Shaking it up with Shakespeare

Surprise always ensues when people discover I have never read William Shakespeare. Their reaction usually follows with the question: Didn’t you read Romeo and Juliet in high school?

To which I always respond: No.

Yes, it was on the agenda, but my freshman English class was out-of-hand and my poor teacher spent too much time disciplining behavior, so we simply ran out of time for this tragic love story.

I got my first taste of Shakespeare this week when I took on The Tempest for my Senior Seminar.

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My overall impression is that it’s not my favorite book.

The plot is simple enough: a storm, a shipwreck, lots of explanation and a final confrontation, all mixed in with fairy tale aspects of magic, marriage and menace.

However, I’ve never been interested in fantasy or science fiction stories, so I wasn’t quite as excited by Shakespeare as I thought I would be. In addition, I found the explanatory notes on the left page of the book distracting. Admittedly, it took me to reach page 30 before I realized I could understand the text without them.

The Tempest wasn’t a hard read, but it was difficult making myself interested in the book, as I knew I’d have to write about it later for class. The best part of this experience is that the next time someone asks if I’ve read Shakespeare, I can confidently respond yes!

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