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|GR: Oh, Honey! Fret not!
Written by Jezkalyn
(6/12/2003 9:35 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, You need heavily-annotated editions and plenty of patience!, penned by Sheena
I would just like to say here that English is my native language and to boot, I was an actress for several years, and I still have trouble with Shakespeare sometimes! I think it is because, despite S's contributions to the English language (I vaguely remember being told at some point that he added 40,000 words to the English language - roughly doubling the vocabulary of the 16th c.), it is still a bit of a foreign language: stuck somewhere between Middle English and Modern English. Add to that the fact that he made words up (40,000, I tell you!), it can make it harsh going. Many of the meanings of the words have changed considerably over the last 400 years. So, even though you may be reading a word that looks like a modern english word, it means something completely different than it means today.
Anyhoo, all I can say is read the annotated versions and read them over and over again. After all, I came into this group read knowing Hamlet and I still learned a lot. I guarantee you it will all fall into place. Start with the "easier plays": A Midsummer Night's Dream is a good one to start with because the language is a bit less complicated. As far as the tragedy's are concerned, I would start with Romeo & Juliet.
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