Why always Shakespeare?

Image

As a high school student, English can be a dreaded subject, especially when it come time to read Shakespeare.  Shakespeare’s language is far from easy to understand making his texts difficult to follow and analyze.  I completely understand that reading Shakespeare is a requirement as his plays and poems are great works of literature but for me and many other students, reading Shakespeare can be a nightmare and on top of that, simply not interesting.

Two years in a row I have had to study Shakespeare’s plays and poems, until this year.  This year I didn’t have to read one of Shakespeare’s plays.  When I first heard this I was a bit frightened.  Surely, this could only mean something even more difficult.

The play was The Crucible by Arthur Miller.  It is a chilling tale about the Salem witch trials and I absolutely loved it.  The playwriting is fast pace, the language is not difficult, and the themes within the story are relatable.  The play is intriguing from start to end, or rather, from the opening to closing curtain.

Now I understand that we still have to study Shakespeare in school but I don’t think we should just study Shakespeare.  Why not study more of a variety throughout high school?  The Crucible, for me, was a play that I could much more easily interact with.  It even had me looking up the Salem witch trials online because I wanted to know what parts of the story were true.  I throughly enjoyed the story making me more interested in analyzing it.  So…why always Shakespeare?

Do you choose your path?

Recently I have read Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman and another novel called, Love and Other Near Death Experiences, by Mil Millington.  Both of these novels, have focused on the future and the question of how much the future already been decided and how much one can influence it.  I find these questions surrounding the future and how much one can change it fascinating as there is no concrete answer. 

Good Omens is a book about the couple last days on Earth before the Armageddon.  A demon and an angel, who are supposed to be welcoming the Armageddon, find themselves in a dilemma when they realize they really don’t want the world to end.  They spend the story attempting to foil the plans for the Armageddon just to have a couple more centuries on Earth.  The son of Satan who is supposed to bring the Armageddon, in the end, chooses to not end the world.  Everyone is confused as this was supposed to be the boy’s destiny but he makes a choice not to except it.  Which of course leaves the question: did he change his destiny or was his true destiny to make this choice?

Choices.  How much can you control your life with choices?

Which leads to the second book I have recently read.  Love and Other Near Death Experiences follows a man who becomes obsessed with the small choices one makes everyday and how they greatly affect one’s life.  The male protagonist makes a relatively small choice to buy some towels, which his girlfriend later makes him return, causing him to be late to a meeting at a pub.  Since he’s late to the pub he is not there when a truck hits the pub, killing many people there.  He is convinced that the very little choices can greatly change one’s life.  Now he can’t decide if he should step out of the shower with his right or left foot or what socks he should wear today.  Where will each decision lead him? 

Can everyday little choices change your life path greatly?  Or has the future already been decided?

These are very huge questions to think about and I think the author Garth Nix summed up the question very well.

“Does the walker choose the path or the path choose the walker?”

 

Goodreads. “Garth Nix Quotes.” Goodreads. 2013. 19 Jan. 2013 <http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/60233-does-the-walker-choose-the-path-or-the-path-choose>

Good Omens – plot and characters

Good Omens is a novel written my Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.  It is a fun novel though rather confusing with the British humour and many characters.  Overall, the fictional book does a good job of examining ideas surrounding destiny and one’s future.

 

 Novel Title: Good Omens

 Plot Archetype: Adventure

 Plot Outline (evidence): The story, Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, is a story about the coming Armageddon.  An angel, Aziraphale, and a demon, Crowley, after spending many years on Earth, find themselves not looking forward to the Armageddon and a war between heaven and hell.  They simply like Earth too much.  They set out to foil the plans of the Armageddon without directly disobeying their superiors.  With the birth of Satan’s son, the boy who will bring the Armageddon, Crowley and Aziraphale decide to meddle with the boy’s upbringing, hoping to save the Earth from its end, at least for another decade.  After a mix up, Crowley and Aziraphale interfere with the wrong child while Adam, the actual son of Satan, grows with a normal childhood.  The story continues with the preparation of the world’s end and the journey to find correct boy.  Aziraphale and Crowley do eventually find Adam and at the climax of the novel Adam refuses to bring the Armageddon.  The world is saved and the balance between good and evil in life continues.

The plot fits the adventure archetype as the story centers more around the actual events happening than the characters.  Although as a reader, one does come to know a variety of characters well, the story is not directly involved with one character’s emotional journey as much as in a quest plot.

 Character Archetype: Adam Young – Hero

 Character Description (evidence):  Adam Young is not a typical hero as a result of being Satan’s son.  He is not an evil boy but he loves to get into mischief.  Adam has supernatural powers but his greatest strength is his humanity.  It is his humanity that leads him to save the world at the end of the novel.  

 Character Archetype: Crowley – Trickster

 Character Description (evidence): Crowley is clever and generally delights in sabotaging people.  When he learns of the coming Armageddon, he is saddened at losing Earth because he realizes, he quite likes it on Earth.  While the mission of stopping the Armageddon is self serving, by stopping the world’s end, he will save the Earth and the people on it.  As a trickster, Crowley seems able to survive anything even driving in a flaming car while holding it together with his powers.