You might have been forced to read Romeo and Juliet in high school. You might have abhorred it, too. It's not a myth that William Shakespeare wrote in a language that's difficult for us to understand today. Still, many people dismiss Shakespeare after being exposed to merely one or two plays, they were force-fed in school. There is so much more to the Shakespeare canon than Romeo or Julius Caesar, but many people are unwilling to give him a chance.
There are numerous reasons for giving Shakespeare another shot; however, many that you probably wouldn't have ever thought of. Here are a few of the reasons I have continued to study Shakespeare at the university level, and why you too might want to give Shakespeare a chance.
Not only did Shakespeare use a vast vocabulary, he even added words to our English vernacular. If you want to speak in a more verbose manner, brush up on your Shakespeare. There are versions of his plays that are accompanied with 'translations' of some of the words he uses, so that you don't need to be flipping through a dictionary every other line.
Universal Lessons on Humanity
Shakespeare may have been sexist and a racist, but many of his stories can be applied to the modern world. His themes on love, marriage, friendships, and leadership can hold true today, just as they did during the reign of the Virgin Queen. His universally applicable stories are part of the reason the bard's works are still so popular hundreds of years after they were first composed.
Expanding the Mind
There's no doubt about it―reading and understanding Shakespeare is a skill that must be learned. It's something you can add to your repertoire of skills. The more you read, the better at understanding Shakespearean verse you'll become.
How awesome is it when you're having a conversation and someone whips out a few lines of Shakespeare? For example, if you're discussing a relationship drama between friends, you could pepper your replies with Shakespeare quotes such as, "All the world's a stage..." It certainly would impress me!
Impressing the Ladies/Gentlemen
Forget sweet nothings―whisper sweet somethings to your partner! If you can memorize a few lines of Shakespeare's sonnets, you'll have your lover swooning in a non-counterfeit fashion!
Don't you just feel stupid some days? Reading Shakespeare is a great way to make yourself feel a little smarter. If you learn how to interpret his language, you can pick up just about any play and understand it. So, on those days when you stub your toe or forget to turn in an important document, you can pick up a copy of Much Ado About Nothing― and feel better about yourself and your mental capacity.
If you're not big on reading, try viewing Shakespeare. You have two choices―film or theatrical versions―to choose from. That way, you have no excuse! Give ol' Willy another chance. You might find your tastes have matured or you could discover a play you actually like. All we are saying is, give Shakespeare a chance!