The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0549  Thursday, 8 March 2001

From:           Edmund Taft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 07 Mar 2001 12:18:34 -0500
Subject:        Shakespeare Bashing

RE: Jack Heller objects to the "cultural status" of Romeo and Juliet
because it seems to have become "the measure of romance" for many.  He's
probably right.  The history of teaching Shakespeare in American high
schools reveals that, initially, Romeo and Juliet was chosen because the
language in the play was judged to be far easier to read than in other
Shakespeare plays.

Interestingly, however, parents often have a tough time with Romeo and
Juliet, and censors often try to get it out of American classrooms.  The
reason is that some parents read the play as "glorifying suicide" -- a
real concern of parents of teenagers these days.

Some parents either want the play dropped or want it taught as an object
lesson in what happens if teenagers DON"T obey their parents (!).

Such is the politics of Shakespeare in the (post?)modern world!

--Ed Taft

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