SHOULD SHAKESPEARE BE TAUGHT IN SCHOOLS TODAY?
Romeo and Juliet? Were they the characters from "Twilight" the book?
In this digital age where I belong, I am privileged to be able to have access to the most updated literature. With one click, I am able to browse the newest book I can feast my mind on. I am able to get to the books written by men and women all over the world. I have vast of choices all in front of my electronic notebook. In fact, I have read all the series of "Twilight" right before it hit the bookstores.
And the answer is no- Romeo and Juliet were never a part of "Twilight".
Despite the many advances and choices that we are faced in this age, I firmly believe that Shakespeare's works such as "Romeo and Juliet", "Othello", "Macbeth" among others should be taught as part of literature classes today.
First of all, Shakespeare and his works are timeless. His literary genius applied during his time is still true to this date. His characters displayed pride, dreams and longing- all of these emotions are still being experienced by us as much as it was during his time. "Romeo and Juliet" for example has survived centuries of being read and seen on plays.
On the other hand, extreme love of a person to the point of taking one's life as what was depicted in the play is still true in todays setting. Last year alone, in the US, two teenagers were told by their parents to focus on their studies and be apart for a while so they can focus on their priorities. Jackson Powell (18) and Nicole Dones (17) were believed to have run away together and are still reported to be missing. Such display of extreme love and overcoming all barriers have always been present across time.
Second, Shakespeare's works are universal. They transcend cultural and geographical boundaries. Shakespeare's insights into human emotions are experienced by someone in the Far East just as someone from the Americas would. In "Hamlet", he presented the need for someone to be consoled and be listened to during a stage of a life crisis. He also provided us the consequences that if someone is left abandoned with no one to talk to, this person might go demented. On the other hand, the undying sorrow, love and pain that happens on his plays are still quite undeniably occurring to everyone despite the social status such as in "Romeo and Juliet". The story plot is about how much we can give up for love. It is about betrayal, forbidden love, anger and despair. Doesn't this still happen today? We know that people all over the world die for love, some unrequited and some to follow their loved ones in the afterlife. Clearly, all of humanity can relate and may have experienced these kind of emotions in varied circumstances.
Finally, we are given a chance to experience the morals of his stories through the use of dramas as medium. In the case of "Romeo and Juliet", it is the undying and genuine love for a beloved. While in "Hamlet", it is the importance of having to share your thoughts to someone you trust to keep you grounded. His other masterpiece, "Midsummer Nights Dream" teaches us that despite of the many misunderstandings within a group everything can be solved in the end.
Despite the fact that we are living in a world where popular literatures seem to be the trend, it is very crucial that Shakespeare and his works still be taught in schools like mine. Shakespeare's literary genius and unique writing style as evidenced through his sonnets and dramas should be made available to one and all. It is our only and the next generations' chance to partake of the classic masterpieces that embodies timelessness, universality and morals unto our minds and spirits.
It is therefore in my strong opinion that Shakespeare and his works still be taught now and for the next generations to come.
© Cora Vivian.