Clapham Christian Classical School

Clapham Journal

Introducing Shakespeare

By Kat van Elswyk, Intern

Shakespeare plagiarized. For many of his plays, he took other people’s stories and words, tweaked a few things, added iambic pentameter, and put it on stage. When I first learned this, I was upset. I thought that this made Shakespeare less of a genius. If he wasn’t perfectly original, I thought, then he wasn’t as intelligent as I had assumed.

I, however, was mistaken. In fact, the truth is the exact opposite of my assumption: genius thrives on imitation. Like Shakespeare, we ought to rely on minds of the past to inform our endeavors today.


This is why we emphasize imitation at Clapham. Students immerse themselves in great minds of the past, struggling to “tell back” the language of the text they are reading or perfectly render the colors of a visual artist in their own copies. As students do this, their minds meet with the minds of these artists, growing and stretching as they encounter truth and beauty.


Theater is a special kind of imitation. Students not only encounter the words of the script, but they get the chance to actually embody it. If our minds grow just from reading a play; how much more they will stretch when we memorize, consider, and work out a character’s lines on stage over weeks and weeks of rehearsal!


This is why we take theater seriously at Clapham, and why we choose Shakespeare over other playwrights. Shakespeare provides students with some of the richest language and deepest ideas of western civilization. As the students sink their teeth into specific lines, saying and hearing them over and over, their minds are being trained to think a little more like the genius that is Shakespeare.


This spring, Classes Five, Six and Seven have had this opportunity and would like to invite you to their performance of




Comedy of Errors

with accompanying sonnets by other classes

on Thursday, May 5th at 7 p.m.
at College Church in Wheaton in the Commons
332 E. Seminary Ave.
Wheaton, IL 60187

No tickets required. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.


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