The Wrong Shakespeare

The book club wants to read Shakespeare. It’s OK, I like Shakespeare. The only problem is that they’ve chosen the single play of his that I can’t stand. It’s The Tempest. Nothing whatsoever wrong with it, except that I’m in Hispanic Studies, which means that I’ve been fucked in every orifice by the postcolonial readings of this poor play. If there was ever a way to spoil Shakespeare for people, it’s this kind of incessant clobbering over the head with a single, very politicized reading.

4 thoughts on “The Wrong Shakespeare

  1. “postcolonial readings of this poor play”

    Make it a fun project rather than a bore…. come up with a completely different reading that has nothing to do with colonialism…. you could turn it around and say it’s about refugees (Prospero and Miranda) and the island is the west with good liberals (Ariel) and bad conservatives (Caliban).

    Or just make something silly and argue for it with a straight face (it’s about the dangers or drugs or the futility of technology or a damning indictment of certain hair styles….).

    Maybe Shakespeare was ahead of everyone with the climate change?


  2. If only they picked a less politicized play like Richard III or Taming of the Shrew or The Merchant of Venice . No?


    1. For me, it definitely would be better because I never read of discussed any of these other plays in an academic setting.

      I can’t begin to explain how they torture one with The Tempest in Hispanic Studies. There are whole books, and then books about those books, that were written about the darn Caliban. And I had to read them all.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Poor you! The Tempest is my favourite Shakespearean play and I teach it every other year.
        After reading the text in depth, it’s great fun to get my students to explode “post-colonial” readings while showing them up for the incoherent, ahistorical and absurd bullshit that they are.
        As I teach at a classical high school, my students are in an ideal position as they bring to the discussion the theme of nomos vs phusis which they have already encountered while reading Greek tragedy as well as the nature vs nurture debate which they have analysed in their philosophy classes. No anachronistic “bon sauvage” blather. Great fun!


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