Since secondary school, I’ve really enjoyed reading Shakespeare’s works even when most of my other classmates didn’t. Of course, it can be fun but it can also be incredibly challenging. Although Shakespeare is regarded as one of the greatest writers ever, the way he uses language and strucutre is almost unrecognisable today.
Today on my blog, I’m writing a little list of my top tips for reading (and enjoying!) Shakespeare. I am in no way claiming to be an expert, nor do I pretend to understand every word that Shakespeare writes but these tips have really helped to further my enjoyment of reading.
#1 Find an annotated copy…
There’s a tonne of different editions of Shakespeare out there. I personally love annotated editions as these provide context, information and help as you read.
#2 …or annotate a copy yourself
Normally, I wouldn’t recommend drawing and writing all over books, but if it helps you to understand the text then go for it!
#3 Practice, practice, practice
Keep reading his works and don’t give up or get disheartened!
#4 Watch plays/TV adaptations/film adaptations
Most of Shakespeare’s plays were made to be seen, not read! I find going to watch the plays on stage or watching other productions of them makes it easier to understand.
#5 Browse different editions
Don’t just settle on the first edition you find. There are hundreds of different editions out there so you’ll definitely find one to suit your needs! My favourite editions are: the Folger Shakespeare (annotated) and the Collins Classic editions.
#6 Read it out loud
I love doing this, it makes me feel like I’m acting it out. It’s easier for me to understand and keep track of the characters when doing this.
#7 Read summaries before
There are so many summaries and many notes online relating to all of Shakespeare’s works. Make use of them!
#8 Bookmark the character pages in the books
Often, Shakespeare writes a lot of characters into his plays. When you’re just starting reading the play, it can be difficult to remember all of them and their role in the storyline. Referring back to the character page every now and again will be really useful!
#9 Don’t stress
Don’t worry about getting the meaning right for every single word; I definitely don’t! I doubt anyone really knows every single little thing that he wrote about. Just try and enjoy the experience!
Thanks for reading!