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Why I Hate Shakespeare (standard:Editorials, 1222 words)
Author: DAVID TUMUSIIMEAdded: May 27 2003Views/Reads: 5818/2002Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
I know there are going to be some furious fans but this message has to get out. The title says it all.


I am not for change for the sake of change. God knows there are certain
things and persons who need no change for a long time. And no I have 
not included who you are thinking. 

My bone to pick, and thankfully he is bones now, is with that old
drunken bearded bard whose birthday is coming up again. I have support 
here I think. I'm talking about bad old William Shakespeare, that 
damned English poet and playwright. Do I hear yells of agreement from 
students across the world? I think I do. 

It's been, what 387 years almost, and still we have to speak of the
thee's and thou's! It is torture to have to remember the difference 
between A.D. and B.C. and that that great market product rose two 
thousand years ago. Now there seems another impasse with this other 
dead man who stands somewhere in 1616 dividing another line, before 
Shakespeare and after Shakespeare. 

As in if you wrote before him, you are excused for the poor writing you
did. I mean persons like Sophocles and Aristophanes and those other 
Greeks. What did they know anyway? They wore togas for Chrissake! They 
must have had better things to think about especially considering they 
were by the seaside and it often got windy. 

But after the scintillating lesson of Mr. William Shakespeare, bankrupt
local butcher's son, there is no excuse for bad writing. There are even 
awards to chide and rebuke for bad writing. Of course no one can write 
better than him either. There is also snubbing for one presumptuous to 
attempt to think they are writing better than the great Will 

If it were only academics trumpeting his so called glories, they could
be brushed aside with the painful critical bashing term. The one about 
eunuchs in a harem of beautiful women. The one about those who can't do 
something teach others how to do it. 

But it is not only the critics. There are enemies in our midst. And
irritatingly illustrious ones. Like Ben Jonson, his contemporary. He 
had started well in teaching the illiterate baboon his place. That 
famous crack about how Shakespeare had “less Greek and little Latin.” 
He did not have the university papers in other words. 

Jonson was seeming the great hope to carry on where Greene had left off.
Another contemporary who did not have much high opinion of the copycat. 
Called the turncoat Shakespeare “an upstart crow, beautified with our 
feathers, that with his tiger's heart wrapped in a player's hide, 
supposes he is able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you.” 
He chose an even perfect time to tell this truth. On his deathbed. And 
we all know dying men tell no lies. Unfortunately Greene did not have 
much going in his own plays. If he was original in his own work, he was 
also insufferably dull. 

So we had Jonson to hope for. He had the brains, he had the talent, and
he had had the education. He knew Shakespeare as well as a man can know 
another which is completely because they were even drinking companions 
at a certain kafunda called Mermaid's Tavern just after their National 
theatre. The name suggests there were some Shadow's Angels there and 
the late nights were not only about exchanging wit. 

He had started well with that crack about the uneducated pretender who
was henpecked into marrying an older woman. Then wily Will had to go 
and die. Not to appear an insensitive oaf, Jonson let us down. He 
wandered into Elysian Fields of reminiscence and his memory played 
tricks on him. He started strangely about his being not for an age but 
for all ages. Somehow he found a way to reinterpret Shakespeare's long 
periods from home as not running away from a shrewish way he couldn't 
handle but a gentility of character that didn't allow him to complain 
he was missing her. That he was sacrificing to make their life better. 
Didn't say when Shakespeare retired, he did live in this tranquil 
prosperity more than 4 years. 

Quiet? With Christopher Marlowe and Michael Drayton and The White Devil
author in the house busy running a rap session of wit and irreverent 
intellectualism? Quiet? The sneaky fellow was too busy secretly typing 

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