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Shakespeare before the plays


Don’t let the title mislead you. There is no Shakespeare before the plays. Hahaha In this post, I just want to show what Shakespeare was for me, before I read or watched a single play.

Growing up, one of the things a kid does is watch the television and of course kids don’t watch the news. Cartoons was the one and only thing we tuned in to, especially me. I tried to remember as much as I can without searching the net so my post would stay true only what I knew during my time as a kid. Here are those I remember:

Image  Image

These two came from one of my favorite shows before, Hey Arnold! The one on the left is Mr. Simmons( I think) Arnold’s 5th grade teacher holding a copy of Romeo and Juliet and on the right Arnold and Helga reenact the famous balcony scene.


These pictures come from the Simpsons series, which is know for having themed episodes in its 20+ year run. The first picture shows Bart as Hamlet, stabbing  Officer Wiggum, who is playing Polonius. The second and third picture are of Homer, playing the father of Macbeth, who is played by Bart.


And of course what childhood is complete having seen one of  Disney’s classics, The Lion King. When I was a kid, I was oblivious to the fact that story of this play is based on one of Shakespeare’s  tragedies. can you guess which one?


These last two are more recent but I still want to include them to show that up to today Shakespeare still lives on in cartoons. First image is a poster of the movie “Gnomeo and Juliet”and from the title itself you know what you’re getting. The plot is basically same as Romeo and Juliet just that the characters are garden gnomes and live in different sides of a fence. The second one, is of the show Phineas and Ferb. At first, I had no idea there was Shakespeare in the show but after watching an episode where Phineas uttered the line, “Friends, Bullies, Irving…”I was intrigued and I had to search more about it. I found out that the creators and writers of the show intentionally put in random Shakespeare allusions so that kids these days still get a taste of the plays.

  1. Nadean Barbers
    October 18, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    This is how I first encountered Shakespeare too! Before we discussed him formally in high school, I knew of his plays through the cartoons that I watched as a kid. I actually got to understand his plays despite being introduced to Shakespeare this way–would’ve understood it better anyway as a kid by watching cartoon versions!

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