Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Happy Birthday Mr. Shakespeare

Shakespeare has survived for over 400 years simply because his works speak to the human soul.

Balcony Scene Romeo and Juliet from David Paul Kirkpatrick on Vimeo.

And the scene below from the Merchant of seen as a controversial play for its portrayal of a stereotypical (read antisemitic caricature) Jewish villain. But in this play Shakespeare authored one of the most lyrical tracts against antisemitism and actually calls out the Christian world for their Jew-hatred. At a time when Jews, by law, were forbidden to live in England and antisemitism was part and parcel of all Christian teachings, Shakespeare wrote this:

Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st,
   So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
   So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Sadly too many colleges and high schools no longer teach Shakespeare. In fact teaching about western civilization is under attack across the board. When you don't study the greatest writer in human history, how could it be possible to really learn to read and write? Sadly most students do not graduate highschool with the ability to compose a research paper, never mind read, write and analyze any written material. In fact, most high school graduates are not college ready in the least. And this inability to express themselves using the written word doesn't change much for most college graduates either.


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