To Be or not to Be: Is Shakespeare Great Enough to Top the Canon? Essay

August 17, 2021 by Essay Writer

Among the most controversial and disputable issues in the world of the literature is the question of whether Shakespeare and his creations are suppose to be included into the famous and glorious Canon. On the one hand, the re can be no possible doubt about the impact of the Swan of Avon on the English poetry.

On the other hand, there is an evident tendency in the modern world to indulge into bardolatry, which also has huge impact on the level of the critics’ objectivity. Hence, a thorough analysis of the influence the Shakespeare’s works have had on the world literature is strongly demanded.

It must be admitted that Shakespeare’s works have seen considerable criticism. The bastardization of Shakespeare’s poems is one of the most widespread tendencies in evaluating the impact of Shakespeare’s work since the great poet started creating his masterpieces one of the strongest is.

Not so evident nowadays, the tendency if bastardizing the poet’s creations was quite explicit in the past, which allows to suggest that there are considerable obstacles for Shakespeare’s works to be accepted in the Canon. However, according to Kennedy’s remark, the attempts to bastardize Shakespeare’s works are far from being ceased even nowadays:

Along with German appreciation of Shakespeare’s poetry, there exists a directorial imagination in the tradition of staging Shakespeare – an imagination that manifests itself in scenic design, production concept, ad script interpretation – that recently has resulted in exotic, erotic and slightly bastardized versions of Shakespeare (93).

Thus, there are certain doubts if the works containing such an amount of controversy can be accepted in the Canon. Since Shakespeare’s poetry allows to suggest the interpretation that involves the implications of vulgarity and bias, the reasonability for placing Shakespeare’s works of poetry into the Canon proves rather doubtful.

Nevertheless, there are certain arguments that prove the importance of Shakespeare’s works for the modern public and emphasize the necessity to help people learn more about the ideas of the Bard, marking that Shakespeare was one of the greatest poets ever. Enhanced by a great number of Bard’s admirers, the tendency to worship each of William Shakespeare’s poems is another extreme in the circles of British literature connoisseurs since the beginning of the Shakespearean epoch.

One can concede that the excessive bardolatry has triggered the bastardization of Shakespeare’s works. According to Schoch, “The starting point, then, for understanding the burlesque critique of Bardolatry is the recognition that to revere Shakespeare has always been to neglect Shakespeare” (74). Therefore, there can be no doubt that the excessive worshipping of Shakespeare and his works leads to quite deplorable results for the reassessment of the great poet’s masterpieces.

Another issue that has to be taken into account is the controversy about the Canon and the people accepted in it. Because of the fact that the writers accepted in the Canon so far are mostly white black men, the idea of creating a list of the most influential writers in the history of the United Kingdom might seem rather controversial and containing undesirable messages.

However, it seems to me that there is nothing obviously wrong with evaluating the writers’ contribution into the world literature and creating a list of the most notable ones. Even though it seems that it is quite complicated to outline the principles of preference when it comes to choosing a certain writer or poet, the Canon itself seems rather save and inoffensive idea.

Analyzing the above-mentioned, one cannot help seeing that the excessive admiration of Shakespeare’s poetry triggers another outburst of bastardization of the Bard’s masterpieces, which makes the circle close up. Hence, it would be reasonable to suggest that the poet’s works are not to be made a cult of.

Nevertheless, it is obvious that the impact of Shakespeare’s poetry is essential enough for the poet’s name to top the Canon of the most valued writers of all times. It must be admitted that Shakespeare is not merely “by far the most popular playwright in England and North America” (Kennedy 2) and “the most performed playwright in the world” (Kennedy 2), but also the man who managed to unveil the passion concealed within Gods and mere mortals for millions of people.

The man who changed the entire epoch in the evolution of English poetry and created the masterpieces that made people both roll with laughter and shake with tears, mourning the fallen heroes, Shakespeare is the indisputable genius of poetry who well deserves gaining the lead in the list of the most influential people in the world literature.

Regarding the ideas that people wanted to convey to the public with the bastardization of Shakespeare’s works, one still has to admit that the impact of William Shakespeare’s works is far too vast to place the Swan of Avon somewhere in the middle of the Canon. Having created a number of works that are still topical despite the thick layer of time that isolates them from the modern world, Shakespeare is the world genius and the unsurpassed poet, who has to top the Canon.

Works Cited

Kennedy, Dennis. Foreign Shakespeare: Contemporary Performance. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Print.

Schoch, Richard. No Shakespeare: Bardolatry and Burlesque in the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print.

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