Shakespeare's an authority figure. Kind of.

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"There is a kind of authority lent by something being almost universally, known, where one has only to utter certain lines and people nod their heads in recognition." Foster, 43.

 

In chapter 6, Foster makes a case for the fact that Shakespeare has a great influence on a lot of writers, and that many stories, most of them, are based on one of his works. He proves his case by naming various quotes, most of which I knew, and then saying something along the lines of, "I bet you know these quotes, but can't tell me where exactly they are from." As the reader, I would say that he makes a good argument, basing most of his claim on different examples throughout literature that imitate the storylines or characters in Hamlet, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, and Taming of the Shrew.  He makes the statement that writers bounce ideas off of eachother, and says that they quote things they have read or heard, and more of them have Shakespeare in their heads than anything else. (Except Bugs Bunny.) The claim Foster makes about students being able to connect more to a piece of literature, and allow the imagination to fill in the blanks in the story line when they realize or learn that it is based on Shakespeare, is a good point. I've read books where Romeo and Juliet was the 'backbone' of the work, and, until someone told me or I realized that it was that way, I couldn't see the connection or where the story was headed. It makes Shakespeare a sort of authority figure due to the fact that most stories can be related in one way or another, to one of his works.

3 Comments

I wrote about this as well, Sara.
I also think that Romeo and Juliet was the backbone of a lot of love stories.
Foster also talked about us getting this pride in ourselves when we read something we know.

Annamarie Houston said:

Shakespeare has been an inspiration to many if not the majority, of novels and books around the world. There is so much variety in his writing that everything can relate back to it. Just like when Foster talked about the basic plots of every story (I believe that was in chapter 1), Shakespeare's works can be connected to a lot of other works. I really enjoyed this chapter.

Marie vanMaanen said:

I also think Foster made a good point with this chapter. It is not uncommon to read a book or watch a movie and have the essential story outline be modeled after a classic Shakespeare work. If one has knowledge of Shakespeare's works, then it really does help the reader better understand the new piece of literature. It becomes much easier to see why a certain scene is a pinnacle point in the story, and it provides the reader with a much deeper understanding of the characters and setting of the story.

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