Is Shakespeare Still Relevant Today?

Submitted by sam.mcgrath on Mon, 05/08/2017 - 10:12
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In English, we are currently talking about Shakespeare. There has recently been some debate about whether Shakespeare is still relevant, and I think that it is. This is an essay that I wrote explaining why I think Shakespeare is relevant today. Enjoy!

Teachers have been seriously debating about whether or not William Shakespeare’s work should still be part of a student’s education. Will he be voted off as irrelevant? Not if I have anything to do about it. In this essay, I will be going over reasons why the Bard’s work is still relevant today, and why it should still be taught in school. Shakespeare’s work is still significantly relevant today because the characters are relatable, works from long ago can still be relevant, and talking about the plays could make for an interesting conversation.

First, Shakespeare’s work is still relevant today because we can relate to the characters. In the article I read that was against teaching Shakespeare, the teacher argues that we are “clinging to” the perspective of one man who lived 450 years ago. I disagree. Shakespeare wrote plays based on his view of life, and were written a long time ago, but his plays are still relatable, and that is one of the things I love about Shakespeare. Some people may say that they would never find themselves in the same situation as one of the people in the Bard’s plays. While this may be true, experiences can still be related to the experiences of the characters. 

Secondly, I found a quote from the article arguing that Shakespeare should still be taught in schools to be interesting. It says that “to dismiss Shakespeare on the grounds that life 450 years ago has no relation to life today is to dismiss every religious text, every piece of ancient mythology, and…everything that wasn’t written in whatever time defined as now.” This is a great argument, and one that I agree with. Just because a piece of written material wasn’t written from a twenty-first century perspective doesn’t mean that it should be dismissed as irrelevant, unimportant, or non-relatable.

My final argument for this case is that Shakespeare’s tales can spark interesting conversation and possibly even begin friendships. Learning that someone else has read a Shakespeare play can make you appreciate them more and quite possibly make them appear smarter than they would otherwise. 

Some might say that Shakespeare is no longer relevant because he wrote his plays 450 years ago and might not be relatable from our viewpoint today. This is not a valid point, because we still experience the same things that they did 450 years ago, and still act in some of the same ways as well. 

In conclusion, the work of Shakespeare should still be taught in schools. Shakespeare’s work is still relevant today because we can compare ourselves to the characters, works from a long time ago can still be relevant, and talking about the plays can possibly build friendships. The Bard’s work is not irrelevant, and he is still one of the greatest writers of all time.

I hope you enjoyed this essay I wrote about the works of Shakespeare and why they are still relevant. See you next time!

Andrew Oblad