A Little Shakespeare Goes a Long Way
February 16, 2011
Everybody should know a little Shakespeare. Especially around Valentine's Day, it's really useful to be able to say "The course of true love never did run smooth." Last week, I almost told my wife in regular conversation that "love alters not when it alteration finds." That one I had stockpiled several Valentine Days ago when I couldn’t afford any present for her. So, I memorized William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, and recited it to her. She didn’t swoon exactly, but I still feel satisfied that I earned some serious husband points.
Of course, the library has some great resources for reading Shakespeare. We have hard copies of his plays as well as books that talk about his plays, making them a little easier to understand. I think of them like travel guidebooks. Sure, you could go to Italy on your own, but it goes a lot easier with some help. And if all of our copies are checked out, you might try some of our databases such as the Shakespeare Collection and Bloom’s Literary Reference Online.
Now, if you’re really reluctant to get your feet wet in the Shakespearian pool, if you’re afraid of getting lost in the thee’s and thou’s and wherefore’s, then I recommend starting with a movie. The film adaptations in recent years have been absolutely terrific. They capture all the meaning, and deliver the lines so fluently (as Shakespeare intended) that the story is easy to follow. The latest one I saw, As You Like It, even has ninjas. Seriously. You know your story has universal appeal when people centuries later add ninjas and it doesn’t damage the story. And I’ve always been a fan of Hamlet, but the BBC version featuring Patrick Stewart and David Tennant is life-changing.
So, give Shakespeare a try. I think you won’t protest too much.