Dr. Seuss Is Better Than Shakespeare

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AuthorTopic: Dr. Seuss Is Better Than Shakespeare
Member # 2210
Profile #25
I don't really dislike Shakespeare, I just think the way it is taught and depicted is taken out of context in most instances. Shakespeare writes plays. Having to read plays and then analyze them without seeing them is ridiculous.

Shakespeare is meant to be seen more than read. The language is not hard to understand. It has a certain beauty to it, but I would much rather not dissect the meaning of the words on paper. Shakespeare is much better on film with a top rate actor. :)

Wasting your time and mine looking for a good laugh.

Star Bright, Star Light, Oh I Wish I May, I Wish Might, Wish For One Star Tonight.
Posts: 1084 | Registered: Thursday, November 7 2002 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #26
Shakespeare was a hack writer. He churned out his plays at a phenomenal rate and they all share many characteristics. The guy found a winning formula and stuck with it. He was the Steven King of the 16th century. No, his works may not all be jewels of literature (they add up to many jewels, but fewer jewels than plays), but they're entertaining or tragic or whatever they're supposed to be.

—Alorael, who says that stripping the language from Shakespeare is much like stripping the language from poetry. Of course you get garbage. Shakespeare chose his phrases very carefully, which is why we're still repeating them today.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
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Unfortunately, language ages over time. As has been mentioned, Shakespeare was very fond of wordplay, and some of his puns don't make sense to a modern audience. One famous example relied on "hour" having the same pronunciation as "whore", and would probably cause walkouts even today if it were still understood.
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Member # 3310
Profile #28
Stephen King is certainly not stuck with one formula. He is, no matter what you say, much more than a horror and nostalgic-novel writer.

Well, maybe not much, but still. King is best known for his horror, true, but if you dig a little deeper I think you'll be surprised.

And I have never read Shakespeare. I tried once, but he was boring. And I refuse to read something boring, Shakespeare or not, when there's loads of good books and plays in the world.

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Posts: 756 | Registered: Monday, August 4 2003 07:00
By Committee
Member # 4233
Profile #29
I agree - Shakespeare is best seen on stage. And if Shakespeare's appeal is limited to purile adults only, then I proudly stand among their ranks, and feel sorry for BtI that he does not. Life taken too seriously leads to woe and a limited outlook. Comedy, however bawdy, is a great source of perspective and humility, two virtues sadly lacking in American society for certain, and probably everywhere else as well.

[ Tuesday, July 06, 2004 06:43: Message edited by: Andrew Miller ]
Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
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Profile Homepage #30
He is meant to be seen. How many people do you know of who read plays all day?
I say the guy has to be pretty good if he's still being presented after four hundred years.

Granted, then we have Euripides, Sophocles, Aeschlyus, etc. who go back quite a ways further. ;)

I'm surprised that greek drama doesn't get more attention in high schools.

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Posts: 407 | Registered: Friday, May 14 2004 07:00
This Side Towards Enemy
Member # 3098
Profile #31
You're misconstruing my words, or possibly I didn't express myself properly. Shakespeare's target audience, particularly in his early years, was fairly puerile. Obscenity and extreme violence are hallmarks of some of his earlier work. Which is not in the slightest something I have a problem with.

He can also write very good plays. I really liked Macbeth.

That said, I have a number of gripes. I don't see him as a giant of literature. He was good, but he created few if any original plots (Romeo and Juliet was stolen from an Italian play of fifty years earlier for example.) Again, this isn't necessarily a problem, but it does rather preclude the standard praise given to his plots.

He's readable or indeed watchable. He gave a lot of words to the language, or at least is the first attributed user of them. But that's as much due to the ravages of time and the views of the 17th century as it is to his own writing.

I hate him for creating Twelfth Night. You may enjoy it, but I would rather knee myself in the face half a dozen times than read it again. Likewise, I consider A Midsummer Night's Dream a serious blot on his record. Daft plots, irritating characters, excruciatingly contrived endings.

I'm glad he's survived, but so have some of his contemporaries. Survival has nothing to do with quality anyway. The Spanish War dates from before the birth of Christ and is still with us (albeit not in its entirety) yet its written in really excreable and grammatically incorrect Latin with a narrative which keeps putting itself out of sync when the writer puts in something he forgot to mention earlier. Survival merely means that down the ages, nobody has considered it worth burning. Shakespeare's fame required slightly more. It required some people to value him in each generation. That does not mean one has to agree with them.

I like Greek tragedy (although I prefer Greek comedy, history and epic poems) although again, I make exceptions for certain pieces of work. Mostly those by Sophocles. Philoktetes was a horrible play to read.

Voice of Reasonable Morality
Posts: 961 | Registered: Thursday, June 12 2003 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #32
Back in Shakespeare's time, originality (as far as plot goes) wasn't nearly as important as it was today. I think Shakespeare gets credit for a masterful use of the English language rather than for really new, surprising stories. He stole virtually all of his plots from somewhere else, but he wrote them far better than anyone else ever could, which I think is how he got to be famous.

