Something about the URL caught my eye. This is just one of many “no fear” type of sites that summarize the plays, but I particularly liked their style. It’s very introductory, but that’s my thing – I’d much rather introduce kids to a light and fluffy version of the story to hook them, and then show them the real thing later. It’s tough to strike a balance between “trust me, this is fun, look at all the jokes and comedy” and “No, seriously, you are reading what many people consider to be the greatest literature ever written, genuflect whenever you turn the page.” But I thought from a quick skim that this site did a fair job at it.
Note what I said, though – kids. Younguns. What I hate and have always hated is when older kids (nay, adults) use sites like this as their one and only exposure to Shakespeare, figuring that if they just get the plot and characters then it’ll be enough to pass the test or hold a conversation at a party. That’s the logic I use with my children. My 4yr old knows plot and character, don’t be getting all proud of yourself.
What if you’re an adult with no exposure to Shakespeare? That troubles me, but I realize it’s a legit question. Any adult that comes up to me and says, “I’ve never read Shakespeare before, where should I start?” automatically wins points for *wanting* to learn, when they don’t have to. Those are not the folks who are going to say “Ok, cool, I read the Cliff Notes now I’m all set.” I’m perfectly happy to direct those folks to a summary/paraphrasing of the work, with the strong suggestion that they see the show and read the original as well.