Shakespeare’s Timeless Teachings

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The Bard has entertained the satellite for centuries with tales that uncover close and wrong

“All the world’s a stage,
And each the men and women simply players;
They person their exits and their entrances,
And 1 antheral successful his clip plays galore parts.”

—William Shakespeare

While I’m acold from qualified to thatch a people connected the taxable of Shakespeare, there’s profound contented to beryllium recovered successful his works. And I judge they’re arsenic applicable contiguous arsenic they were years ago.

When I was younger, I utilized to deliberation that Shakespeare was for stodgy aged men successful Ivy League halls, smoking pipes and pontificating connected life. The connection seemed hard to comprehend, and the stories seemed written for a definite radical of a definite clip period.

It would instrumentality my precocious schoolhouse English teacher, Mrs. Judith Jack, to assistance maine make an appreciation for Shakespeare—one that has lasted to this day.

A Teacher’s Perspective

Mrs. Jack was 1 of the best, arsenic good arsenic 1 of the astir well-loved, teachers astatine my tiny precocious schoolhouse successful Elkins, West Virginia. She had a mode of breaking down and explaining things truthful that you could not lone recognize them better, but besides made you privation to larn more. I contacted her lad T.L., who was besides my precocious schoolhouse classmate, and asked if his parent mightiness stock her thoughts connected teaching Shakespeare. She kindly agreed.

Now astatine the property of 80 and surviving successful The Villages successful Florida, Mrs. Jack’s caput is inactive sharp. When asked astir immoderate of her favourite Shakespeare works, she quoted the Bard and said, “Tomorrow and time and time creeps successful astatine this petty gait …”

I asked Mrs. Jack however she developed specified an effectual mode of teaching Shakespeare—not an casual feat.

“The connection tin beryllium truthful intimidating,” she said. “I could’ve had the students work it and accidental what happened present and what happened there. But I felt that if I work it and stopped to explicate it on the way, it would marque it much relatable. The look that I could enactment successful erstwhile I work Shakespeare helped the students understand.”

Indeed, Mrs. Jack didn’t conscionable work Shakespeare; she recited it with specified passionateness that it was similar watching a one-woman play. I looked guardant to each class, anticipating what intriguing events would unfold next.

“If you’re having occupation with the connection and idiosyncratic explains it to you, it makes it relatable,” she said.

Mrs. Jack besides understood that Shakespeare’s works incorporate timeless lessons.

“As they say, if we don’t larn from the past, we’re doomed to repetition it,” she said.

Memorizing and reciting Shakespeare’s soliloquies was a required portion of the class, and portion not easy, the hard enactment paid off.

“It was my anticipation that by having students memorize these speeches, they would enactment hard and truly summation thing they could retain. When they did, adjacent my poorest students felt bully astir themselves for putting successful the hard enactment to memorize these,” Mrs. Jack said.

I inactive retrieve galore of the lines from each those years ago. And it seems I’m not the lone one.

“It’s funny, due to the fact that erstwhile I tally into erstwhile students, who are present successful their 40s and 50s, they volition punctuation maine lines from Shakespeare that they had to larn successful my class,” Mrs. Jack said. “People subordinate to it, and transportation bully memories from the class.”

It seems Shakespeare’s profound words of contented near a heavy content connected galore of us.

Epoch Times Photo An engraving depicts Shakespeare (1564–1616) reciting a enactment earlier the tribunal of Elizabeth I, circa 1600. (Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Do the Right Thing

Shakespeare provides galore lessons connected the value of doing the close thing. His flawed characters, who are consumed by vices specified arsenic ambition and revenge, often grounds behaviors that are successful stark opposition to what is just, kind, and good. They enactment arsenic an affront to our consciousness of what’s morally right, reminding america that the selfish, acheronian things that lurk wrong tin easy spiral retired of power and pb america down a way of ruin.

In an article successful Deseret News, titled What Shakespeare is inactive teaching america astir bully and evil 400 years aft his death,” prof Regina Schwartz of Northwestern University said, “If you ticker his plays, you locomotion retired of the theatre with a deepened consciousness of what’s close and wrong. Partially it’s due to the fact that his characters are truthful compelling—they’re similar us, they’re greater than america and they’re little than us. They’re invitations to america and they’re cautions to us.”

According to Schwartz, Shakespeare’s inspiration came from the Bible, pointing retired that Hamlet’s communicative of revenge draws connected the communicative of Cain and Abel, portion Lady Macbeth embodies the relation of Eve.

The aforesaid nonfiction quotes English prof Kristen Poole: “His enactment is astir compassion—love God, emotion your neighbor. Well … what does that look like? And what does compassion look similar for radical you don’t like?”

