Home > Multimedia Essays > Why is Shakespeare’s Time Different from Ours?

Why is Shakespeare’s Time Different from Ours?

submitted by Martin Angelo A. Aguilar 2009 – 79112



Obviously, Shakespeare’s time is different from our time. The advent of modern technology is one of the major reasons why our time is different from Shakespeare. Modern technology made our lives easier in terms of communication, mode of production, and presentation. In today’s time, communication is made easier; we can send our personal messages to our friends or love ones by just a single text message. In terms of mode of production, there is a huge difference during Shakespeare’s time. Today, production of your own literary works can be done in just a snap. Say for example the blog posts that we have published on this site. But, during Shakespeare’s time, it was too difficult to publish a certain work due to the lack of resources or mode of production which I think was one of the reasons why some authors during Shakespeare’s time didn’t bother to have their works published. Another big factor that contributes to the difference of Shakespeare’s time to our time was the presentation. Let’s take film as an example. The magic of cinematography captivated the modern generation because of its marvelous special effects. Now, Shakespeare’s The Tempest can be easily done because of the availability and the arrival of cinematography.



Another major difference is the language. Shakespeare’s language differs from the modern English language that we are accustomed to. Having a disparity of the use of language we may find it a little bit challenging to understand the full meaning of the lines of Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies, and all of his other works. That’s why Spark Notes published their own version of Shakespeare’s works. The so called “No Fear Shakespeare” is their own way of bringing or presenting Shakespeare works to modern readers.




For me, these books enable the reading public to appreciate Shakespeare better because of the side by side plain English translation. With that, the readers can understand the text better. Aside from that, these books also help to capture the youth culture market. Having a side by side plain English translation will help the youth to read Shakespeare’s work and continue to live the tradition. Also, in our own local setting, I think that these “No Fear Shakespeare” books will lessen the fear factor that young Filipinos have when they hear the name Shakespeare.

Yes, reading the original text is very important but, if we want to live the tradition and if we want to pass on Shakespeare into the next generation then we have to take this steps. Having a plain English translation of Shakespeare’s works will allow the reading public of today to consider Shakespeare as part of their reading list. Just like what I have said earlier, Shakespeare’s language differs from our modern language and language varies in every generation. That’s why I think it’s a necessary to have these translations. What is the essence of preserving the authentic or the original Shakespeare text if only few people understand, appreciate, and enjoy reading all of Shakespeare’s works?

Now, I am not fully saying or suggesting relying on the modern English translations but, use these translations as a tool or as one way of checking whether your interpretation of the Shakespearian text is correct or somewhat close. Just like what the article posted last February 24, 2008 at the The Bard Blog says, “Again, the modern is to be used as a tool to help you understand what is being said when it is tough. In that respect these books can be a GREAT help. Some passages in Shakespeare just are too weird to comprehend right away and looking it up in one of these is a wonderful and painless way to get an “Aha! So THAT’S what that means” moment”.




““Translated” Shakespeare | The Bard Blog – Shakespeare Info.” The Bard Blog. Web. 12 Mar. 2011. <http://www.bardblog.com/translated-shakespeare/&gt;.

“To Twitter or Not to Twitter?” Bits by Ben. Web. 12 Mar. 2011. <http://ben.liveforge.org/2008/10/20/to-twitter-or-not-to-twitter&gt;

Stock Photos of William Shakespeare in Period Clothing Sitting on Modern Chair Using Laptop U16210402 – Search Stock Photography, Print Pictures, Images, and Photo Clip Art – U16210402.jpg.” Stock Photography – Search 8.5 Million Stock Photos, Stock Footage Video Clips, Royalty Free Images, and Illustrations. Web. 12 Mar. 2011. <http://www.fotosearch.com/UNW825/u16210402/&gt;.

Categories: Multimedia Essays
  1. March 18, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    i definitely agree with what you said about the whole phenomenon of the “No Fear Shakespeare”. I believe that it’s one of the best ways to appreciate Shakespeare most especially in the present times.

  2. jmzmj
    March 23, 2011 at 12:58 am

    Times may have changed but Shakespeare’s works still bask in their own creativity. Though it may be true that at these times, to understand the text, we may require the famous ‘spark notes’ since we have grown accustomed to breezing through dealings with ease. All I can say is that it is a bit of on the negative that we are missing out a lot on the true beauty of Shakespeare art.

    • martaguilar
      March 24, 2011 at 3:53 pm

      yes, i do agree with you that ‘spark notes’ takes away the magic of Shakespeare’s words. But, my point is that, ‘spark notes’ enables the reader to understand some of the weird lines by Shakespeare. Plus, i also believe that if we don’t understand Shakespeare then whats the point of reading Shakespeare?

  3. carlos
    March 24, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    i agree that sparknotes is one of the best ways to approach the text because it really does allow the reader to wrap his head around some of the more difficult statements that Shakespeare seems to make on an annoying basis. they are a kind of fast-track way to instantly appreciating just how well or creatively Shakespeare worded something alongside its admittedly plainer translation. by allowing its reader to see how Shakespeare managed to phrase something that could have been said in a much simpler way in an elevated manner, i think that this text ultimately leads to a greater appreciation of Shakespeare’s talent. more than this, however, i think that the greater merit of these works is that they stimulate the creativity of their user at the same time. perhaps as a result of seeing Shakespeare’s masterful manipulation of words side to side to what we would have normally written, we are exposed to the idea of saying think in a more beautiful (more Shakespearean way).

    great job… and i can totally relate to “Aha! So THAT’S what that means” moment”. that speak of. hahaha.

  1. April 21, 2012 at 5:45 am

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