All the World's a Stage: Why Shakespeare Matters
Many iconoclasts who shape public discourse in academic circles today argue that Shakespeare is outdated, unintelligible, and unnecessary. Why, then, do some schools (certainly classical schools) insist on teaching such "antiquated dribble" as described by some.
English is the most important language in the world today, but until the second half of the sixteenth century, it had little influence in world affairs. For several centuries it was nothing more than a mishmash of Anglo-Saxon, Gaelic, Breton, Welsh, French, and Latin. The Renaissance was late to bloom in England, being separated from the continent by the English Channel, It wasn't until the second half of the sixteenth century that England began to rise in power, wealth, and status, and with these developments came a flourishing of culture. England's influence and its nascent linguistic features, spread to every corner of the globe.
The evolution of the English language was never more richly shaped during this period than by the pen of William Shakespeare.
Shakespeare took the words, expressions, and features of the dialects and languages spoken and written at the time and crafted out of his brilliant mind thousands of new words with which the world began to (and still does) speak, think, write, sing, express, and convey every facet and emotion of the universal human experience. The English language is rich and its palate colorful thanks to the genius of Shakespeare, and it is vital that we study the origin of our shared linguistic heritage if we are to master it ourselves.
By studying Shakespeare's works we learn more than the virtues of the English language as encapsulated in its grammar, vocabulary, and expressions. Perhaps more importantly, we learn what it means to be fully human - our frailties, tragedies, great loves and great losses, the full panoply of emotional depth and breadth, euphoria and misery, friendship, courage, wisdom, humor, and truth - all of which transcend cultures and time. If a school is charged with forming human minds and spirits, then we cannot ignore one of our greatest teachers and sources of inspiration to aide us in that task.
Spring into Shakespeare is next weekend. We hope you will join us for what promises to be a truly delightful evening of entertainment with The Bard! For more information or to reserve your seat,
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