The First Thing You Think Of

I saw a post on Reddit today that asked, “What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word Shakespeare?”

“Ooooo,” I thought, “This one’s right up my alley.”  I start mentally forming my response. I click.  I am disappointed to see everybody’s answer says nothing but “Romeo and Juliet” or “Hamlet” or something “Othello” or “Dream”.  I’m also disappointed to see that the post was put up 13 hours ago, so there’s no point in responding, as nobody will ever see it.  I only see it because I’ve got a search filter on Shakespeare posts.  I decide not to post.

Good thing, too, because before archiving the post out of my news reader I realize that the question was actually, “What is the first PLAY you think of when you hear the word Shakespeare?”  So they were all right, and I would have looked like an idiot. 🙂

So then I’ll ask and answer my own question here, because I can do that. What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word Shakespeare?

I’m grasping for the word I want but I can’t find it.  Hopefully somebody will grok what I’m saying and deliver me my word.  But for now I’m going to say it like this :  Eleven.  As in, “These go up to eleven.”  I’m not just talking about what Shakespeare the man accomplished, although that alone makes a worthy life goal (Shakespeare wrote Richard III and Romeo and Juliet by the time he was thirty, what have you done, and are children studying it four hundred years later?) I’m talking about the depth and intensity of what he put up on stage.  We’ll all feel at one time or another love, and hate, and ambition and grief and the whole host of human emotions.  And when we do there’s always some Shakespeare we can point to and say, “Yes.  That.  That is what this feels like.”

That’s what I think of.  What about you?


4 thoughts on “The First Thing You Think Of

  1. See, I wouldn’t go there. Even after all these years of talking about Shakespeare I still feel like half an impostor. If Shakespeare was here and the popular kid at school I feel like he’d be surrounded by his circle of friends and admirers while I sat at more of a distance, too much in awe to feel worthy of stepping into the circle.

  2. Nah – you earn and create that friendship through quality time, through being together through thick and thin. In fact, I’m just writing a blog post on that, inspired by what you’ve written. Plus I am a more confident character and would have muscled my way in, even if he was, and I wonder, the cool kid …

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