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Thread: Shakespeare Out; Myer in

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    Sad Shakespeare Out; Myer in

    Bard's death scenes played out at school

    IMOGEN NEALE Last updated 05:00 04/09/2011



    To be or not to be? In a long-running debate about keeping Shakespeare in the high school English curriculum, that seems to be the question.
    According to proposed changes, a level three English component which asks students to respond critically to a Shakespearean drama will expire in 2012 and not be replaced.
    It is the last Shakespeare-specific unit in the curriculum and losing it would mean studying the great Bard would come down to the call of individual teachers.
    ... Head of English at Auckland Girls' Grammar, Gavin Morgan, said students have been voting with their feet for a while and not taking the externally assessed unit, so in some ways the move was inevitable.
    He said students chasing merits and excellences shied away from choosing Shakespeare as the written text they're assessed on. "Let's be honest, it's pretty difficult to write a King Lear essay in 40 minutes," he said.
    Morgan worries that letting the achievement standard expire will be "another nail in the coffin in terms of Shakespeare in schools".
    ..

    Head of drama at Christchurch's Rangi Ruru Girls, Robert Gilbert, believes New Zealand will fall behind internationally if Shakespeare disappears from the curriculum. "Shakespeare is the height of English literature. It seems crazy to me to drop it out of the English curriculum," he said.
    ... Last week it was revealed NCEA students were getting top grades in English by writing about Twilight, a young adult novel series based on a human girl who falls in love with a vampire.
    Actor and director Michael Hurst's response? "Macbeth or Twilight. Come on. I mean, really."
    Hurst said it's a cop-out to say that Shakespeare is "too hard" to teach. "To say [the language] is a difficulty and a problem is to cut off at the knees the whole notion of study and the benefits of digging into literature and aiming high."
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/5561...-out-at-school

    Readers may see Shakespeare's play as a part of this antisemitic tradition. The title page of the Quarto indicates that the play was sometimes known as The Jew of Venice in its day, which suggests that it was seen as similar to Marlowe's The Jew of Malta. One interpretation of the play's structure is that Shakespeare meant to contrast the mercy of the main Christian characters with the vengefulness of a Jew, who lacks the religious grace to comprehend mercy. Similarly, it is possible that Shakespeare meant Shylock's forced conversion to Christianity to be a "happy ending" for the character, as it 'redeems' Shylock both from his unbelief and his specific sin of wanting to kill Antonio. This reading of the play would certainly fit with the antisemitic trends present in Elizabethan England.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shylock

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    TBH Shakespear is quite hard to understand sometimes and its not like anyone speaks or writes like that anymore anyway!

    i dont think it should be compulsory, but i do think those who want to study should be able to, thatd make it better for everyone!

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    There goes the last reason ever to sit in an English class. English was always one big organ for state propaganda -- except for Shakespeare. When we weren't discussing the machinations of Lady MacBeth, and the richness and creativity of WS's poetic metaphor, we were 'exploring the representation of racial persecution in Of Mice and Men', and 'learning to understand the limitless expressive potential of raggae-poetry hybridism'. I doubt NZ is much different.

    At least now I can unabashedly endorse absenteeism.

    Quote Originally Posted by BritishLad
    TBH Shakespear is quite hard to understand sometimes and its not like anyone speaks or writes like that anymore anyway!
    Well, I don't know where you're from, but I hear people saying 'forsooth' and 'thou'st' all the time

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    Twilight over Shakespeare. And in a couple of years time they will want to write about whatever is the latest fad by that time. It is more good to show resolve and to keep offering Shakespeare since it is one of the classics of the English language and has proven to have more staying power then <insert random teen-book series from ten years ago almost everyone has forgotten>. However there will be those who will use the lack of interest of the youth in these works as an excuse to remove "dead white males" from the curriculum.
    The sense of honor is of so fine and delicate a nature that
    it is only to be met with in minds which are naturally noble or
    cultivated by good examples and a refined education.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BritishLad View Post
    well i didnt know, i thought you were bein serious, im pretty gullible you know!
    I know. It's all part of your charm, BL

    But I'll explain in a bit more detail why I don't agree with what you say here:

    Quote Originally Posted by BritishLad View Post
    TBH Shakespear is quite hard to understand sometimes and its not like anyone speaks or writes like that anymore anyway!

    i dont think it should be compulsory, but i do think those who want to study should be able to, thatd make it better for everyone!
    The differences between Early Modern English and Modern English are mostly cosmetic. If you look at more sobre writing from the same era (e.g. Bacon), you'll find it ridiculously easy to understand. With Shakespeare, once you get beneath the skin of a few now-redundant grammatical rules*, such as that 'thou' is the subjective, and 'thee' the objective form of 'you', and that 'thou' should be accompanied by an added 'est' or 'st' to the related verb (thou canst, shouldst thou etc.), that the subjunctive tense had wider application -- not only should 'If it was' be 'If it were', as is still the case, but 'If it is', 'Whatever it is' etc. should become 'If it be', 'Whatever it be', and slightly more rarely you'll find such phrases as 'Wheresoever he go' and 'Until she die' -- once you understand all this, the language pretty much falls into place, and you can enjoy him as you could any other master of English.

    Besides, to understand the evolution of your own language is to explore the history of your nation in the most intimate of senses: it reveals the psychology of your forebears at the everyday level; how they see the world, how they approach the world, how they beautify the world with metaphor. Plus, it's always nice now and again to escape into better times.

    -----------------------

    * Although they weren't actually 'rules', and none of the above were consistently applied by Shakespeare, which might lead to some additional confusion.

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    Beowulf, Chaucer, Shakespeare and Dickens should be read
    Our beauty is our power, our strength. We can’t allow them to change us, to lessen us. I will never grant them that satisfaction, and neither should you!

    White Oleander

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    Quote Originally Posted by GroeneWolf View Post
    Twilight over Shakespeare. And in a couple of years time they will want to write about whatever is the latest fad by that time. It is more good to show resolve and to keep offering Shakespeare since it is one of the classics of the English language and has proven to have more staying power then <insert random teen-book series from ten years ago almost everyone has forgotten>. However there will be those who will use the lack of interest of the youth in these works as an excuse to remove "dead white males" from the curriculum.
    That was the part I picked out first. I figured they would at least give good ideas to replace Shakespeare in school, but they go with Twilight. A book that will teach children nothing except how to half ass a book. That author has no real achievements other than selling a lot of her book. Where as our language wouldn't be the same without Shakespeare.

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    English. It IS the language of Shakespeare!
    What more can be said.
    The barbarians are at the gates
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    Now you all really are living in Harry Potter's Britain - all around the World.
    οὐκ ἐμοῦ, ἀλλὰ τοῦ λόγου ἀκούσαντας ὁμολογεῖν σοφόν ἐστιν ἓν πάντα εἶναί.
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    I'll be honest, I switched off completely during GCSE English/English Literature at school and subsequently got bad marks. I found Shakespeare boring and hard to concentrate on. Although Macbeth was not so bad, I remember being a lot more interested in it, it was Twelfth Night that became the focus of the coursework. (My teacher also lost my coursework so I had to do it again in a rush ) But my lack of engagement was mainly my own fault.

    But as Hamar Fox says, everything else appears to be chosen for the whole multicultural agenda. The AQA Anthology especially. I see they have removed one of my favourites from it to .

    But if Shakespeare was replaced in the United Kingdom, I can only imagine what crap they would replace it with. Not to say that Twilight is not rubbish. There are few things English in the GCSE English/English Literature reading material. And there is so much English literature to chose from.

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