Importance of Teaching Shakespeare in Schools

Satisfactory Essays
Romeo and Juliet have the most well known love story of all time, even though some people have never even read it. This is the impact Shakespeare has had on literature. He wrote plays over a century ago, yet they are still known and popular, such as Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Macbeth, and of course Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare’s work should be taught in school due to that fact that he made so many advancements in the English language, he is a popular reference, and his works explain how people used to live and speak.
William Shakespeare made significant advancements in the English language from the help of his influence in theatre. He made his entire crew well respected and well known, and his works were enjoyed by many, including Queen Elizabeth I. Since he reached so many people, when he created a new word or phrase, it quickly caught on with his audience. Many phrases that are used today were coined by Shakespeare all those years ago. Mercutio says, “Nay, if thy wits run the wild-goose chase” (2.4.71), and this was the first use of the widely known phrase of “sending someone on a wild goose chase”. Then when Juliet is saying good bye to Romeo, Shakespeare writes, “Parting is such sweet sorrow” (2.2.184), which is still sometimes used today though not as often as his other phrase “star crossed lovers”, which is seen throughout this play. It is important for us to know this because it teaches us a little about how language evolves, yet stays the same. Everything grows and changes, but his plays are still wildly known and referenced.
There are many instances in our society in which one of Shakespeare’s plays are referenced. Look at movies and at least 20 of the romances have a reference to Romeo and Juliet and their infamous relationship, such as “Warm Bodies”, “West Side Story”, and “Lion King II”. While some references are more blatantly obvious, others are much more subtle. Not all references to Shakespeare are for Romeo and Juliet though, such as “She’s the Man” is about Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” and “The Lion King” is in referenced to “Hamlet”. But references aren’t the only modern representations of Shakespeare, there are also plenty of adaptations of his plays. To fully understand these references, there needs to be prior knowledge of his writing and what his purpose and audience were.
While learning Shakespeare we also learn about Elizabethan culture.
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