Books · Monologue

Words, words, words

I recently read And Then There Were Nun by Jane Christmas. It’s the story of Jane entering a convent to decide if that was her calling. In one chapter, she begins discussing Catholic prayers and the changes prayers have taken over the years. People, teachers, parents, etc. are modernizing the language of prayers to make them more understandable for the younger generations. Christmas does not appreciate this.

You don’t rewrite Shakespeare’s sonnets to make them more understandable; you grow in understanding with the words.

I love all things Shakespeare, so of course, I had to smile when I saw his name. At first, I highlighted it just because Shakespeare was in it, but then I reread it. And reread it. And thought about it.

Shakespeare is confusing. His writing is difficult to understand. Just look at the many resources are out there to “help” us understand him if you don’t believe me. I think of the five minute Shakespeare bits. People take his plays and whittle it down to a five minute summary. This is tragedy.

Each word that Shakespeare writes add to the magnitude of depth in his plays or poems. To take away some of those words, and worse, replace those words with “modern” words should be criminal!

Just look at this:

…There is special  

providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ‘tis

not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it

be not now; yet it will come. The readiness is all. Since

no man of aught he leaves knows, what is’t to leave

betimes? Let be. (5.2.217-222)

Rewrite that in modern words, and convince me it conveys the same thing. If you can, I’ll bake you cinnamon rolls.

Don’t dumb down his brilliantly beautiful words. Study, read, reread, talk, and grow so that you can understand the magic of Shakespeare (and any other author being paraphrased to you).

That’s all I have to say about that.

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