Why Shakespeare Really Wrote Tragedies – Op-Ed Piece


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In our previous article, we asked how many plays Shakespeare wrote. He wrote 38 plays.


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Why Shakespeare Really Wrote Tragedies – Op-Ed Piece


Now, I am not going to start this piece by stating some unique fact that I know about the Bard, to convince of my knowledge of him or his life. I am not going to quote him to get you intrigued by my personal take here. That has been done before by every half-witted schmuck with a laptop. (Even by half-witted schmucks without a laptop). So I will start this theory out the best way I know how; by telling you of it and hoping that your Facebook updates or your phone won’t go off by the time so that you actually read this whole thing.

Shakespeare wrote tragedies in order to give himself more control over the characters and their use in our society.

Look at your favorite television show that you have watched so many seasons that you lost track. Or your favorite movie that you quote a little too much. And you will see that the industry is more than willing to drive this cash cow into the ground until it is so utterly useless and hated by our society that the masses only mock the once-great art. The witty television show is joked about for being on the air for too long. Some YouTubers may even make videos talking of the glory days of the show, which is, by the way, still on the air. The movie franchise is cut to a short description of the same plot used in the last seven films. We don’t like the movie that much, so we cut it down by simplifying it and not elaborating on anything it gives us. The industry is full of losers and frauds who are more than happy to suck the life out of anything that the audiences will pay for. Instead of creating their own notable art, they keep at the popular one until no one buys any more tickets, no on streams the show, no one buys the books.


Hey, I get it; if I was a businessman who was pushing numbers and filing reports, I’d see that positive side to the repetition of the distribution of art. It is cheaper, which means that the art doesn’t have to sell as much in order to make the same profits. A new book, or movie, or show requires money to get off the ground. You can’t just release it and then expect people to show up. You gotta market the damn thing. It turns out that marketing is tougher than it looks. And some things are popular because people like talking about them. Like that movie, you quote so much. Or that book you read every year. Or that show you stream while doing laundry. You had to learn of that thing somehow along the line, and that awareness is the toughest part for any brand to keep up.

Once art becomes a part of the public's consciousness, it is no longer art but property to be sold and profited from.

There is a business side to art that is hard to ignore, unfortunately.

There is a common theme I see in stories today; the hero can’t die. If he does, then there is no sequel. And the producers and publishers don’t want that. No sequel means no money. So the hero stays alive, even when the odds are really against him. This, of course, ruins the story for us, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are all very aware of the “hero dilemma” and accept it. And if they do end up killing the hero, how long is it until morons like me blog asking the question, “How soon until they bring back the main character?”

That is where Shakespeare is different. Now, I will not tell you he didn’t write sequels or plays that were popular. We know he did. Just take a look at all of his histories. But I would like to think that Shakespeare knew how people would handle his great plays. Why wouldn’t he know that? Was the world that much different then than now? Were there not copy-cats when he wrote his plays? (Turns out that there were actors who were trying to steal from Shakespeare, and that is how we got his sonnets, but that is for another post altogether)

Suppose Shakespeare knew people so much, which is what everyone says about the dead bastard. Why do we not acknowledge Shakespeare’s understanding of his own significance and influence as he was alive? He had to have known if his play was a big success that people would copy from it, right? He had to know that artists would draw of his characters, and musicians would sing of them, right? How come no one ever gives him credit for this understanding of the shrewdness of people? We all love quoting him when suicide is on the table or a soldier is at war, but we never see him analyzing his characters as a fan himself. We should.

Shakespeare falls into the trap that I have spoken of here before, and that is we think the same of writers that we do of teachers. Frankly, we are surprised that they are even people. Believe it or not, I didn’t spend all day writing this post. I had a nice relaxing lunch of a Nutella sandwich and chips, with some soda, while watching Arrested Development. I wasn’t staring at the wall, thinking of words for this freaking post. Like that teacher you had in school, doesn’t just stay in the classroom after the bell rings, gets put into the closet until tomorrow. That teacher has a life. He plays softball on the weekends. He is in a band that gets together to jam every Tuesday at the local bar. Yeah, he isn’t going walking around thinking about your grades or the curriculum all the time. Writers get this unfair treatment too. Ironically enough, these two groups of people end up shaping a person’s life who thought they didn’t have one.

But anyway,… that is my rant for today. That is my theory. A game theory. Oh, wait… Sorry. That is not my line. Plus, isn’t that guy doing film theories now too? Ah, whatever.

Yeah, so the Bard killed off his characters so that way no one could write sequels with them.

Ending

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Greg Luti is an editor and blogger on pensandwords.com. His favorite writers are Robert Frost and Charles Bukowski. He enjoys reading up on history, watching comedies, and playing video games, when he is not writing down a few notes for his next piece. He started this blog out of his love for literature and hopes that the reader shares that same passion.

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