Pro V. Con: Shakespeare teaches valuable writing skills


Lauren Glase, Reporter

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

Students doth protest too much.

They claim that Shakespeare is a torture weapon devised by teachers to make them suffer, but it is simply a collection of literature used to broaden the minds of the students that read it. While reading the famous plays may seem to be nothing more than a school assignment, the overall outcome of reading them has benefits that greatly outnumber the drawbacks.

The average student reads three works of Shakespeare in the years at JC, while students in AP and Honors English courses read twice that amount.

Why read any?

We read Shakespeare because it expands upon and improves the reader’s writing ability. We may not use the same language as this playwright did, but his work creates an understanding of literature and language that leads to greater writing skills.

Shakespeare writes using irony, simile, and many forms of wordplay which students are taught to pick up on. These devices can then be used by students in future writing assignments to strengthen the writing styles of their work.

By reading Shakespeare, overall reading comprehension improves. Reading and understanding a play in Shakespearean language makes reading books in modern English simple by comparison. Once Shakespeare’s meaning is understood, reading the play becomes enjoyable and no longer feels like a chore.

Shakespeare’s plays are timeless. They have a variety of plots which are used as gateways to the plots used in modern culture. Storylines of many modern movies and books are similar, if not outright based on, the plots of Shakespeare’s plays. The movie “She’s the Man” is based on Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night.” If we are able to enjoy these stories in a modern form, why should we not be able to enjoy them their Shakespearean form?

Shakespeare created stories that people in every time period can relate to.  He used the same humorous, romantic, and tragic themes that are still present.

Shakespeare wrote about such a vast variety of topics and ideas that it makes finding an appealing play quite simple. If someone is unable to appreciate Shakespeare’s plays, the person should take classes in which students read the bare minimum of Shakespeare required, rather than complaining constantly while taking a higher level English class.

There is criticism against the teaching of Shakespeare in schools. People believe that there needs to be more emphasis on the teaching of contemporary literature. The majority of books that students read are not written in Shakespearean styles. It is important to provide literary variety, consisting of both Shakespearean and contemporary works.

It may take a while to adjust to the Shakespearean language used in his work, but reading Shakespeare teaches us things that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

All’s well that ends well.

Lauren Glase is a Reporter for The Patriot and