5 Reasons You Need to Read Shakespeare’s Work if You Haven’t Yet

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William Shakespeare, possibly the greatest playwright ever, captured characters in a way one cannot possibly Imagine. And how they behave in various scenarios. His plays are as relevant today as they were when he wrote them, possibly more so.  I remember attending Shakespeare’s festival in Oregon last year, and I couldn’t take my eyes off the lines, the characters, the plot, probably everything. I was in awe of how powerful the storyline was. Since then I have been a huge fan of his work. I have read almost all his plays. I strongly believe that reading his work will change your perception of the situations you face in your life. And here’s why : 

1. You already quote Shakespeare, even when you don’t know it. 

Yes, It may be hard for you to believe this, but his work and his quotes are all around us even after 400 years.

“It is not in the Stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” – Julius Caesar

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none” –All’s Well That Ends Well

"It's not enough to speak but to speak true" -A Midsummer Night's dream 
“To be or not to be”- Hamlet

Sounds familiar? You must have used these quotes in your Instagram or Facebook, without even knowing you are quoting Shakespeare. His quotes are still very famous and relevant today. Which is why people love them. 

2. Shakespeare speaks to us in our darkest moments and lets us know we are not alone in our anger, frustration, and sorrow.
Good literature can function a catharsis, or release of emotions once we feel isolated, furious, traumatized, and so on. A number of Shakespeare’s sonnets speak with such raw, transparent intensity that the reader has no choice but to be anxious by their emotional import. For example, Sonnet 147 describes the misfortune of hating a former lover but still being consumed with desire. During this case, the explanation is sort of a physician overwhelmed by the feverish and deadly disease of passion: 
My love is as a fever, longing still
For that which longer nurseth the disease,
Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill,
The’ uncertain sickly appetite to please.
My reason, the physician to my love,
Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,
Hath left me, and I desperate now approve
Desire is death, which physic did except.
Past cure I am, now reason is past care,
And frantic-mad with evermore unrest;
My thoughts and my discourse as madmen’s are,
At random from the truth vainly expressed;
For I have sworn thee fair and thought thee bright,
Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.

If you have never had a former significant other inspire similar feelings in you, count yourself lucky and commit Sonnet 147 to memory as a warning.

3. Shakespeare shares a kind of comic universe you would never want to leave.

It hardly seems fair that someone so profound should also be funnier than everyone else, but we’re all the luckier that Shakespeare decided to blend comedy with profundity. He can turn even the most tragic scenes, into a dark comedy, a kind of comedy you would certainly enjoy reading. We all know that Comedy acts as a protective shield and allows us to be happy and deal with life, and he understood that better than any dramatist of that era. Much Ado About Nothing is a grand demonstration of Shakespeare’s sense of humor. 

4. Reading Shakespeare will transform your understanding of language and thereby expand your consciousness.

Reading Shakespeare will transform your understanding of language and thereby expand your consciousness.
Shakespeare has introduced around 1700 words in the English language. By reading him carefully and absorbing the most amount of his vocabulary as possible, you will reshape your ability to understand ideas and perceive the world around you. Put simply, reading Shakespeare improves your critical thinking and reading skills. 

5. It is not that Hard!

I understand if you feel I am stupid to say this, but before I ever read his plays, I too felt that his work and language were too hard for me to understand. Well, his work has also been translated into modern English. So what you can do is go read that, and then watch his plays available on any online platform like Netflix or youtube. When you actually start reading his work, within 10 minutes you would be so hooked up to it that you won’t be able to keep your book until you have finished it. Shakespeare traces politics, psychology, and even human emotions trapped in the plot in such a way that it keeps you want to read more and more of his work.  Shakespeare’s plays and poems still matter to us because his plots still resonate, his characters still leave their mark, his language still moves and startles. His writings are one of a kind, which is why he still lives with us, in the forms of stories that will never die. 

Written by - Muskaan Kaur Saudagar

Edited by - Bushra Makhdoomi
5 Reasons You Need to Read Shakespeare’s Work if You Haven’t Yet 5 Reasons You Need to Read Shakespeare’s Work if You Haven’t Yet Reviewed by Bushra M on May 02, 2020 Rating: 5

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