He certainly relied on low-brow humor as much as high-brow humor, but by the time his later plays were on production, nobles and the monarch were coming to see his plays, so his audience didn't end up being puerile, even if that's how it started out.

And Shakespeare's plays are of course best seen on stage. That's where they were meant to be. (Film, I think, is rather bad at handling Shakespeare. I've never seen a film rendition that was as good as any of the stage productions I've seen.)

EDIT: I thought Dream was pretty funny, by the way.

[ Tuesday, July 06, 2004 09:23: Message edited by: Just Call Me Kel ]

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Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Member # 154
Profile #33
I will repeat:

Who the hell is Dr. Seuss?

Inconsistently backward.
Posts: 612 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #34
Why not do a little bit of Googlework and see for yourself? He was a writer of young children's books that were entertainingly absurd and notable for unique illustration. I find it hard to believe that anyone can go through life without encountering the Cat in the Hat.

—Alorael, who happens to despise everyone who tries to turn Dr. Seuss books into movies, plays, and interactive digitized monstrosities. Those are abominations in the eyes of discerning children everywhere. That group may only include oxymorons, but still...
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Triad Mage
Member # 7
Profile Homepage #35
Philoktetes was awful :P .

For some great Greek comedy, read Menander.

"At times discretion should be thrown aside, and with the foolish we should play the fool." - Menander
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Posts: 9436 | Registered: Wednesday, September 19 2001 07:00
This Side Towards Enemy
Member # 3098
Profile #36
To give the man credit, Philoctetes is probably the first accurate Goth character ever created. And you can't have a Goth character who you actually want to hear more from.

Originally written by Just Call Me Kel:

nobles and the monarch were coming to see his plays, so his audience didn't end up being puerile.
I spy contradiction!

Voice of Reasonable Morality
Posts: 961 | Registered: Thursday, June 12 2003 07:00
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Profile #37
Some of my fondest early memories involve my doting parents reading Dr. Seuss stories to me. Seuss undoubtedly constructed some of the most memorable rhymes the world has ever seen, and his masterpieces of whimsy and absurdity were to me the perfect antidote to the prosaic wholesomeness of so many other children's books. As I grew older, I left Seuss behind and took up Dahl (my favorite author in childhood, as well) and others. Even now, though, when I occasionally look back at the stories I cherished so long ago, his words still carry much of their powerful appeal of old.

I'm ambivalent regarding Shakespeare. Many of his works fail to move or amuse me, although I've found his tragedies to be of consistently higher quality than his comedies. Hamlet is easily one of my favorite plays, and King Lear isn't too far behind.

As for Rowling, I've never read any of her books, and I don't mean to.


"Delusion arises from anger. The mind is bewildered by delusion. Reasoning is destroyed when the mind is bewildered. One falls down when reasoning is destroyed."- The Bhagavad Gita.
Posts: 1798 | Registered: Sunday, October 5 2003 07:00
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Profile Homepage #38
My opinion on Shakespeare is tainted due to the extreme amount of work he caused me to have to do in English class.

I am betting that in the future Harry Potter will end up becoming one of the 'Classics' and High School students will be forced to read them for the grade.

O dear god no, I better kill her then for all the English students of the future

What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.
Posts: 169 | Registered: Wednesday, September 24 2003 07:00
This Side Towards Enemy
Member # 3098
Profile #39
Personally, if I want absurdism, I'll read Edward Lear. Doctor Seuss just never held the same attraction for me. Horses for courses.

Voice of Reasonable Morality
Posts: 961 | Registered: Thursday, June 12 2003 07:00
Member # 4583
Profile Homepage #40
Dr. Seuss? Has anyone read his book about "What I'm going to do Saturday?", it encourages suicide. Shakespeare is okay and so's Rowling.

"Fall in CHAOS!!!" Dark Archon.
Posts: 74 | Registered: Saturday, June 19 2004 07:00
Member # 2210
Profile #41
Yes I've read it. How amusing. You have to be awfully literal to read it that way. The story would have ended at the line it was written on.

Next Saturday I'll yell my head off.
I'll blow horns. I'll blow and blow.
Next Saturday I'll blow my head off.
No one is going to stop me next Saturday.

I guess if you yell loud enough you can make anyones head explode. Quite amusing for the anti-seussians out there. Somehow someone grabbed onto this line and the book became banned. Hah. :confused:

Wasting your time and mine looking for a good laugh.

Star Bright, Star Light, Oh I Wish I May, I Wish Might, Wish For One Star Tonight.
Posts: 1084 | Registered: Thursday, November 7 2002 08:00
Member # 4708
Profile #42
I went through childhood without knowing the Cat in the Hat. But in my time Anglo-Saxonic culture wasn't the world.

I've heard that there were obcenities in the Cat in the Hat movie? Like the cat making improper hip movements towards women? Doesn't seem like the kind of educational thing I'd like my kid to watch.
Posts: 16 | Registered: Wednesday, July 14 2004 07:00