When I was at school, Shakespeare shared a mental shelf with Hendrix. I knew their art was “great” but I wasn’t sure I actually liked it, or really understood it.
My Jimi Hendrix breakthrough came when I tried to play it. Only when you listen hard and deep do you understand the incomparably lazy grace of his playing. I still approach live Hendrix with a degree of trepidation.
My William Shakespeare breakthrough came by degrees, though I am indebted to my public speaking coach, Ann Mulraine, for resurrecting my love of words and bringing me back to the bard. And, of course, live Shakespeare – be that the RSC, a local theatre or Hollywood – is something to be savoured.
If you have ever wondered why Shakespeare is venerated as the greatest writer in the English language, have a little look at this, from school revision site enotes.com:
“Part of its appeal, besides its evocative sound, is its economic phrasing, which suggests all three meanings of “fell”: Macbeth figuratively “falls” from the sky in a “fierce, deadly” swoop to “cut down” Macduff’s family.”
One fell swoop.