How to Read Shakespeare – When You’re Not a Student and Your Job Doesn’t Require It

The good thing about age-old classics, is that there are a ton of resources to go along with it – analyses, plays, movie and movie adaptations – so  many takes on the same bloody thing! And if there’s something I enjoy, it is the analysis of any form of art.

I’m not a big fan of classics, mainly because of the general difficulty in understanding the language. However, in the recent past, there have been too many instances where I’ve been recommended classics, that I can’t ignore it anymore. (For example, To Kill a Mockingbird)

I thought I’d start with Shakespeare – someone who’s not all that unfamiliar, thanks to CBSE. A quick Google search gave me the best way to read it, and I think this needs to be shared with the rest of the world. Hence this post.

Read this Quora Answer, which nicely instructs you how to do this. This paragraph in particular, caught my eye:

This is my method, which I think any person who enjoys movies (and books) should follow.

Step 1: Read a scene (If you’re anything like me, thou shalt und’rstand but bits and pieces)

Step 2: Read the line-by-line translation from No Fear Shakespeare

Step 3: Read the study guide by Sparknotes


Step 4: Watch the scene as adapted in different movies. I’m reading Hamlet, so I watch the scene from the movies from 1948, 1990, and 1998

hamlet over the years
Claudius and Gertrude, in different adaptations of Hamlet

As for me, I’m beginning to actually like classics now, and also seeing how difficult/interesting acting and directing can be. The same scene from the play are portrayed in three different ways, in the three movies – but with the exact same dialogues. It’s unreal how much difference an intonation of voice can make.

It’s quite a fun activity – I read just one scene per day, but it takes around 45 minutes. Highly recommended if you’re trying to read new things.

PS: Please recommend other adaptations !

One thought on “How to Read Shakespeare – When You’re Not a Student and Your Job Doesn’t Require It

  1. Wonderful. Only if someone could compile all the versions for me, scene by scene, and run it on youtube. Wanna try, fananafry?

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