I’m not sure what to write about today. This is my 99th post and all I can think about is how today was just a good day. Not a memorable day, but just a good day– or at least good enough that I feel good right now.
I have a confession to make. Nothing bad.
Tomorrow, I have to turn in the title to an essay I have to write for my Shakespeare class that is due in 4th quarter. I only had one idea– the role of women in Shakespeare, particularly Ophelia in Hamlet and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. They’re two VERY different characters, and it’s kind of along the lines of feminism (which I’ve been thinking about MORE lately since I joined FFB). However, over the course of a quick conversation with my teacher, my new topic will be Sociology in Shakespeare, as in how does Shakespeare represent societal issues, stereotypes, and ideas in his works? Like antisemitism in the Merchant of Venice, religion in Hamlet, women in any of his plays (but particularly Taming of the Shrew), racism in Othello… I’m already really excited about writing it, though I wonder how I will fit all that I could find to say into a four or five page paper.
I’m sure it’s obvious by now, my confession is that I’m a bit of a Shakespeare nerd. It’s completely unsurprising, actually; I’ve talked about my Shakespeare class a lot over many posts, and I love spending time at the bookstore looking for books that are inspired by some of his works. I find his sonnets to be beautiful, his plays to be wonderfully complex, and his language to be enchanting. I love his characters, and they’re written so well that I can’t help but marvel at his mastery. I mean, granted, some of his characters annoy me to no end, but I think that’s a good thing– they’re so real, enough that I respond emotionally to their stories.
Earlier this year, I had never read Shakespeare before (my education has been lacking; usually freshmen read Romeo and Juliet but my class didn’t). I had only heard about the class from some of my friends over the years (all positive reviews), but I’ve also heard bad things about Shakespeare’s works– how it’s confusing and complicated and overwhelming and the language is dull or hard to understand. My mom is particularly fond of informing me that she couldn’t make it through three weeks of Shakespeare in high school and she thinks I’m insane because I love it.
The thing is, I wanted to learn Shakespeare. I wanted to take this class, if anything just to read classic literature (I love most classics); as a writer, I figured learning the stories that are ingrained into our culture would only help me. But taking this class has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in high school. I doubt that I could have started reading Shakespeare on my own, and I doubt that I would have loved it as much if I had just read that one play as a freshman; I fear that my view of it would be skewed by the opinions of my classmates and a general reluctance to understand. But as I spent time in France (and had to read a bit of Shakespeare to French class… in English…), I thought about how sad it was that I had never read anything of his. How sad it was that I was missing out on such an important part of English literature. So I signed up for Shakespeare 101 and 102, which turns a semester class into a two-semester class and I have enjoyed every second of it.
At the beginning of the year, my teacher asked us if we had read Shakespeare before– most had read Romeo and Juliet— and if we had a favorite. The answer was no, we didn’t have a favorite, due to lack of exposure.
I still don’t know what my favorite would be. I still can’t choose. I love his comedies (we read the Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado about Nothing)– the puns and insults are hilarious! The Tempest (one of his romances) was powerful and there’s that one speech… The Merchant of Venice forced me to think and sparked incredibly interesting debates in my class. Henry V is a history, but the tale transcends generations (also, comparing the movies was fun). We spent too much time on Hamlet, but I really didn’t mind because I still love it despite the fact that I spent 9 weeks working on it in English and in Shakespeare 101. And now we’re reading Othello and there are mysteries to be solved in each character of the play. I’m intrigued. The point is, I don’t know if I will ever be able to choose a favorite.
Anyway, now you know. I’m a Shakespeare nerd.
Confession time is fun. Any confessions about nerdy pursuits? I’d love to hear them, especially if you share my love for Shakespeare!