Sunday, 24 April 2016

Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On

Laurnelle Beukes on The Tempest




The words from the mind of Shakespeare are undeniably beautiful. At least this is my own opinion. I am far from an expert on the English playwright and in comparison to my brother, when it comes to reading his works, I am merely a dabbler. However, that which I have experienced has produced a kind of mixed reaction.

On the one end as I’ve mentioned in my opening line I find the use of language and the stringing of words to be mesmerising. I’ve often caught myself reading a page or two out loud just for the pure joy of hearing the nearly foreign speech pirouette off my tongue as if reading from an arcane book hidden for centuries.

On the other end, I have to be honest, I have no idea what is being said by the average character at any given moment in any given play. The language is sometimes so long-winded and – dare I say – ornamental, the intended point of the speech is often lost on me. It simply flies over my head like a song in another language; I can recognise that it is lovely music but that doesn’t mean I understand what the singer is trying to tell me.

My favourite Shakespearean play is Twelfth Night, Or What You Will with The Tempest coming in second. I actually read Twelfth Night as part of my high-school syllabus, albeit a drastically summarised version designed to help us pass our exams. I enjoyed the simple yet convoluted plot that unfolded on the pages. I decided to drag my brother’s The Complete Works of William Shakespeare off the shelf and read the director’s cut.

A lot of the finer language was lost on me but armed with my basic understanding of the plot granted to me by the education system, I managed through the play and found that I had liked it. A fantastic film adaptation of The Tempest (2010) staring Helen Mirrin and Russell Brand prompted me to read the original play which was just as challenging to read but just as pleasant.

Personally I would say that Shakespeare’s plays may be challenging to read for some but so satisfying once completed.

A great while ago the world begun,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain:
But that’s all one, our play is done,
And we’ll strive to please you every day.
– William Shakespeare

Laurnelle Beukes is a matric student at Southdowns College.

Image: www.theguardian.com

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