Friday, August 21, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why everyone should read Shakespeare

August 19, 2009

I sincerely hope that someone younger than me reads this column and that, as summer wanes, some of you are returning to hallowed halls of learning with joyful expectations. Despite my painful, mixed feelings about being droned at by the professoriate, I'll admit it's one way to learn useful stuff. Self-taught or other-taught are better than remaining ignorant. Bliss is more likely in the presence of wisdom. I favor whatever might lift you above the nether regions of fads, claptrap and superstition.
The Shakespearean Heroes Science Fiction Should Steal From

William Shakespeare was the J.J. Abrams of his day, reinvigorating Elizabethan England's worn-out action-adventure franchises. And Shakespeare's writing still has clues for today's story-smiths. Characters who switch from nice to nasty? Secret passions? Strange disguises? The Bard got there first.

There's a reason actors are so juiced up to do Shakespeare, besides the fancy speeches and the prestige: Shakespeare does tricky character arcs and memorable people. And whenever you watch something like Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, Star Wars or Star Trek giving you a character who goes through a drastic transformation or a serious conflict, you're watching little chunks of unresolved Shakespeare. (Of course, a lot of these things go back to Sophocles, and probably the first cavewoman to stage playlets around the fire pit.)