Shakespeare is so funny guys

Seriously, he totally is. I went to go see The Tempest at bard on the beach during the summer, and it was funny! Like, legitimately, I laughed through two-thirds of it funny. I think that sometimes people can get so wrapped up in the idea of Shakespeare as this important literary figure that they forget that his plays were meant not only to be thought-provoking, but also entertaining. It can be hard to see some of his humor in his plays because of the old-timey language, but once you get past that, you really see how fun he is. Seeing his plays acted out makes you see how many puns and sex jokes there are in his plays, and let me tell you: there are A LOT of puns and sex jokes. Even the serious plays (especially the serious plays). On that note, you should totally read this article ( if you haven’t already—it’s a really good breakdown of Shakespeare’s humor.

As for the Tempest—I feel bad admitting this, but until the lecture, I had no idea there were any other interpretations of it besides just… a story about a wizard? As I was reading it last week, I never thought of it as a play about plays, or a critique of master-slave relations. I just thought it was a play about this wizard who is trapped on an island, and how his daughter finds love.

Also, there was Caliban, who I kinda felt bad for, but not really? I mean, I don’t think he deserved to be enslaved, but he also tried to rape Miranda, which is something I am really not OK with.

What do you guys think?

One thought on “Shakespeare is so funny guys

  1. I agree about Shakespeare’s humour…there are often humourous elements in his plays (at least the ones I’ve read or watched), which I really enjoy. But yeah, it’s easy to miss because the words, phrases, expressions he uses are not always current today. Thus the footnotes are sometimes crucial for me to get the humour. Though seeing it on stage really can help. And indeed, seeing plays enacted is an entirely different experience from just reading the script–as it should be; they are meant to be enacted after all. I find reading Shakespeare at time tedious until I watch parts of or whole plays either on stage or on video, and then things become more interesting. That’s how I feel about the storm scene at the beginning of The Tempest–it just doesn’t do it justice to simply read it.

    Your point about Caliban resonates with me. He and Ariel are, I think, presented to some degree as sympathetic characters because of what Prospero does to them, but the attempted rape draws me away from Caliban. I sometimes think about him as representing “appetites” in a Platonic soul kind of way, in which case this would make sense (as well as the strong attraction to drink), but that doesn’t necessarily excuse him. In lecture, Robert Crawford suggested that maybe Caliban has been made into a devil by the way he was treated, which I suppose is possible, but still…attempted rape? In my book, can’t be justified by one’s poor treatment by others.

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