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The School Newspaper of John Carroll School

The Patriot

The School Newspaper of John Carroll School

The Patriot

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Pro V. Con: Shakespearean plays waste learning time

Pro+V.+Con%3A+Shakespearean+plays+waste+learning+time

This is the con argument on whether or not Shakespearean plays are beneficial to students. To read the pro click here.

Much ado about nothing is most students’ opinions of William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare is infamous for most JC students.   Complaints about  reading Shakespeare’s works  can be heard throughout the hallways during the school day.  Students taking  regular English generally read three of his works. Students that take Honors or AP English classes have to read five or six.

It is all a waste.  Shakespeare is difficult to understand and does not help students advance in life.

Shakespeare is considered the most important of all literature.  English teacher Dick Paaby says that it gives the sense of a classical curriculum.  However, has anyone considered what students truly learn from it?

The plots in Shakespearean plays are basic, but they are often hard to understand thanks to the archaic English.  This old-fashioned English was more understandable for people in the sixteenth century.  The timeworn English is no longer used for anything, so why are students required to decipher it?  Most students end up using Spark Notes or the very popular No Fear Shakespeare to help them.

Shakespearean plays are  generally comedies,  tragedies, or histories sometimes all combined.  Plots vary slightly with each play, but usually the cast of characters includes star-crossed lovers, a villain, and some confused people.  No one wants to read the same tedious thing over and over.

Shakespeare does not help improve writing skills. Essays written about the plays can easily be written on any kind of literature.  The dramatic aspect of the plays can easily be found in other types of more modern stories.

The characters in Shakespearean plays can relate to students today in certain aspects, like racism and humor.  However, modern writings are easier to understand and relate to daily life.  Shakespearean plays do not connect to today’s controversial issues because they were written  so long ago.

Society has progressed, but the JC curriculum has not.

Contemporary literature should be added to the curriculum.  Too much focus is given to the past and not enough to the future.  Instead of reading multiple Shakespeare plays, we should read novels more recently published.

Jodi Picoult is an example of a wonderful new author with many novels on debatable issues.  Freshman in regular English read one of her novels, My Sister’s Keeper.  More of her work should be included in the curriculum.

Shakespeare was a skilled playwright during his era, but it is time for his plays to back down and give the stage to new authors.   There was a policy at JC that at least one Shakespearean play had to be read every year, but that has already been changed in the last decade. Shakespeare is becoming increasingly irrelevant as time goes on.  As time moves forward, so should the JC curriculum.

Rachel Amrhein is a Reporter for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.

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