The fact that Shakespeare didn’t even complete his grammar school education is a favorite fact to cite by those who doubt he wrote his plays. However, I think that the fact that he had so little education proves to be an inspiration.
I have been reading the book “William Shakespeare without the Boring Bits” and Peter Ackroyd, in the introduction, makes an excellent point: “But this kind of snobbery misunderstands the nature of genius; Charles Dickens had far less of a formal education than Shakespeare, but no one has ever doubted the authorship of his novels.” (pg. 2)
Shakespeare spent years in a theater company before he ever picked up a quill, and it took another several years of writing before he started writing the plays that are still regularly performed today. He studied language in a different way than in a formal classroom, but that by no means he was uneducated.
In today’s struggling education system, let’s use him as an inspiration to students. Let them know that Shakespeare learned language on his own when he had to drop out of school to work for his family. There is no doubt that Shakespeare was a genius, but he also proves that genius comes from anywhere. Teachers need to stop treating Shakespeare as this unreachable level of language genius that students will undoubtedly struggle to reach. It makes him scary to students before they even start.
Rather, let’s present Shakespeare as an every day person, who came into and developed his genius. He didn’t come out of the womb speaking in iambic pentameter. It took time. He’s inspirational because he worked his way to being a legendary playwright. Let’s use his story to inspire kids to tap into their own genius.