I Don’t Like Shakespeare (Neither Did Tolstoy)

If you have ever attended high school, you’ve probably been made to read a play (or several plays and sonnets) by William Shakespeare. For me reading Shakespeare was very hard work.  I don’t like Shakespeare.

Then my daughter (who graduated a year ago) was forced to read Shakespeare. She wasn’t impressed with Shakespeare either. A couple of times I picked up her English Literature book and tried to read something by William S., however I still found it quite dull and uninteresting.

I’ve even seen a movie or two based on a Shakespeare play. I didn’t even like his work when put into contemporary media.

I’m not alone. I’ve heard a lot of people say that they don’t like Shakespeare’s writing.    

Perhaps it is an unspoken requirement of being considered intellectual to say that you like Shakespeare, even if you don’t. Or maybe William’s writings are great and I (along with many other people) just don’t get them.

However, if you don’t get and/or like Shakespeare, here’s some interesting news. One of the greatest Russian writers and intellectuals ever, didn’t get him either.

Here’s a quotation from Leo Tolstoy: “There are times in my life I have read through Shakespeare and Goethe from end to end. And I never could make out in which their charm consisted.” You go, Leo!

So here’s some great news. If you find Shakespeare dull, boring, and uninteresting, you’re not necessarily a dummie!  What you like or dislike in literature has nothing to do with your intellectual abilities.

About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I co-lead a non-traditional expression of the body of Christ in Nashville based on open participation and Spirit-led sharing. We long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia" that is available in Kindle & paperback @ http://amzn.to/2nCr5dP
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8 Responses to I Don’t Like Shakespeare (Neither Did Tolstoy)

  1. Pingback: All The World’s A Stage Showering Us With Seductive Sounds & Scenes | Free Gas For Your Think Tank (Steve Simms Blogs From Nashville)

  2. Brian says:

    This is both bogus and sad. Besides the fact the “dull, boring and uninteresting” is redundant and repetitive; though it could indicate a temperamental or genetic inability to appreciate good writing; your ignorance of the concept of the acquired taste robs you of the riches of the greatest literature outside of the Bible.
    How many people would say that they found scripture “dull, boring and uninteresting” and you might respond that, whatever they believe, a work that has stood the test of time so magnificently as the Bible might take more than a casual reading. It might actually deserve study even intense study.
    Shakespeare stands alone in English literature, ALONE. God used him, as he uses many flawed instruments, to express the human condition in language that often seems divinely inspired, heart achingly true and blindingly clear.
    Your inability to appreciate W. S. is not something to celebrate – that you are not alone in it should not convince you of its credibility. As Christians we are used to passionately holding to truths that the world finds uninteresting even ridiculous. You and your daughter should read Shakespeare together in a well annotated version. You will grow in faith and wisdom.

  3. Tom Sillanpa says:

    I like John Milton, English writer, better than Shakespeare

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  6. Andrew T says:

    Also, I don’t even think Shakespeare is still relevant enough for reading his stories to be a necessary requirement for a passing grade in secondary education exams. Yes, maybe at the time he was a great writer but people should aspire to be like more modern writers as relating to them is still a possible thing to do.

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