it and a bit of thinking, it becomes comprehensible. Students should always keep in mind that nothing is too difficult. They should always be ready to take a challenge. Here are a few tips:

  • Read the Summary - this is for those students who find it tiresome to go through the entire play. It's best to read the summary. They will find that the summaries contain the important scenes and plots. Students should also go through character analysis to know them better.
  • Watch a Shakespeare Play or Movie - plays and movies sound more interesting. Students will get a feel of what the story is really about. They just have to watch and pay attention to know what's happening.
  • Open Discussions - after students have seen or read the play, they can discuss their opinions. They should express what they felt for the characters. Students can ask questions as to the importance of the particular scene and what if it hadn't been in the play. Teachers should initiate open discussions.
  • Get Familiar with the Language -it's fun to learn and communicate in different languages. Students should learn the Shakespearean Language and talk to their classmates and friends in it. This will help them get a grip of the language and understand the plays.
  • Don't Worry - students shouldn't worry about not being able to understand a particular scene or verse. They should note it down and move on. Then they can ask their teachers to help them understand.
  • Become a Writer - those wanting to take up careers in writing or authoring books should study Shakespeare's plays. They can go through the narrating and writing style and the elements of the story. Shakespeare became renowned world over because he knew his audience and communicated with them through the plays.

When reading Shakespeare, keep a dictionary handy. Students can build their vocabulary and writing style. Another way to grasp Shakespeare is by rewriting the play in the your own words.

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