‘Shakespeare is universal – he doesn’t need to be made relevant’

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A new production of Othello has incorporated London street slang in an effort to make Shakespeare more ‘relevant’. But does this risk patronising audiences and watering down the material? spiked’s Tom Slater discussed this with Bonnie Greer on Sky News on Sunday.

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4th October 2019 at 10:02 pm

Shakespeare was a Pyrrhonic sceptic in the Montaignian mould. He is, essentially, Montaigne in verse, which is why I have never really liked him, despite the beautiful language. Moderns like Shakespeare because his aporetic narratives and dialogue chime with their scepticism, confusion and lack of fixed opinion about anything. Personally, I prefer the Bible, which exposes both man’s plight before God and the means of salvation in Christ.


D. C. Morrow

28th June 2019 at 8:48 am

I suppose “making him relevant” means inserting socialist and feminist propaganda into new printing.

Marie Gibson

25th June 2019 at 11:49 pm

Shakespeare is universal….? What? Never sure if you lot are being serious but would suggest dusting off your historical materialism

Francis Lonergan

25th June 2019 at 11:01 pm

Shakespeare, Makespeare. There is a lot of tosh schmattered about him.

Chris Hilton

25th June 2019 at 10:37 pm

‘The New York Times contains more information than any contemporary of Shakespeare would have acquired in a liftime.’ Gore Vidal (several decades ago). We have far too much useless knowledge. Oh, for a Shakespeare today.

Michael Lynch

20th June 2019 at 9:43 am

Everything ever written since Shakespeare is cliche. He is the foundation of every book, play and film in the West. Of course he (or they, depending on your stance) is relevant. It’s another boring non argument designed to fill up the 24 hour news cycle.

Amin Riadh

21st June 2019 at 7:28 pm

You haven’t got a clue as to what you are saying. Clearly, you do not know much about Shakespeare. Old Shaky was not even original in his own time. Originality and plagiarising were understood very differently in his time – hence his work contains ideas hoofed from other writers and books of his time. And some of his best plays were heavily written by Marlowe.

“He is the foundation of every book, play and film in the West.” What? Even those before him?

Alice Willaims

19th June 2019 at 9:23 pm

Leave Shakespeare alone, he is already relevant.

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