Should Shakespeare continue to be taught in high schools?
Debate Rounds (3)
The only argument to keep Shakespeare is culture, but music, painting, and food are huge pieces of culture as well. We don't judge a person on their ability to "analyze" the Fifth Symphony or "correctly" look at a Van Gogh, unless they are taking it as an elective class.
Shakespeare is fictional, in a completely different dialect, and doesn't have much relevance to either history or modern society. Let it die, or make reading fiction an elective class. Culture is best taught by the parent.
About 80% of adults and 90% of minors I know say they hate(d) Shakespeare in class. Ask a scientist, pharmacist, oil company guy, construction worker, etc., if they evey had to analyse Shakespeare as part of their job. My English teacher says "the purpose of reading Shakespeare is to prepare you for what is next," in other words, more HS Shakespeare.
For all intents and purposes, most HS students are literate. I found a college science textbook, flipped to a random page, and could read it effortlessly.
Also, Romeo and Juliet is a very racy play; it makes Family Guy seem tame! This story contains pedophilia (we have nearly a decade age difference between R and J), sex, disobeying parents to the extreme, and suicide over love! Many teens are highly impressionable, and Romeo and Juliet isn't doing any good. Most school computers block YouTube, but have no problem with this story at all.
PS. Shakespeare was a playwright, therefore his stories were meant to be acted, not read. Would you read the script to Avatar? How about the Big Bang Theory? Would you eat a sandwich with a spoon?
As language evolves, it gets harder and harder to read older works. Shakespeare in the future may be like Anglo-Saxon today. Words have been simplified, complicated, dropped, added, rearranged, and changed in meaning so much in Modern English. Though it is good to preserve old literature, we cannot just hold onto it forever in school and then wonder why each generation is more confused than the last.
If the point is to get students to read more, that's fine. There are plenty of ways to do that without reading old, confusing literature in a style that isn't even used anymore. There are plenty of other books that are at a challenging level, but are more entertaining for modern people and less confusing than Shakespeare books. Things people can actually relate to at some point in their lives.
BillyDrumMajor forfeited this round.
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