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Was Shakespeare a really good poet?

  1. profile image0
    PhenomWriterposted 5 years ago

    http://s4.hubimg.com/u/5764611_f248.jpg
    Many people find Shakespeare's work as 'tough'; but those who do understand, do understand what a genius he was. But was he a good poet?

    1. Paraglider profile image91
      Paragliderposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      The short answer is 'yes'.
      There are occasions in the plays where he puts some pretty lame poetry in the mouths of his characters, but on these occasions, the character may well be a jester and is not supposed to be a great poet. So it's good characterisation.
      The sonnet sequence is exceptional taken as a whole, with many of the individual sonnets widely recognised as standalone masterpieces.
      (And of course most of the history and tragedy plays are written entirely in blank verse).
      I'm wondering why you asked the question?

      1. profile image0
        PhenomWriterposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Good that you wondered...

        Do you know what this thing is called Poetry?    -If only you can answer that question I have nothing else to ask.

        1. Paraglider profile image91
          Paragliderposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          I'd settle for Louis Armstrong's answer when asked to define jazz - If you have to ask 'what is it?' you ain't never going to know!

          1. profile image0
            PhenomWriterposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            That makes it subjective...

            1. Paraglider profile image91
              Paragliderposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              Yes, but if thousands of people's subjectivities appear to coalesce around the works of particular poets, maybe there is something of substance there.

              1. profile image0
                PhenomWriterposted 5 years ago in reply to this

                Interesting-- Do you consider ' thousands of people's subjectivities' to be any evidence for any given phenomenon?...like religion, faith, or appreciation of literature?

                1. Paraglider profile image91
                  Paragliderposted 5 years ago in reply to this

                  I don't want to take this to the realms of religion or faith, because I've written plenty of hubs on these topics.
                  But keeping with poetry, the world is full of wannabe poets who are sure their stuff is good. If thousands of people concur in respect of certain individuals, then maybe their stuff really is good. If hardly anyone does, maybe it's not.

                  Of course there are plenty of objective criteria too, especially in formal poetry (such as Shakespeare's).

                  1. profile image0
                    PhenomWriterposted 5 years ago in reply to this

                    Did you say 'may be'...?

                    I will love to hear those objective criteria, if such a thing exists. I never heard anything called 'formal poetry'...nice to get to know such a fabulous form of literature exists.

        2. couturepopcafe profile image60
          couturepopcafeposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          To ask 'what is poetry' is to ask 'what is love'  for
          if i could live upon your tattered brow
          and bathe my heart within your silken tear
          then there would be the portent of my dream
          complete resplendant love unbidden there

          but suddenly i am no longer bold
          remove the words of anger spoken there
          what once was full of life now quickly gone
          the cause of such defeat i can not bear

          so precious to your soul the gift you hid
          you close your heart from breaking even now
          no flame nor e'en desire holding there
          but i, to save your love and this i vow

          would live among the misty streets of dreams
          if i could live upon your tattered brow

          What is poetry, indeed.

          1. profile image0
            PhenomWriterposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            Subjectively 'great'...

    2. wanzulfikri profile image61
      wanzulfikriposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Your question got me thinking. Maybe we perceive him as a good poet because of what others told us. Personally, is it us who love his poetry or others?

      1. Paraglider profile image91
        Paragliderposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Of course his reputation goes before him, but I can be counted among the many who genuinely enjoy and revere his poetry.
        Having said that, the intensity, poetic diction and Elizabethan English combine to make him a difficult read without a bit of work and/or a good teacher.

    3. profile image57
      jaiswalpayalposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Yes , but the drama "JULIUS CESAR" I don't understand.

  2. profile image0
    PhenomWriterposted 5 years ago

    For me, Shakespeare was a good Thinker, a better Writer, a great Rebel, but a mediocre Poet - if poetry is about beauty and subtlety.

    He has a practical usefulness, but does he have spiritual intensity? I doubt...

    You are right. Many people praise him out of conformity; that's so easy. roll

    1. cdub77 profile image89
      cdub77posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I want to encourage anyone to have an opinion, but people we need to base our discussions in fact and reality. 

