Photo by Jessica Pamp on Unsplash

I’m taking a class and we’re doing some work on Romeo and Juliet. I have read and seen Romeo and Juliet before, but it has been a while, so I’m actually rereading it even though I could probably do all the work without rereading it. My daughter was asking me why I’m reading it since it’s like the most famous story ever. “Everyone knows what happens.” I told her that it’s not just about the story. Any good story gets better with more reads. It got me thinking, though.

Shakespeare has to be the most praised writer in history. His name, Shakespeare, has become a synonym for great writing. He’s just kind of taken for granted as the GOAT. It would seem that he must be overrated. I’m not saying that as a knock on his work. It’s just everyone saying he is undoubtedly the best is an incredibly high rating. How could he not be overrated?

The thing is, as I reread Romeo and Juliet, a play I’ve read and seen many times before, I’m completely blown away by how great it is. The balcony scene has become such a cliche, but reading it again, it’s truly amazing. The language is beautiful. The characters are real. Every emotion is earned. As someone who tries to write, it’s breathtaking. And Romeo and Juliet isn’t even Shakespeare’s best work. Hamlet, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Richard III, Much Ado About Nothing. It’s staggering.

Now I’m wondering if Shakespeare is actually underrated. I know that doesn’t make any sense. The best ever is the best ever. There’s no rating higher than that. But I feel like the fact that he’s become shorthand for great writing means that most people don’t appreciate him like they should. If you don’t believe me, check him out. Twelfth Night is even a Christmas story, so it’s timely. You won’t regret it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.