I link this article on “Shakespeare and Texting” not because it is a new or useful idea (it is neither), but because of this quote:
"The language is terrible," said RayLene Dysert, who teaches freshmen composition at West Texas A&M University and led a recent workshop on teaching Shakespeare for high school teachers.
That pains me in so many ways I can’t begin to tell you, but I’ll give it a shot.
If you think that the language of Shakespeare is terrible you probably shouldn’t be teaching it, don’t ya think? Much less teaching other teachers how to teach it? Really??
Listen. It’s really not that hard to understand. Shakespeare is neither play nor poetry – it is both, simultaneously. Yes, it is complex, but that is precisely why you can’t separate them. Anybody could have written the plot of Romeo and Juliet (as we all know, Shakespeare didn’t invent most of his plots). It’s *how* he wrote it that makes it genius. I think that’s the word you were going for when your word processor swapped it out for “terrible”.
If you want to keep just the play, fine, rewrite it. But it’s no longer poetry, and it’s no longer Shakespeare, so don’t call it that and don’t claim that you made it easier. I can make math easier by getting rid of all numbers greater than 10, too, but that’s not doing my students any favors.
And if you do insist on doing that? You know, because it’s too hard? Please do me and your students a favor and get rid of all studying of all poetry in all forms. Who cares whether Robert Frost was writing about thoughts of suicide in Stopping By Woods? Forget Edgar Allen Poe, let’s have Stephen King. Truth is beauty and beauty truth, and that is all I know on Earth and all I need to know? W TF does that even mean? Poetry has no purpose, after all. It’s hard. Why do they insist on using strange words that I myself don’t use on a daily basis, and why do they order them in unusual ways that I myself would not order them? That’s stupid. Everybody should talk like everybody else, that’s the only thing that makes sense. People who don’t talk like me are stupid, after all. That’s the only lesson to learn, is that the world revolves around me, and if something is different from how I do it? Then it is broken until somebody else fixes it for me.