October 27, 2005

"Shakespeare in the Bush"

"I was quite sure that Hamlet had only one possible interpretation, and that one was universally obvious."

I really enjoyed this article/journal entry. I thought it was well-written, quirky, and funny, but it also proved a good point. I know I've commented on the universality of Shakespeare before, but just last night (in my Shakespeare class) about the audience's ability to relate to works written hundreds of years ago. I still believe that, but I think individuals relate to the ideas and generalizations.

For instance, in King Lear, the king is trying to cope with his old age and slipping mind. Many people deal with these kinds of issues, hence the "relatability" of King Lear. However, I doubt many people can understand the trials and tribulations of ruling a country when your daughters are trying to steal your land. Readers see the big picture, not the specifics.

In our reading, I understand the author's predicament; Bohannon is trying to share not only the story, but the ideals and principles of Hamlet. Due to the language barrier (so it seems) the Africans "miss the point." I don't think the author failed, though. Literature is meant to be interpreted. If this tribe gets a different meaning out of Shakespeare's words, at least we can be comforted by the fact that they receieved some kind of meaning.

Posted by KatherineLambert at October 27, 2005 12:32 PM
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