      Let's talk about the reality of Shakespeare's poetry.  He only wrote it for a brief period in his career when the plague closed the theater houses in London around 1590.  He wrote two longer, book length verses and he wrote 154 Sonnets in this time.  Now lets look at the evidence for his genius:

      The feminine formation of iambic pentameter adds an additional syllable for line, making 11 total.  There are 14 lines in a Sonnet.  That means the maximum number of syllables for any Sonnet is 154.

      Now, Petrarch, for those who don't know, made the Petrarchan Sonnet the foremost form of poetry in his day.  We're spoiled with the advents of E.E. Cummings, T.S Eliot, and others to have our ideas of poetry broken free from what the term meant when Shakespeare encountered it. 

      Shakespeare encountered the Petrarchan Sonnet (An Octet, a turn, and Sextet). It was incredibly popular.  So what did Shakespeare do?  He said, I'll see your rules and raise them by my own:

      I'll use three quartets and a couplet.  I'll preserve your original turn at line 9, but I'll add another one at line 13.  I'll redefine my rhyming scheme even more strictly than Petrarch, and then I'll turn the Sonnet on it's head in 154 different ways.

      My personal favorite trick he does is use the word WIll to refer to himself as well as the will to do something.  It's genius all the ways he turns it around (I think it's like Sonnets 134-137). 

      Furthermore, he has some powerful analogies between love and all sorts of things in this world that he develops into phrases that have three or more definitive meanings that not only don't conflict one another, but enhance the meaning as a whole.  For example, the idea of distilling beauty for preservation against time is discussed as a process of pressing flower leaves, having a child, or having poetry written about you for quite a long time in the beginning as the speaker, and older man, tries to convince the object of the Sonnets, a younger man, to be judicious with this love.  Not only this, but Shakespeare effectively subverts the speakers own desires both syntactically and semantically through inventive word play.

      The truth of the matter is, if you don't think Shakespeare is a great poet, you haven't done the work to encounter him as he demands to be encountered. 

      People, your opinions are fine, but William Shakespeare's work stands in defiance of ignorance for anyone with the desire and passion to encounter this unique and most satisfyingly brilliant of men.

      Please go pickup a copy of the Arden Shakespeare's Sonnets and read the notes on each Sonnet as you go through as well as the essays before and after, as I did.  It will edify and delight all who seriously wish to understand Shakespeare.

      To call him mediocre is to vastly misunderstand poetry, the development of the English language and poetry, history on this planet, and your own assessment skills.

      1. profile image0
        PhenomWriterposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        You go too rash before you understand someone. Don't get it personal, Shakespeare is neither my uncle or your uncle.

        Just tell me what is Poetry? I will assess later; you may try to find one yourself. Poetry is a subjective matter. It depends on the reader what he likes or dislikes. Unless you can prove objective substance in a poem, that enterprise is worthless.

      2. couturepopcafe profile image60
        couturepopcafeposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        cdub - nicely done. 

        'The truth of the matter is, if you don't think Shakespeare is a great poet, you haven't done the work to encounter him as he demands to be encountered'.

        Truer words were never spoken about any artist who deviates from the accepted standards.  IMO, every artist demands to be encountered on his own terms.  One reason I abhor juries.  They make us suffer for our insanity.

  3. Thelma Alberts profile image83
    Thelma Albertsposted 5 years ago

    Yes, I think Shakespeare was a good poet. The very best I think.

    1. profile image0
      PhenomWriterposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      In what way was he "The very best"? Is there any criteria?

  4. habee profile image91
    habeeposted 5 years ago

    I love Shakespeare's sonnets, especially 116. It was read at my oldest daughter's wedding. You guys know that many of the sonnets were written to another man?

    1. Paraglider profile image91
      Paragliderposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Yep. The polite establishment were long in denial of it, of course.

    2. profile image0
      PhenomWriterposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      May I ask - are you saying that many of his poems were written by other writers?

      1. habee profile image91
        habeeposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        No! Many of his sonnets (the first 126) are addressed to another man. It could have been a lover or a rival poet. From Sonnet 20:

        "A woman's face with nature's own hand painted...
        A woman's gentle heart...
        And for a woman wert thou first created..."

  5. BakerRambles profile image85
    BakerRamblesposted 5 years ago via iphone

    I am going to say it was s lover, as there are other duarte from citizens within the city that told of his escapades.

  6. ellinachen profile image58
    ellinachenposted 5 years ago

    He really was a good poet. But sometimes it is not easy to understand what is the meaning of his poem.

 
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