Shakespeare Is So Last Season

Bella Simonte (’23) advocates for an updated approach to literature study in English classes. “Inaccessible language and misogynistic views are so last season. Teaching kids how to be contributing members of society is the new hot trend.”

Duels, poisoning your step-son, and marrying your mother are all wildly unrealistic tales told in Shakespeare’s plays. Made of too much confusing language, misogynistic themes, and not enough racial or cultural diversity, Shakespeare has passed its expiration date. 

Regular texts can be taxing enough on people with learning comprehension disabilities. When dead language and syntax like ones commonly found in Shakespeare get added in, it makes reading and processing the information much harder. In most classrooms, roles are assigned to students, forcing them to read each soliloquy aloud in front of the class. Reading for some is hard enough, let alone having to do it in a room full of people. 

Contrary to the 1500s, Shakespeare’s plot lines are no longer relevant nor politically correct. In books like Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, women are treated as ownable, easily manipulated pieces in someone else’s grand scheme. English teachers prefacing the book with, “now this was made in a time where this was commonplace,” doesn’t make the story any less sexist or any more normalized. 

Some teachers would argue schools teach Shakespeare because of its key themes. However, these plot lines aren’t relatable to a modern day audience and shouldn’t be what schools focus on teaching their youth. Kids should be learning about current issues like racism, sexism, government power, wealth inequality, and other cultures. Shakespearean plays were made to be entertainment, not course material. Whatever themes and lessons that were applicable in the 1500s, are definitely not applicable now. 

Some better alternatives would be Just Mercy, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, and Into the Wild. Each book has lessons that teach readers how to better understand people who are different from them by diving into race, abilities, and economic status. 

Technology, architecture, and cars are evolving with a world of ever changing dynamics, as should our school curriculum. Inaccessible language and misogynistic views are so last season. Teaching kids how to be contributing members of society is the new hot trend.