It’s all about Shakespeare

c838ff0037cd9223274d16c81b7d5c32 This week it’s all about Shakespeare in JMC 302. This week we read “Shakespeare and the American People” by Lawrence Levine and watched “Shakespeare in Love.” This week’s discussion revolves around Lawrence Levine’s statement “the product of unremitting interaction between the past and present” (pg. 171). By Levine’s interpretation of American culture and the way we make practice of it I strongly believe that there are constant interactions between the past and present. Now-a-days I believe that the foundation of what we watch, movies, TV shows, even music videos have much of same building blocks that Shakespeare used years ago. It is clear that our culture is constantly changing from components of the past.IMG_1107

If you take a step back and look at “the movie of year” (seems like every movie is the movie of the year) they all have a very similar story lines. Seems like most films still take to the past and simply adapt them to the present day. How many times have you gone to the movie theaters, especially when a scary movie comes out, and could anticipate almost to the precise second when something bad was going to happen? I can. And for some reason it still works and I jump out of my seat.


In the late 18th and 19th century, Shakespeare became known to the public in America, and he very quickly became popular to the general public. As Levine states “These gradual and decisive changes in language, style, and taste are important but by themselves do not constitute a totally satisfying explanation for the diminished popularity of Shakespeare” (pg. 181).  The fact is that most forms of entertainment follow this same story line, this may not be directly related to this type of Shakespearian story plot, but it still works and there’s usually a hero, villain, and an attractive damsel in distress.  Take “Shakespeare in Love” for example. Yes there were some new twists to this story but there was a hero, villain, and an attractive damsel in distress involved in plot.


This unremitting interaction between the past and present could be applied to a variety of things. Think about out modern day fashion,cars, music, and even hair styles. We as a society yearn for this type of unremitting interaction between the past and present and its not only limited to story lines. As stated by Levine, “as important as changes in language were, they did not prevent the development of radio as a central environment medium at the beginning of the 1920s or the emergence of talking movies at the end of that decade (pg. 181).  This quote really hones in on how people were looking for a predictable fairytale ending and an avenue to entertainment that they could relate to. We have simply taken things from our past and altered them for our use in the present.



One thought on “It’s all about Shakespeare

  1. I like when you stated “there’s usually a hero, villain, and an attractive damsel in distress” when comparing the culture of the past (the work of Shakespeare) to the culture of the future (contemporary stories). I too believe that these parallels aren’t coincidental — they have to do with the popularity of stories like Shakespeare’s and the overall reception of them within American society. Great post!


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