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Lee Jamieson

What Does Shakespeare Mean To You?

By January 5, 2009

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“What does Shakespeare mean to you?” is just one of the important questions to be asked in UK schools later this month. Schools nationwide have been invited by the Royal Shakespeare Company to explore the importance of the Bard in their Stand Up for Shakespeare Assemblies Week (26-30 January).

I can’t imagine a better way to start 2009! For too long schools have been prepping their students for Shakespeare exams and have been forgetting to ask these vital questions. To really enjoy Shakespeare, you have to have a personal connection with his writing – and this is something that cannot be nurtured through exam prep.

Before I get swamped with complaints from well-meaning teachers, I should point out that I by no means blame them – they just have so much work to get through and league tables to deal with. I’m just glad that the Royal Shakespeare Company is on hand to nurture a genuine enjoyment of Shakespeare in school-aged children.

I can’t wait to hear some of the answers to this question. I’ve long been fascinated by stories about how people’s lives have been touched by Shakespeare. So, in the lead up to a national debate and exploration of Shakespeare, let’s ask that all important question right here: what does Shakespeare mean to you?

Comments

January 6, 2009 at 1:03 am
(1) Wade says:

What a great question, one that warrants a book-length response. But I’ll try to keep my answer short and simple.

To me, Shakespeare’s lines are like little puzzle-treasures. When you spend a little time with the words, they reward your soul in countless ways.

January 7, 2009 at 11:03 am
(2) Kris says:

That is so true! I wouldn’t want to add anything to Wade’s comment – he explains it perfectly :-)

January 7, 2009 at 12:50 pm
(3) Mary says:

He means the world to me!
I know too sappy :D
But really, he is my muse, he was the reason I choosed my field of study (English Lit), and now, I’m doing my masters. I learned how to write from his words, and now, I’m preparing my book for publishing. Shakespeare has played a very important role in my life, I will ever be graeful for him.
I also agree wholeheartedly with Wade!

January 9, 2009 at 6:06 am
(4) Spunky says:

When I make love to my wife, I like to leave the Collected Works open on the bedroom floor so I can look at it while we’re doing it. It makes me feel like I’m making love to the words, you know? I’m not kidding.

January 12, 2009 at 8:18 pm
(5) wulfrunian says:

I seem to have written poems forever but, not until I read and understood his sonnets did I have any perception as to what poetry is all about.

January 22, 2009 at 8:25 pm
(6) Dilan says:

My mother played Juliet as a professional actress in England in the 60′s. My first memory of Shakespeare is of her reciting passages from the plays in an attempt to get me interested in literature. She didn’t have much success back then, but it rubbed off. In college I fell in love with the texts and ended up writing the first in a series of animal Shakespeare adaptations in an attempt to get kids excited about the Bard.

Shakespeare can be magical, but far too often the traditional way of teaching Shakespeare doesn’t do the job. I commend the RSC for trying something new.

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