Book Hippo

Friday, September 27, 2013

Reading Shakespeare

One thing you have to remember when reading Shakespeare is that it was a different time. In Elizabethan times, the main teachings were of paranoid style of thinking. Everyone was out to get you in Elizabethan times, or so they taught everyone. So you can look for paranoia in Shakespeare or look at how he handles psychology and motivations and see how a paranoid audience would have thought about what he was saying.

Another thing, social ranking was everything. It dictated who walked into a room before whom and all the seating arrangements of a dinner party. Elizabethan people were supposed to stick up for their rank, too, but in a certain way. They also had to have self-control or decorum.

If an old man of inferior rank walked in before a young man of higher rank, the young man would say, for everyone to hear, "I'm very happy to let my aged friend in before me." Therefore letting everyone know that he understood his rank and was letting others know, while having the self-control and manners to let an older person take precedence.

This is another thing you can look for in Shakespeare and if you find a character who does not have self-control, you know that his audience would have seen that as very bad and unworthy. Hint: look for royal or high born people who lose it. The audience would have been scandalized.

I've got to read Shakespeare again myself, it's time to re-learn the Bard.

1 comment:

  1. I learn something new every time I read Shakespeare. He is such a font of information.