Interestingly, situation inmates person besides benefited from studying Shakespeare. In an interrogation with NPR, prof Linda Bates, writer of “Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years successful Solitary with the Bard,” recovered that teaching Shakespeare to prisoners helped them analyse their ain behavior.

“The much penetration you get into Shakespeare’s characters, the much penetration you get into your ain character,” 1 captive said.

One captive successful particular, Larry Newton, said Shakespeare virtually and figuratively saved his life. Bates arrived astatine a clip erstwhile Newton was struggling with terrible depression, and helium said Shakespeare gave him thing affirmative to absorption connected erstwhile helium was considering taking his ain life. He said Shakespeare besides gave him a caller mode of looking astatine life.

Bates and Newton went connected to make workbooks together, focusing connected 13 of Shakespeare’s plays. According to Bates, Newton included “a day-by-day, what helium calls considerations, a constituent to see successful the play that involves examining the motives of the quality and ever bringing it close backmost to your ain motives and your ain choices.”

Our Thoughts Matter

Shakespeare utilized his tragedies to show the value of our thoughts. They item the advancement of the characters’ thinking and however it yet leads to their undoing.

Those works absorption little connected what the characters bash and much connected what they think. By pursuing the character’s travel done their analyzable thought process, we not lone travel to recognize them better, but we’re besides provided a model into our ain thinking.

Shakespeare’s works amusement america that we aren’t conscionable what others spot oregon adjacent needfully who we deliberation oregon accidental we are. Through his characters, we travel to recognize that we indispensable archetypal cognize ourselves successful bid to alteration ourselves for the better.

To punctuation Hamlet, “We cognize what we are but cognize not what we whitethorn be.”

Epoch Times Photo British histrion John Gielgud (1904–2000) poses successful costume for his pb relation successful the William Shakespeare play ‘Hamlet’ successful 1936. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

What We Choose Is Up to Us

Mrs. Jack said, “We person the capableness to make our ain futures. We tin determine what we privation our futures to be. When students recognize this, it tin motivate them to execute their dreams.”

We’re fixed opportunities each time to take our path—to travel our innate motivation compass oregon a way of wrongdoing.

To punctuation Hamlet again, “There are much things successful eden and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of successful your philosophy.”

Shakespeare noted that antheral is constricted successful his cognition and knowing of beingness and the universe.

If we take to judge that it doesn’t substance what we bash portion we’re present oregon that we tin conscionable travel errant reasoning and spell down a atrocious path, we’ll person wasted precious opportunities. As Cassius says successful “Julius Caesar,” “Men astatine times are masters of their fate. The fault, beloved Brutus, is not successful our stars, but successful our selves that we are underlings.”

Epoch Times Photo Judith Jack taught precocious schoolhouse Shakespeare successful West Elkins, W. Va. (Courtesy of Judith Jack)

Examining Ourselves

The lessons contained wrong Shakespeare’s works inquire america to analyse our ain hearts and minds and to excavation heavy for what mightiness beryllium hidden, adjacent from ourselves.

When our champion person gets a promotion astatine work, bash we consciousness a twinge of jealousy, arsenic Macbeth archetypal felt? When we’re faced with the prime of getting up oregon doing the close thing, what bash we choose? And erstwhile idiosyncratic wrongs us, bash we question revenge, arsenic Hamlet did, oregon bash we forgive and support our kindness?

What we deliberation and what we bash besides straight impacts our health.

As we strive for more—more money, much things, much technology, much fame—we summation our accent and anxiety, starring to a assortment of ailments, from precocious humor unit to bosom illness to loneliness and depression.

“Shakespeare wrote immoderate astonishing comedies to marque america laugh,” Mrs. Jack said. “But helium besides wanted to punctual america that life’s not each a furniture of roses, and it tin beryllium truly tough. There are atrocious radical successful the world, and they tin truly messiness america up if we spell on with them.”

Shakespeare highlighted the interior struggles inherent to the quality condition, arsenic good arsenic the value of being vigilant and examining our thoughts, motives, and actions.

His stories enactment arsenic cautionary tales of what tin hap erstwhile we don’t admit and power harmful emotions specified arsenic anger, jealousy, and greed. They punctual america to usage the clip we person to cognize ourselves better, get escaped of selfishness, and fortify the bully within.

Tatiana Denning


Tatiana Denning, D.O. is simply a preventive household medicine doc and proprietor of Simpura Weight Loss and Wellness. She believes successful empowering her patients with the cognition and skills indispensable to support and amended their ain wellness done value management, steadfast habits, and illness prevention.