I think the idea of every text having a use by date is incorrect and I will therefore argue against the topic. There are a few things which can help to keep texts from ever having their use by date and as a result proving my argument. For example, texts, such as Macbeth, can always be changed slightly and interpreted differently to make them interesting time and time again, for old and new audiences. Also, just because a text was written a long period of time ago doesn’t mean that it still won’t be interesting, as the events and themes in it can still be relevant to the current time and its happenings.
One of the main reasons that proves that texts don’t have a use by date is the fact that an older text can involve events or ideas that are relevant to modern audiences’ daily lives. Some of the ideas explored in Macbeth are ambition, guilt, greed, cruelty, hostilities between good and evil, the rule of leader, the purpose of human existence and supernatural happenings. These all tie in with peoples every day life.
For example, ambition was a major factor in Macbeth and plays an important role in practically everyone’s daily life. In Macbeth it was ambition that drove Macbeth to commit the acts that he did and in modern times business is becoming more and more competitive in today’s society so as a result ambition, and its destructive nature, becomes more of an issue.
Also, the idea of hostilities between good and evil, order and disorder and the rule of a leader, which are major components of Macbeth, are relevant to the military action in the Iraq War which has affected a lot of the world. These and other ideas interest people from all time periods as some, if not all, of these ideas will affect them.
Another main reason that shows a text doesn’t have a use by date is the fact that they can always be appropriated. Appropriation is when something old is turned into something new. In this case it would be taking an old text and changing it to suit a modern audience, usually by making a film version. For example, in one instance the Shakespearean text “Romeo and Juliet” was turned into a movie that used only the plot of the original text and used the settings of modern life and a modern script which allowed the audience to relate to more to the film. This is a perfect example of the fact that a text which is hundreds of years old can still be entertaining.
When a movie is appropriated it can appeal to a wider audience, as not everyone likes or understands the style of writing used to write the original text. If texts are appropriated in this way they will continue to entertain audiences and as a result, never end up having a use by date.
A film version of an older text, especially a Shakespearean one, can be very effective in delivering the original to text to a wider audience. A film version makes the text easier for the audience to understand as it provides visual images to help them realize what’s actually going on and what the characters are saying, as a lot of people wouldn’t fully understand what was being said when the old English style of writing, that Shakespeare uses, is used.
New interpretations also help to keep texts and their film versions interesting to new audiences and audiences that have seen it before. In Polanski’s version of Macbeth Polanski decided to add a scene, which wasn’t in the original text, into the movie. He also changed the way things happened in some of the scenes, for example, when Macbeth returns to the witches, instead of the apparitions appearing he sees completely different visions that give him warnings and predictions.
Another reason to further show that texts don’t have a use by date is the point that just because a text is old doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining or interesting to modern readers. Texts such as Macbeth and many other of Shakespeare’s plays are still regarded as some of the best plays ever written even though they were written hundreds of years ago. In some cases, audiences may find these texts interesting and entertaining because they’re written in an old style of English which is no longer used. When this is the case it clearly shows that the idea of texts having a use by date as incorrect.
In conclusion, I think that the points presented sufficiently prove that well written texts do not have a use by date. If a text is well written it will continue to be valued no matter how old it is. Especially due to the fact that, just because a text is old doesn’t mean it’s no longer interesting to modern audiences.