Talking about Macbeth today, my 25yr old coworker told me that the only play he really remembers well from school is Hamlet.
"Maybe I'm just going through my cranky geek phase," say I, "But Hamlet has just lost its luster for me. There comes a time when you study it so much and you've analyzed every word, it's just so hard to appreciate the brilliance anymore. It's hard to argue that it is perfection when you know for a fact that Shakespeare wrote at least 3 different versions of something. Which one is better? Why? Did he just change it at will, and we only have those few copies?"
I wonder if that's true for the real hardcore Shakespeare academics, or if they simply take it to a different level. I remember thinking during Rosenbaum's Shakespeare War how often he commented on questions that were impossible to answer, but the pursuit of those answers anyway. As an engineer that hurts my brain. If I know a question to be unanswerable, then dwelling on it would make me depressed. And if we basically say, "We don't know which version is 'more Shakespearean' and never will", that does not motivate me to hunt for the answer, it makes me sad that the answer does not exist.
Anybody know what I'm talking about? I think I'm more into Lear lately not just because I'm the father of daughters, but also because it is relatively new ground to me. I haven't analyzed it into the ground yet.