Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rediscovering Shakespeare

I first fell in love with Shakespeare back in high-school.  My family all came down with chicken-pox so mom decided to read `The Merchant of Venice' to us.  `The Merchant of Venice' has everything a great story needs; deadly peril, disguises, a fairy-tale trial to win the lady.  (Am I the only one who thought of Portia's casks while watching the end of `Indian Jones and the Last Crusade'?)  I was so enamored by the story that I read all Shakespeare's comedies and tragedies, and even typed up my own `Shakespearean style' tragedy and forced my siblings to help act it out. 

After all this time, I can come at Shakespeare from a different angle.  I've taken Classical Mythology, so now I actually understand his references to Greek and Roman myths.  I have some idea who those people getting married in the background of `A Midsummer Night's Dream' are (though I still don't have a clue why a bunch of Greeks are tangling with English fairies.)  The same thing happened to me when re-reading first and second Kings in the Bible.  After my Survey of Art classes, I actually understood the descriptions of Solomon's temple.

It is interesting how new knowledge and experiences can change the way you read.  They add context and texture.  Sometimes they open up what used to be obscure, so you find yourself saying `oh yeah, I get it now.'  This spring I'm getting my AA in English Lit and in Art.  I'm glad to be graduating, but I've got to say, I've really enjoyed the classes, and the way my studies have shaded the way I look at life.

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