From: Dugan <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Thursday, August 27,[masked]:48:51 PM
Subject: [shakespeare-50] What's so great about Shakespeare anyway?
Since there's a bunch of new people in the group, and there's hardly been any action on this list for a while, I thought I'd throw out a question:What first got you into Shakespeare and what do you like about it?
I'm really curious to know what other people get out of it. Myself, I never really paid much attention, because whenever I tried to read the plays I found it so hard to follow what was going on - until a couple of years ago when I randomly heard a recording of King Lear with Alec Guinness, and something clicked. Then I heard Kenneth Branagh doing Hamlet, and it was all over. Instant obsession. Hearing the actors gave me the missing dimension - what's meant to be funny, sad, angry, how the characters relate, what interactions are really going on, etc. And after a few hundred hours listening to this
in bed I even started understanding the language without a dictionary, which also helps.
King Lear and Hamlet - man. I love tragedies in general. I love it when someone takes the bleak miserable horror of the human condition and makes something great with it - it's a wonderful melancholic feeling. Sort of like: wow, there goes another attempt to make sense of things - doomed to fail of course, but damn, what a good effort it was. Goosebumps. My girlfriend thinks I'm a glum bastard, but I'm not, honestly - just a pathos junkie :-)
Then there's a great little book someone gave me called The Shakespeare Wars, which made the case that Shakespeare is the only "bottomless" writer - there's always another level to discover, nobody has ever plumbed the depths. So that was
exciting. A long-term project :-)
Well, I could ramble on, but I won't. Anyone else?
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