Is Shakespeare no longer cool?

Discussion in 'General Fiction' started by fluffy bunny, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. fluffy bunny

    fluffy bunny Tasty or your money back! Staff Member

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    I thought modern Shakespeare adaptations were the in thing with movies (heck even the Lion King is Hamlet with lions), and some of the plots are copied across a wide range if genres (ok the dialogue changes but the plots are still intriguing).

    Granted Shakespeare's work is something that most people have dire memories about being forced to study at school but has anyone gone back to revisit any of his books? Forget the media- which books would you say are his best works (any more importantly why?)
     
  2. Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess

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    Since his plays were written to be performed, it's hard to forget the media. I used to read the plays sometimes, but it's been a while. I think the last one was "A Comedy of Errors." I do love watching them, when they are well done. I'm trying to think of the last one I saw and coming up blank. (But I bet someone is going to mention something they made into a movie, and I'll say, "Oh yes, I saw that.") It's usually after I've seen a great performance of one of the plays that I reread it.

    You're right that there isn't the same interest in Shakespeare's plays that there was a few years ago. Oddly enough, it seems he's been replaced by Jane Austen.
     
  3. chongjasmine

    chongjasmine Registered User

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    I don't really like his works. I only read them only because I have to. They are part of the required readings for my literature class.
     
  4. symbolhunter

    symbolhunter Science-Fantasy Zealot

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    I sympathize with your feeling because, of course, Shakespeare's plays are meant to be seen, not read. There have been some stunning adaptations of Shakespeare which make it clear why he is regarded as the greatest dramatist in English. For instance, Othello as produced and acted by Welles is brilliant. Branagh has done a fine version of Hamlet which, unlike the famous performance of Olivier does not change a word of the original text. Nor would I look down upon (as some do} the modern Romeo and Juliet directed by Baz Luhrmann to which I have seen secondary school pupils respond with clear excitement and emotion.

    A play like King Lear presented on stage or film can be absolutely shattering in its emotional and intellectual impact--particularly in the Dover scenes with its use of stream-of-consciousness technique as the mad king meets the blind noble led by a son pretending madness and in that final clash between the vision of an ordered universe and one which is apparently nihilistic.

    When seen {rather than being read} Shakespeare is COOL! :cool: :cool: :cool:
    {IMHO :)}
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011
  5. Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess

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    When I was studying Shakespeare in school (and they didn't have the media resources we have now) we did watch some of the plays as we read them, and it did enrich the experience.

    I have just recalled, however, that they took us to see a very bad production of "Antony and Cleopatra." Mercifully forgotten. Too bad I remembered it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011
  6. DDCOrange

    DDCOrange Registered User

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    Bravo! My sentiments exactly! I used to have to read Shakespeare in High School many years ago and hated the experience. Shakespeare has always been meant to be performed, not read out.
    Speaking of King Lear, the late Japanese film director Kurasawa, who stole from Shakespeare shamelessly throughout his career made a movie back some 20 years ago called Ran. It was Shakespeare in the medeval world of Japanese samurai only this Lear had three scheming sons, not daughters.
     
  7. Irrelevant

    Irrelevant Registered User

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    I didn't really care for Shakespeare much until I saw the movie adaptation of Othello with Lawrence Fishburne. The language is really tough to wrap your head around, but it's easier to figure out what's going on when you have body language and settings to give it context. It's funny that many of his plays were performed in front of the lower classes in seedy establishments. That means that no one had trouble understanding what was going on back then.

    My personal favorite is The Merchant of Venice. Al Pacino is a great Shylocke in the movie version. I would love to see a Shakespearean play in a live theater. Unfortunately, small towns in southern Indiana don't have thriving theater communities. I'll have to plan a trip to Chicago or Nashville sometime.
     
  8. Evil Agent

    Evil Agent Saturn Comes Back Around

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    First of all, they're not "books", they're plays which are meant to be performed.

    Secondly, Shakespeare is still incredibly popular, possibly more popular than ever. There are new Shakespeare adaptations coming out all the time in Hollywood, as well as annual Shakespeare festivals around the world which are growing in size and popularity.

    It's sad that so many people have a bad experience with Shakespeare in school, because it is truly some of the greatest writing of all time. In fact, it's timeless.

