To Be Or Not To Be, Innit Essay
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How does the introduction to “To Be Or Not To Be, Innit” use language to achieve its purposes and what issues does it raise about language and power? The purpose of the text ‘To Be Or Not To Be, Innit’ is to persuade those who believe Shakespeare is not ‘cool’ enough to be used in modern society to not take negative attitude towards him and his works, and as a result, educate youths into developing a passion for Shakespeare. The author believes that civilization has abandoned Shakespeare, and he wishes to once again return it and the excitement which was created when the works were first published.
This is achieved through the genre of the introduction and the rest of the book, by merging both the old English of Shakespearian times and the modern teenage ‘slang’ to create a text which appeals to both crowds. By attempting to use street language, the reader gains a sense of familiarity with the writer, and the humour is used to make Shakespeare interesting rather than as a joke. However, the author also uses many sophisticated phrases, quotes from Shakespeare’s texts, and the idea of educating the young in a ‘modern’ way of learning to also encourage the older generations to read and enjoy the book.
To persuade the younger readers that Shakespeare is exciting, he uses the example of if he were around today. When he was around, he was extremely popular, and by stating that Shakespeare would not care about the haters of his works with the words ‘Am I bovvered? ‘ the writer states he would be too important to need to reply, as well as reflecting his ‘cool’ factor by using young street-talk. Adults and older readers may use this text to gain an idea of how modern teenagers respond to language, and can use this as an example to attempt to interact with them.
Both schools and libraries can use ‘To Be Or Not To Be, Innit’ as a means of introducing children into Shakespeare without putting too much strain on them, and making it an enjoyable experience at the same time. Because of the use of language by the author, it is suggested that he must have an idea of both language in Shakespearian times, as well as all forms of modern day communication today. As a result, the book will have been written recently, by an adult who is experimenting to combine both forms of English to bring back to love of Shakespeare to modern society.
Overall, the author uses a light-hearted, informal tone to convince the reader to think of him and Shakespeare as welcoming and familiar people, rather than distanced and adamant. He does this mainly through the various street language that he uses, but also the technique of using the terms ‘us’ and ‘we’, rather than ‘I’. By using both colloquial speech, such as ‘respect’, ‘massive’ and ‘turf’, fused with famous Shakespeare terms like ‘alas’, the novelist puts forward his ideas to both registers.