Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds
Or bends with the remover to remove…
I can’t help but sigh with admiration every time I read Shakespeare. We know so little about his private life, but if his works are anything to go by then he was surely a genius. He wrote to entertain, not to teach. He wrote plays and poems, not essays. But his works ooze with knowledge tempered by literary style, knowledge about human nature and metaphysics. But how did Shakespeare gain this knowledge, which is unparalleled by any other writer? Perhaps he was just an extremely perceptive person who understood reality very deeply and could express his understandings very well.
Sometimes I wonder why we study literature. If we only wanted to improve our ability to write and read then we wouldn’t spend so much time on critical theories. Some people think it’s a waste of time to analyse texts. But if we can learn from each other’s experiences at all, then literature is the best way of doing that, because our memories, inspirations and imaginings can be recorded and communicated across time, distance and culture through the medium of language. And then someone might be touched, inspired and enlightened by our thoughts. So, I think the skill we learn from literature is the ability to understand ourselves and others.