Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Quote: Darwin on Shakespeare

I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me.” – Charles Darwin

I know there are more than a few modern high school students who have similar feelings. Shakespeare's plays can be taught in the classroom, but not by simply having students sit and silently read them--which is how I suspect Charles Darwin went at it. Sure, a student with an active vivid imagination can pull it off, but Shakespeare’s plays were meant to be viewed and heard by the audience, not read.

There is a reason that novelizations of movies are written, based on the script, and sold, rather than simply printing and binding the script for readers to purchase and enjoy.

Not much of a point, maybe. Maybe Darwin was commenting on Shakespeare's sonnets? Just an observation based on a quote of one historically famous person (Darwin) on another historically famous person’s works (Shakespeare).


  1. I love Shakespeare. I recently had a conversation with my kids about why his plays are not boring. I offered a few plot outlines of some of them as examples. They are definitely better on stage or screen than in printed form. I'd love to take my kids down to the Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City someday. They're probably too young right now, though.

  2. I agree. I've read a lot of Shakespeare, much of it done under duress. I enjoyed the comedies - the tragedies and histories not so much. But on the the stage, I've loved them all. A few years ago I had the privilege of seeing Antony and Cleopatra at the Globe in London. I dreaded going - it was four hours long and I hadn't enjoyed reading the play in college. Well, it was brilliant. It felt like four minutes rather than four hours. Extraordinary!

  3. Angie, wait until they're ready. Shakespeare will still be around :)

    VR Barkowski, well executed play certanly can wiz by!