Shakespeare and Teenagers

Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr

in The Edinburgh Companion to Shakespeare and the Arts

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780748635238
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652297 | DOI:
Shakespeare and Teenagers

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This chapter first addresses the education system as a site where Shakespeare is aimed at teenagers with strategies of making the plays relevant to teenagers. Then it considers the primacy of Romeo and Juliet as the emblematic teen Shakespeare work. It also deals with Shakespeare for teenagers in two key appropriative markets: cinema and young adult novels. Teenagers encounter Shakespeare in the classroom as part of their secondary education. Since the sixties, Romeo and Juliet has achieved primacy in secondary education, presumably because of its teenaged heroine (and often-presented as teenaged hero, though Romeo is most likely in his early twenties and would have been played in the Lord Chamberlain's men by an adult actor). The adolescent's fear of Shakespeare and the concern that the plays might be boring or inaccessible are both removed by ensuring that Shakespeare only engages issues of concern to them.

Keywords: Shakespeare; teenagers; education; Romeo and Juliet; cinema; young adult novels; classroom

Chapter.  6553 words. 

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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