Know Your Enemy: SHAKESPEARE


William Shakespeare (1564–1616) is widely regarded as the finest writer in English literature.   We respectfully disagree.   The man was a twit.

There are many among our sympathisers who complain that English youngsters no longer speak the language of Shakespeare as they all did in the 1950s, but we do not believe that “the language of Shakespeare” is really anything about which to write home.    Granted, his plays have a certain charm, but his language and, more importantly, his breaking of grammatical rules that were formulated centuries after his death, are both appalling.

We shall cite a few examples, and we urge you to read his plays in order to find more errors so that we can embarrass him.

Colonic misuse
Shakespeare abused the colon in his introduction to Macbeth, writing, as he did, that the piece is set in
“Scotland:    England.” [1]
Shocking stuff!    “The Scottish Play” is set predominantly in Scotland, with one scene taking place south of the border.   Therefore, he of course ought to have written “Scotland; semi-colon England!”.   In some versions a semi-colon is written instead, simply correcting the child’s grammar and not drumming the rules into him so that he won’t re-commit the error!    He was never told the real rules!   The situation is hopeless.
On the other hand, if Mr Shakespeare intended to write the setting as “Scotland: [in] England”, this is a different matter and nobody could reasonably raise any objection.

Sonnet 18
Here is the infamous 18th sonnet from Shakespeare’s collection of 154 love poems:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometimes declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Ha!   What an error.   It should be “compare thee with a summer’s day”, not “to”.   There is no point in reading any further thereafter.   Well done to the Queen’s English Society for indirectly spotting that abomination.

Gloucester’s faulty word-order
A rather odd quote from King Lear:
“As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods, – They kill us for their sport.” (Gloucester, Act IV, Scene I)

This sentence uses completely loopy, confused word order, and a badly-placed comma.   Furthermore, he should have said LIKE!    “As” can be used only in comparisons, such as “There is nothing as queer as persons”.   We know we forbid the word LIKE in other contexts, but here it is fine.

On the basis that the rules of punctuation can not change and are unchangeable and have never changed, this demonstrates how unsuitable for the classroom Shakespeare’s so-called “works” are.    His “visionary genius” is a lie.   Unleash him not upon our school-children, for he is a braggard and an apple-john! (Find more ways to insult Shakespeare here.)

 

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