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Re: [shakespeare-50] What's so great about Shakespeare anyway?

From: user 7.
Sent on: Friday, August 28, 2009 1:19 AM
For me it's the language -- as with Jane Austen, every word counts, every syllable is there for a reason, and I can relax in the joy of hearing language used skillfully, understandably, and merrily.
I've been in Chile for three months, but will be back in September, and look forward to joining you again for readings.
Judy Cree

On Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 10:48 PM, Dugan <[address removed]> wrote:
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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