Active Now

Discussion » Questions » Entertainment » For those who have ever seen a Shakespeare play, did you understand it?

For those who have ever seen a Shakespeare play, did you understand it?


Posted - February 6


  • 35
    Yes I did.
      February 6, 2020 9:22 AM MST

  • 3932
    Yes, everyone dies eventually. lol
      February 6, 2020 11:14 AM MST

  • 9015
    So true and in life, too!
      February 6, 2020 2:55 PM MST

  • 9015
    Yes I have and yes I understood many of the words.
    They aren't as we speak them now and the syntax is not the same. 

    I really like the fact that we inadvertently come back to the way language has changed.

    As simple as the word "gay" has changed the meaning.  Then again, people who are not gay don't know.  Maybe the people that are gay are gay as well and "straight" people aren't willing to know.  When did "straight" belong to hedrodsexualals?  We all change.
    I feel like my grandparents when they used to say,  "bite your tongue."
    I'm not sure I like the way the language is reflecting the feelings the young people feel.
    Maybe I'm afraid of how the younger generation feels.
    Who knows?
    But Shakespeare did write some operas with feeling and emotion.
    What some might call soap operas these days.
    Degrading to Shakespeare,  isn't it?

    This post was edited by Merlin at February 6, 2020 7:20 PM MST
      February 6, 2020 3:00 PM MST

  • 3640
    So many delicious things to reply to in your reply. :)

    Some of the syntax in Shakespeare really is quite different from the way we phrase things now.
    But Shakespeare plays with and warps even the syntax of his own day, usually for the sake of poetic meter and rhyme. This makes it easier for the actors to remember their lines. He will also juggle his word order for the sake of puns, jokes and innuendo.
    Also, rules of grammar and spelling had not yet been fully formalised in Shakespeare's time.

    Soap operas tend to emphasise family life, personal relationships, sexual dramas, and emotional and moral conflicts.
    By contrast, deeper dramas incorporate larger social issues. In Shakespeare's time, such issues could include:
    Macbeth - appearance versus reality, ambition, corruption, transformation, order & disorder, guilt, remorse, sin & revenge, what it may mean to be a man, and much more.
    King Lear - dementia, identity, cruelty, possession/property
    Measure for Measure - justice and balance
    Richard III - conflict between evil and good, including the ability to mask evil with a fair face, the mad psychopathology inherent in the drive for power.

    Modernist playwrights (Beckett, Ibsen, Pinta et al.) tended to focus more on existentialist issues.

    Nowadays, the top literary writers tend to focus on different social issues - the injustices suffered by asylum seekers and refugees, racism, economic exploitation, ecological disaster, human rights issues - anything that dominates the world stage (local only used insofar as it exemplifies the global) in issues of journalism.
      February 6, 2020 6:15 PM MST

  • 9015
    A delectable bit of knowledge you have added to my reply.  I absolutely enjoyed and learned many things.
    Thank you bookworm.
    It is always a delight when you respond back and a true pleasure to read and see you.
    :) :) This post was edited by Merlin at February 7, 2020 5:26 PM MST
      February 7, 2020 5:24 PM MST

  • 3640
    ditto! :D

      February 8, 2020 5:37 AM MST

  • 3640
    Yes. No problem.
    The language has not drifted so far as to make Elizabethan English incomprehensible. 
    It does require alert, concentrated listening. 

    How well the actors project emotion in their tone of voice
    and annunciate and pace their speech
    can make a big difference in the ease of comprehension.

    Another option, for someone who's keen enough, is to read the script before going to the play.
    The deeper one knows it, the more one can get out of it.

      February 6, 2020 6:23 PM MST

  • I wonder how Shakespeare's writings would read

    if they were translated into modern day "text-speak"?  Heaven forbid.  LOL!
      February 6, 2020 7:18 PM MST

  • 3640
    I'm sure some digital native at drama school would already have done it.
    I don't think there's ever been a period in which actors and dramaturgs didn't attempt performances with updated language and setting.
      February 8, 2020 5:39 AM MST

  • 29367
    That's a lot of work just to see a play. One must needs have interest, also.
      February 7, 2020 3:18 PM MST

  • 3640
    Part of my interest is to see how he weaves his plot, characters and dialogue together.
    He makes writing a play seem easy,
    but just try it and instantly the difficulties multiply.
    I doubt I'll ever manage it.
      February 8, 2020 5:42 AM MST

  • 5620
    "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!"

    As a youth of 10 or 11, I saw James Earl Jones as King Lear. His booming voice and an awesome performance.
      February 6, 2020 6:27 PM MST

  • And then there is this... "A horse is a horse.  Of course.  Of course."  LOL!
      February 6, 2020 7:15 PM MST

  • 5620
    Ah yes. Mister Ed, one of Shakespeare's lesser known works!
      February 6, 2020 8:36 PM MST

  • 46255
    Yeah.  When they make a movie out of it with Mel Gibson, it helps.   Mel is a pathetic human being who worships his racist father (sound familiar?) but he is a hell of an actor and producer.  Trump?  He is a hell.  Period.  

    This post was edited by WM BARR . =ABSOLUTE TRASH at February 7, 2020 10:36 AM MST
      February 6, 2020 7:17 PM MST

  • 2858
    I can't say what I really think about Billy Shakespeare or I'll be moderated so hard hard you'd believe you were watching hardcore porn
      February 6, 2020 7:20 PM MST

  • Did someone say porn?
      February 6, 2020 7:22 PM MST

  • Yes.
      February 6, 2020 7:21 PM MST