Braving Shakespearean Philosophy

A Philosophy of Shakespeare?

1591_Design_200To think of William Shakespeare only as a scholarly philosopher not only limits the imagination that he calls for, but it is wrong. Shakespeare must have of course been somewhat of a philosopher, but his well known, great speeches are something that his characters have worked up for, just as he did.

When educated correctly, anybody in the world no matter what skin color, religion, cultural background, political party, or age group can read Shakespeare’s words and think, “this is so me.” The third preconception is that Shakespeare’s words are primarily narratives. While of course it is important for the students to understand the plot and what exactly is going on, and what actions are taking place, which knowledge can lead to a slippery slope because the students begin to become too comfortable.  Comfort ability is the death of creativity.

If one already has set ideas and an agenda their whole process becomes jeopardized.  There is no room left for creativity and transformation.  It is always better to leave options open while exploring the text of William Shakespeare.  To immediately diffuse or resist an idea would be to slam the book shut altogether. Shakespeare’s words are transformative, and with a mind full of questions instead of answers, Shakespeare has the ability to transform. Known for inventing words at his disposal, Shakespeare never intended his language to be a high brow practice.

Although Shakespeare’s audience had some knowledge such as Greek and Roman myths, the bible, and parts of history, at least 50% of his audiences were illiterate people. Shakespeare did not sell his tickets for the high and mighty (although they often appeared at performances); he sold them to those with learned awareness and infinite imagination.  It can become detrimental to just look at Shakespeare synonymously with a history book. Ben Johnson himself said, “He was not of an age but for all time.”

Once the basic fear and insecurities are hurled there is room for real understanding and growth.  William Shakespeare, not born of nobility, used his language as a way to reach The People.  Find opportunities to connect to the work on a personal level.  Find characters in which you see yourself in exactly, find characters that annoy you, that enrage you, find characters that are nothing like you, but most importantly, relate.  Since there is a musical rhythm in Shakespeare’s works it can be helpful to say the words aloud- as they were meant to be heard.

William Shakespeare symbolizes communication to the masses.  There is no need to have trepidations when first approaching the material, there is only need of wanting  Shakespeare, it seems was always left wanting, he was never satisfied, always editing, making him the greatest writer of all time.