Shakespeare Sucks: A Tragedie in Three Acts

To be, or not to be? A teacher expresses their opinion of Shakespeare in rhyme.

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Does everybody really think that Shakespeare is the best?
I’ve read a ton of Willy’s work, it leaves me quite distressed,
He scarred me through my childhood, and then through my degree,
Yet people say they love the Bard, what fools these mortals be!

Julius Caesar was the first, before I’d turned thirteen,
I laboured on each word and phrase of every bloody scene,
Our teacher thought we’d love the play and quickly get the knack,
But we just plotted by ourselves to stab her in the back.

Then there came the Scottish play—the one that we can’t mention,
We tried to stab her then as well and got a month’s detention,
When Juliet died at Romeo’s side, we cheered (we were so glad),
And as for Hamlet and King Lear, they slowly drove us mad.

Will’s sonnets and his poetry Miss said would win girls’ hearts,
And so I put it to the test and asked a girl in class,
I said to her “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
The girl replied “No, you should not. Now kindly go away.”

Reading Shakespeare’s works at school turned me against the Bard,
It’s not I didn’t get the stuff or that I found it hard,
I’m simply sick of those who say, “Oh Shakespeare, he’s sublime,”
Yet if you dare to disagree you’re dubbed a philistine.

Pshaw, Will was a talented man (a plagiarist as well)
But plays are written to be seen—not bore us all to hell.
I’ve studied theatre all my life and taught it many years,
Though forcing kids to read his stuff reduces me to tears.

Why put Shakespeare in their heads? He makes the pupils snore,
When kids can study Wilde instead, or even Bernard Shaw,
Or Bond or Brecht or Sheridan, Churchill or Arthur Miller,
For stronger stuff there’s Sarah Kane and Amiri Baraka.

Büchner’s Woyzeck caused a storm, a theatre cataclysm,
Then Strindberg, Ibsen and Chekhov, they gave us Naturalism.
I could name a hundred more whose plays are more engaging,
But all I do’s upset a few, and get the bourgeois raging.

See, Shakespeare’s not the only one, there are far greater men,
And as for women, there are loads, including Aphra Behn,
Their contributions to the art outweigh what ‘Beardy’ wrote,
Despite all that, it’s Shakespeare’s tat, that’s thrust right down our throat.

The message that I leave you with cannot be understated,
Yes, Shakespeare wrote a tale or two but most are overrated,
So take your Bottoms, sprites and kings, and even take your Pucks,
For there’s no doubt inside my mind that Shakespeare truly sucks.

Born in Thanet in 1977, Courtney lives with his wife and two children by the sea. He writes a wide variety of fiction, scripts and prose.

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