My (probably unpopular) opinions on Shakespeare

I get as readers/writers we tend to idolise other great writers, and William Shakespeare usually sits at the top of the list for some people. And I'm sorry to those people who like his work, but I don't. 

Why? Good, I'm glad you asked ;) (Also, I studied Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet in school, then I saw a Hamlet and Othello play. I'll be using those plays as examples with spoilers, so be warned. (But, you know, it is Shakespeare and I think you can only warn about spoilers for so many hundreds of years after it was written.))

1) I don't connect with the characters. While I admire Macbeth and Lady Macbeth for their courage, I also wished they would have died in, oh, act 1. I kinda cheered for Banquo for a little bit, but then he annoyed me too and I was done. On my list of Stupid People in Stories, Romeo and Juliet take first place, and hence I was rather happy with their ending. Their choices were stupid and I don't think they understood love if that was their choice. Also, Othello was stupid. (Yeah, I get it, different time period and conspiracy and everything, but really??? Murdering your wife? Really!?!?) For me to get onboard with a book, I really need to like (or not deeply hate) the characters. 

2) We had stupid assessments. I hated the Shakespeare units because we had to do a monologue and an essay exam. I HATE MONOLOGUES. I would rather personally give Darth Vader my resum√© for a job in the sewage department in the Death Star than do a monologue, and essay exams are boring and stressful. 

3) I've rarely been taught it in an interesting way. My memories of Macbeth include a double English of nothing but reading Shakespeare aloud while being totally confused to what was going on (along with the rest of the class). Now, we didn't study Hamlet but I saw it live, and I really enjoyed it, to my surprise. I mostly understood what was going on, the adaptation was funny, the costumes/props were awesome and the actors were great. I'm not sure why I liked the play so much better than any of the Shakespeare movies I've seen, but Hamlet is the only play I currently don't actively hate. I think part of it is because Shakespeare is meant to be performed, not read for two hours. 

I realize most of this isn't Shakespeare's fault and it's more the fact that I was forced to learn it in boring ways, but that's just been my experience. And I don't horribly hate Shakespeare, by the way. The Hamlet play was amazing and I respect the amount of symbolism and themes that are in his work. 

I just won't be reading any more plays in the near future. 

Do you enjoy Shakespeare's work? Do you think his plays are overrated? Did anyone else have to do a monologue, or did I suffer alone?


  1. Rainbow Magic Fairy4 March 2016 at 16:03

    I see exactly where you are coming from. Granted his work and style is definitely a massive milestone in history and his artistry will live on forever but still... its shakespeare, the word just echoes boring english assignments, scary monologues and never ending complex stories :) Awesome blog

    1. Agreed, agreed, agreed. AGREED. Thanks :) And thanks for commenting!

  2. I actually came to really enjoy Shakespeare once I got old enough to really understand why sex jokes are fun, ha. I really, really enjoyed reading Othello in my senior year and when I went to The Globe Theater in London, it was by far my favorite part. I think it's really easy to teach Shakespeare in an unfortunate way (having to do your own monologue sounds like torture!) but at least in my experience, my teachers were really good about making Shakespeare accessible, funny, and involved, and they were also really good about showing us movie clips and letting us listen to the audio so that we could understand the context and blocking a little more.

    So, yeah. I don't hate Shakespeare. Hopefully you haven't sworn off all plays forever?! But still. I am sorry you had that experience in school.

    1. Well, I'm extremely glad you enjoyed it. I'd love to go to the Globe, and I think I'd like to see a play there. I'm so glad you had teachers who taught Shakespeare in interesting ways! We need people like you who like it. (And I don't think I'd ever voluntarily read another play, but I'd see one, definitely.) Thanks for commenting, Heather!


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