Skip to main content

Right-Wing Radio Host Argues Against Teaching Shakespeare

Puritan book burning (1643).
In Wonkette, "Doktor Zoom" describes the right-wing radio host Kevin Swanson's Apostate: The Men Who Destroyed the Christian West. Swanson believes that
[y]oung, impressionable minds can “cut themselves” on the “great books,” and sometimes the wounds get infected. This is usually how we lose our best and brightest young students to the other side, generation after generation. 
According to Swanson, one of those books is Shakespeare's Complete Works. He worries that the sonnets' homoeroticism "introduces dangerous gender confusion into the minds of men" and that Shakespeare's "fundamental worldview was not openly and obviously Christian." Swanson finds Macbeth particularly distressing since
[i]n the familiar scene, Lady Macbeth attempts to wash away the bloodguilt with water, but to no avail. No mention is made of the blood of Christ. Not surprisingly, the central position of Jesus ... is completely ignored. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Accurate List of Hamlet's Soliloquies

Though Hamlet's "To be or not to be" speech is his fourth soliloquy, many websites call it his third. They're skipping the twenty-line speech that follows his interview with the Ghost, which in my view is a particularly bad mistake since Hamlet's monomaniacal vow there is at the heart of his tragedy.

The internet's cosmic sinkhole of misinformation will never be filled, but it's worth throwing some dirt in when we can, so here's an accurate list of Hamlet's soliloquies, with a short description of where they occur and what they say, along with a few observations.

Titus Andronicus on YouTube

Julie Taymor directs Anthony Hopkins in Titus.
Scenes from Julie Taymor's 1999 Film
Overimaginated has posted all of Julie Taymor's Titus (1999), with Anthony Hopkins as Titus, Jessica Lange as Tamora, Harry J. Lennix as Aaron, Alan Cumming as Saturninus, Laura Fraser as Lavinia, Colm Feore as Marcus, James Frain as Bassianus, Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Chiron, and Matthew Rhys as Demetrius. Here's a selection from act three, in which Titus tells his sorrows to the stones, and here's the play's gory climax.Other
The Reduced Shakesperare Company does Titus Andronicus as a cooking show

Shakespeare-Movie Soliloquies and Orson Welles's Chimes at Midnight

Directors usually handle Shakespearean soliloquies in three ways: (1) they have actors speak directly to the audience, as they would have on the Elizabethan stage; (2) they have actors speak to the air, as yammering on Bluetooth-enabled cellphones; or (3) they use a voice-over, as if we were wire-tapping the characters' brains.
Each strategy has its advantages.
Speaking directly to the audience works well for villains, who share their nasty schemes, preparing us to watch with horror as they dupe unknowing victims. The technique also allows for dark comedy: for example, Ian McKellan's Richard III and Harry J. Lennix's Aaron (in Julie Taymor's Titus) act as satanic stand-up comedians, terrifying us and making us laugh with the same speech.
Having actors talk to themselves produces a different effect, allowing us to pretend we're hearing a character's inward thoughts. This works in both comedies and tragedies. In a comedy, we laugh—or chuckle inwardly—when we hear Em…