Did they pronounce words back in Elizabethan England very differently than they do now? Nowadays, Shakespeare's stuff just doesn't sound like poetry. And what's the deal with "art", "thou", etc. ? It's still understandable, but very annoying. Couldn't they translate it into modern English? There is no rhythm to be broken anyhow.
I actually think Shakespeare worship is perpetuated much like the myth about Emperor's clothes.
Don't you think it's a bit symtomatic that the earliest English author of any significance also happens, by pure accident, no else, to be the greatest author and poet of all times and languages? Huh?
Mark Twain could kick Shakespeare's ass, if the latter lived long enough.
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Did they pronounce words back in Elizabethan England very differently than they do now? Nowadays, Shakespeare's stuff just doesn't sound ... and poet of all times and languages? Huh? Mark Twain could kick Shakespeare's ass, if the latter lived long enough.

Maturity takes time. Be patient. With a bit of effort, you'll get there.
Jan Sand
Did they pronounce words back in Elizabethan England very differently than they do now? Nowadays, Shakespeare's stuff just doesn't sound like poetry. And what's the deal with "art", "thou", etc. ? It's still understandable, but very annoying.

We have a brief information sheet on that at:
http://alt-usage-english.org/pronoun paradigms.html
Couldn't they translate it into modern English? There is no rhythm to be broken anyhow.

I'm with you on that bit. One of my favorite posts here (a.u.e) was when Perchprism (a former participant) translated one of Hamlet's monologues into modern English. It begins:
I'm alone now. What a *** loser I am. That actor could get himself all worked up over nothing, nothing but some make-believe idea in his head, crying, his face all contorted, broken voice, his every movement screaming despair. All for nothing! For Hecuba!

You'll find the original, and the rest of the translation, at Google Advanced Groups Search,
Message I.D.

If you have to write a paper about Shakespeare, you might try your hand at the same thing. You're bound to learn a lot about the meaning and nuances of WS's vocabulary.
I'm really surprised that even when directors modernize the settings and costumes of WS's plays (Nazi Germany and all that), the language is still treated as sacred. A hundred years more down the road, that may be impossible.
I actually think Shakespeare worship is perpetuated much like the myth about Emperor's clothes. Don't you think it's a bit ... and poet of all times and languages? Huh? Mark Twain could kick Shakespeare's ass, if the latter lived long enough.

You sound bitter, like a sophomore college student. I raged on about the silliness of Alexander Pope, I remember, in that year.

Best Donna Richoux
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Don't you think it's a bit symtomatic that the earliest English author of any significance also happens, by pure accident, no else, to be the greatest author and poet of all times and languages? Huh?

1. Symptomatic of what?
2. You have been misinformed that Shakespeareis "the earliest English author of any significance." We have good prose 200 years before Shakespeare
and good poetry 400 years earlier.

3. You may want to consider the "free market"in the choice of play scripts. Although Shakespeare (like verse drama) goes in and out of fashion,
people tend to come back to Shakespeare (even
in translation, in Russian, German, etc.) This is a variety of people voting with their feet. When
studying Shakespeare for the first time, you do
not need to face the poetry alone, isolated and
alienated: you may find support in the hordes
of other people who find Shakespeare excellent
(or bad.)

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs (Ottawa, Canada)
dphillipson(at)trytel.com
I'm really surprised that even when directors modernize the settings and costumes of WS's plays (Nazi Germany and all that), the language is still treated as sacred. A hundred years more down the road, that may be impossible.

As far as I'm concerned it's already happened
Have you seen any of Zefirelli's movie adaptations?

Especially "Taming of the Shrew", with Burton and Taylor?

With all the shenaningans, slapstick, lavish scenarios, large chunks of text thrown out the window, wild camera movements, etcetera, the thing is extremely irritating
It's like having a Mozart string quartet played by naked girls (or boys?)
Bob G
I'm really surprised that even when directors modernize the settings and costumes of WS's plays (Nazi Germany and all that), the language is still treated as sacred. A hundred years more down the road, that may be impossible.

I thought that 'Romeo and Juliet' (1996 - with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in the title roles) worked extremely well and I really enjoyed it. Some of my school friends hated it, though, and still think that "Shakespeare is SOO boring", which I think is a pity. On the other hand, John Lithgow's episode of '3rd Rock From the Sun" in which, as Dr. Dick Solomon, he attempts to direct a production of "R & J", is extremely funny indeed, and school friends of mine who have seen that particular episode really enjoyed it too.

Christopher
http://www.alt-usage-english.org/AUE gallery/chris johnson.html
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Couldn't they translate it into modern English? There is no rhythm to be broken anyhow.

I'm with you on that bit. One of my favorite posts here (a.u.e) was when Perchprism (a former participant) translated ... in his head, crying, his face all contorted, broken voice, his every movement screaming despair. All for nothing! For Hecuba

'They' have translated some of Shakespeare's plays, including Hamlet, into modern English, although perhaps not quite so "***" modern English. Look up Alan Durban and Jonnie Patricia Mobley at:

http://www.amazon.com
I read and understood King Lear in about 3 hours - understood the language, that is - understanding the plays takes a litttle longer.

It helps to have a Signet Classic edition on hand, for the definitions of the original words. But the modern translations are good. Read them and enjoy Shakespeare, for a change!
I'm really surprised that even when directors modernize the settings and costumes of WS's plays (Nazi Germany and all that), the language is still treated as sacred. A hundred years more down the road, that may be impossible.

The language is pure Englishman, the settings and costumes aren't. If you change the language too, the plays lose their mythic force.
Mark Twain could kick Shakespeare's ass, if the latter lived long enough.

To be a fair fight, they'd each get seconded by their characters. Longhorn would have to make do with Huck and Tom, but Will would take ... Lear and Richard III?
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
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