Shakespeare would have failed Creative Writing 0350

A fellow classmate of mine (wacrant2011) made an intriguing post a few days ago. He was shining some light on plagiarism, the dreaded enemy of academia it seems. We in academia have preached about plagiarism for years. “You will fail if you plagiarize”, “Do not copy others works without citing”, and “Plagiarism will result in an immediate ‘F’ or a ‘0’ ” are all common things heard on campuses. Here’s the problem though: most great poets are plagiarists. For example, many of Shakespeare’s plays are based on other authors works or older legends For example, have a look at the plot sections of these articles on Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and King Leer. They’re all based on someone’s work. That’s right people. If William Shakespeare were in college today, he would fail Creative Writing for plagiarizing.

However, we don’t discredit Shakespeare for this. We herald him for the way he took older texts and revamped them; he made them true masterpieces. So, if Shakespeare took older works and added to them, he remixed them. Much the way music artists today remix music. Though I don’t think any of the Italian poets Shakespeare copied would have been ready to sue him into submission. You see, traditional poetry has a history of copying, adding to, and recycling texts. Traditional poets were expected to write their own version of classical stories. How well the poet remixed it displayed his skill. We’ve lost that kind of sharing in our culture today. We make a song and it is ours. No one elses. Not even the song notes. RiP: A Remix Manifesto discusses this issue of copyrighting and legal rights among the movie/music industry. Have a look at the film (you can watch it for free) and see what you think. I think Shakespeare had the right idea. If William Shakespeare can remix a story into a time-honored masterpiece then why can’t musicians. It’s the same thing. I’m going to leave you all with some songs to listen to and consider if it’s plagiarism or creating anew from old.





Annnnd compare:



Plagiarism? Reinvention? Rock and Hiphop!?


Filed under Daily thought(s)

6 responses to “Shakespeare would have failed Creative Writing 0350

  1. wacmrsl

    I really like the reinvention idea; using that word gives credit to the original artist but also gives credit to the new artist “tweaking” it and making it new again. Great post and I completely agree with you!

  2. I am thinking of Goethe’s Faust. Christopher Marlowe later wrote Dr. Faustus. The Devil and Tom Wilson, by Washington Irving takes the same concepts and applies them to early American literature. Stephen Benet did the Devil and Daniel Webster, taking it to the level of an early American founder. Then there are the Grandfather Tales by Richard Chase, many of the stories are about a farmer, makng a deal with the Devil. Then there is the famed song from the 70s, you remember, “The Devil went down to Georgia, he was looking for a soul to steal…” The only problem with this song is that the local radio stations played it too much

  3. You could say the local radio stations played the devil out of it!

  4. Pingback: Jonathem Lethem and other misc (probably thought of before) thoughts | Re:toric

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