Thursday, September 6, 2012

What is Shakespeare?

"Shakespeare Without His Language" by Dennis Kennedy

In "Shakespeare Without His Language," Dennis Kennedy explains the differences between English and "foreign" adaptations of Shakespeare by describing various versions of his plays throughout history. He also talks about how Shakespeare is foreign to everyone, even English audiences.

"...some foreign performances may have a more direct access to the power of the plays" (5).

"The fact is, harsh as it may sound to some teachers of English, we do not speak the same language as Shakespeare: at best we speak a remote dialect of it" (5).

"We cannot affect our fates, only hasten them: personal survival and stoic perseverance are solemn protests against the cosmic odds, hugely stacked against us" (10).

"In the end Shakespeare doesn't belong to any nation or anybody: Shakespeare is foreign to all of us" (16).  

"Shakespeare in the Bush" by Laura Bohannon

In "Shakespeare in the Bush," Laura Bohannon describes a time when she told the story of Hamlet to a tribe in West Africa. She explains how she learned that there is more than one interpretation of Hamlet.

"Hamlet was again a good story to them, but it no longer seemed quite the same story to me."

"...people are the same everywhere..."

"We, who are elders, will instruct you in their true meaning, so that when you return to your own land your elders will see that you have not been sitting in the bush, but among those who know things and who have taught you wisdom."

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