    My favourites are the tragedies (King Lear, Macbeth, Hamlet), but I also really like Richard III.
     
  9. 3rdI

    3rdI Edema Ruh

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    Agreed completely. Shakespeare is the coolest of the cool. Henry V will always be my favorite. The St. Crispen's Day speech is pure genius.
     
  10. JRCarney52

    JRCarney52 Jason Carney

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    My wife and I just saw a production of Hamlet earlier this month in Portland, Oregon. There it seems like classical theater is alive and well.

    Re. the question, "Is Shakespeare no longer cool?" Here's my answer: He's the center of the western canon. He has been the center of the western canon since the middle of the 17th century. He'll probably always be the center of the western canon. :p

    With that said, it's a hunch of mine that the contemporary traditions of sci-fi/fantasy/horror have more to do with the humanism of Shakespeare than contemporary "high" literature, which has forsaken "sensational" aesthetics-- aesthetics that inspire feelings like wonder, the sublime, horror, arousal, terror, mystery, etc..

    *The Tempest* is a borderline fantasy!

    Always we must remember that Bill Shakespeare's plays were "mass art." Be suspicious of those folk who try to make him "high art" and in doing so drain his plays of their ability to thrill the mind and the heart.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
  11. NickeeCoco

    NickeeCoco Reader Staff Member

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    I saw The Merchant of Venice at the rebuilt (albeit in a slightly different spot) Globe in London. It was a lot of fun. To see it outside in the same type of setting that they were originally performed in was pretty damn amazing. It really enriched the whole experience. I've also seen a few at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario. I only live three hours away, so it's nice. My experience in school, when it came to Shakespeare, wasn't a horrible one. I enjoyed it. It also helped that I was in an arts school, so not only did we study it in English, but we would perform them in drama. The English teacher was also the drama teacher, so we had to do a lot of acting in English, too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012
  12. B5B7

    B5B7 Earthman1

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    I consider 'Forbidden Planet' the greatest of all SF movies (as well as also being the precursor for 'Star Trek'), and it is based on 'The Tempest'. Shakespeare is permacool! ;):)
     
  13. symbolhunter

    symbolhunter Science-Fantasy Zealot

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    Absolutely spot on! Shakespeare was popular enough to make money! It was certainly "mass art" and that doesn't stop it from being "great art" as well. Dickens would be a good example of a similar case. F.R. Leavis, the Cambridge critic, who was highly influential in the mid-twentieth century, wouldn't put Dickens in his "Great Tradition" of English novelists because he was a populariser. Perhaps this tells us more about Leavis than Dickens. ;)
     
  14. elementumvita

    elementumvita New Member

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    Of course

    He will forever be cool, I think the world is just getting dumber.
     
  15. macbeth008

    macbeth008 New Member

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    I have seen a movie which related with shakespeare's life. it's really very nice movie. in the movie, shakespeare is a poet and also a good dramatist. he has faced many problem in his life. what do you know about shakeapeare.
    corbett tour package
     
  16. belowforty

    belowforty New Member

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    Shakespeare is like a inspiration to writers of this generation. His early plays were mainly comedies. But Tragedies written by him like Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, and Macbeth are the finest works in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights.
     
  17. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    Forever cool and forever taught badly by incompetents.

    English teachers screw up science fiction also.

    Yeah, Forbidden Planet is great. But modern stuff needs to be added to a lot of Shakespeare adaptions to make it interesting.

    Like the songs America and Officer Krupke in West Side Story.

    psik
     
  18. HMart

    HMart Xarhian Longtooth

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    Perfectly stated.

    Although, I find that every play/theatrical version I've seen outdoes any of the movie versions. There's something about witnessing things as they were originally intended that trumps variations, every time, for me.
     
  19. DennisC

    DennisC Heritage, Not Hate

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    Oh, man I LOVE Shakespeare. He is often wasted on high school students though. Very few pre-college kids will enjoy it. I didn't enjoy Shakespeare until I gave it an honest shot and put some thought into it. Now, I catch any local Shakespeare play and any film taht ocmes out.

    He is still way cool imo. But then... I am 'old' at 38. =)
     
  20. theonefirestorm

    theonefirestorm Registered User

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    Agreed To Be or Not To Be is one of the most famous well known lines in the history of Literature.