Shakespeare Essay

470 WordsSep 19, 20122 Pages
Trying to analyze, dissect, discover themes and identify literary devices in Shakespeare's work is something that many students find confusing, whether they are in high school or college, so it is perhaps not surprising that an assignment such as a Shakespeare essay can be confusing for many students and, in some cases, can be more work than writing the average paper. To begin with, the English language has changed drastically since Shakespeare wrote his plays and sonnets in Elizabethan London, and there are many terms used in his work that even the most literate of students struggle with: “hark” is fairly easy to understand, as is “wherefore” but, without looking it up, how many people speaking today's English would guess that “anon” means “immediately” or that “fain” is another term for “happily”? Shakespeare had a vast command of the English language—as it was, but the average student may find a great deal of it akin to a foreign language. Being assigned a Shakespeare essay is commonplace; most students will study and consequently write about Shakespeare's work during their high school and college years and the key to writing a good Shakespeare essay is a thorough understanding of not only the language used in Shakespeare's work but the climate of Elizabethan England and the cultural and social norms that existed at that time. Writing a Shakespeare essay is a larger task than writing an essay on a contemporary piece; it requires dedication, research and what is essentially detective work when looking at Shakespeare's life and times. Understanding Shakespeare means understanding the world he lived in and being able to comprehend his work means not only looking at the time and the culture but also who his ideal audience were, what inspired him and what he was reacting to via the medium of his work. Understanding Shakespeare, in essence, means understanding

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