It is with tremendous shame and utter humiliation that I admit I don’t read Shakespeare. It doesn’t make sense, because I love Shakespeare. The tragedies make me cry, the comedies make me laugh… When I see them performed. But I can’t just sit down and READ it. What kind of a bookworm am I?!
My first encounter with the bard was when we read A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 8th grade. Freshman year we did Romeo and Juliet. Sophomore year was Julius Caesar. Senior year we read Hamlet and Two Gentlemen of Verona. After enjoying the plays in class and seeing an incredible version of Two Gentlemen at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, I was a Shakespeare devotee.
I was also a HUGE fan of 10 Things I Hate About You starring the late Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles. One of my favorite bands, Letters to Cleo, was featured in the movie and on the soundtrack. Everybody, even angsty teenagers, knew that the movie was an interpretation of The Taming of The Shrew. I trusted in my mantra of “the book is always better than the movie,” so I decided I needed to read the play. I was so sure I was going to love it that I bought it in a compilation of Shakespearean comedies, so I could bone up on more plays and be extra super smart.
I made it about 20 pages into The Taming of the Shrew before I threw in the towel. I had taken for granted the teachers explaining the social implications of biting one’s thumb and the benefit of hearing different voices speaking their parts. I just couldn’t follow it, and I haven’t picked it up since. I keep it on my bookshelf though, because I want to appear intelligent. Sadly, I’m not brilliant enough for Shakespeare. Bookworm fail.
Any of my wormy friends have tips for enjoying the READING of Shakespeare? Am I the only person who has this problem?