How Reading Shakespeare Affects You

by Chris Brower

Shakespeare's writing can be confusing and hard to grasp for many readers who don't know the meanings of some out-of-date words. To others, however, Shakespeare represents beautiful imagery. In addition to its grand importance in literature, Shakespeare's writing offers many values outside of a good story or sonnet, and can affect readers in numerous areas.

Brain Activity

Because Shakespeare's writing is complicated to today's readers, it can stimulate brain activity as the mind works to understand what the writing means. Shakespeare used a technique called functional shift. One example of functional shift is using a noun as a verb. When this happens, the brain labors to understand the meaning, working backwards. Using an odd word in a relatively normal sentence catches the brain off guard and leads to stimulated brain activity.


Shakespeare used many words uncommon to readers today. Thus, this challenges readers to learn new vocabulary. This helps when reading other literature, as well as other instances where a larger vocabulary is beneficial, such as when you're expressing yourself. Having a larger vocabulary is one way to improve intelligence.

Speaking Ability

Shakespeare's plays are performed or read aloud frequently. Because Shakespeare's writing is complicated, reading it aloud or performing it improves speaking ability, as the speaker works to both memorize and understand the lines, as well as to deliver them in an articulate manner. Shakespeare's writing also employs certain rhythms, such as iambic pentameter, which when spoken aloud can give a speaker more practice in articulation and delivery.


Reading Shakespeare teaches readers about history, as well as letting readers experience timeless themes of love, jealousy, greed and other issues. This creates a perspective for issues of the present day by comparing both the differences and similarities of these issues from another time. "Romeo and Juliet" explores love, family struggles and miscommunication, teaching readers about the power of love and how misunderstandings can have tragic consequences.

About the Author

Chris Brower is a writer with a B.A. in English. He also spent time studying journalism and utilizes both to deliver well-written content, paying close attention to audience, and knowing one word could determine whether a product is a success or a failure. He has experience writing articles, press releases, radio scripts, novels, short stories, poems and more.

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