Shakespeare lives on in Yeager lecture

The Marshall University Society of Yeager Scholars presented “Shakespeare 400 Years On: In States Unborn and Accents Yet Unknown,” 4 p.m. Thursday at the Brad D. Smith Foundation Hall.

The 30th annual Yeager Symposium was coordinated by the Wolfe Family Class of 2017. The guest speakers for the event were John O’Connor and Kelly O’Connor, who are both Shakespeare scholars. John O’Connor is a professor at Cornell University in Washington, D.C. and Kelly O’Connor is a high school teacher.

The topic of the lecture was how the interpretation and production of Shakespeare’s plays has changed over time.

The lecturers argued that Shakespeare’s work has lasted because people keep finding new meanings of the plays, of which Kelly O’Connor said the new meanings seem endless.

Freshman pre-med major Miranda Smith said she decided to attend the lecture because she loves Shakespeare.

“I love that they included a lot of modern versions and explained how throughout history it’s changed and adapted and I think it showed a lot about how it’s influenced our society today,” Smith said.

Freshman Yeager scholar Faith Hensley said she liked how down-to-Earth the lecture was.

“They were so knowledgeable on the topic,” Hensley said. “I’ve never met anyone who knew Shakespeare backwards and forwards that well.”

John O’Connor said he hoped students took away from the lecture that Shakespeare for some reason doesn’t die.

“There’s something in it and it’s to do with an ambiguity in the language and an openness in the language that enables each generation to find new meanings and, it seems, every different culture to find new meanings,” he said.

John O’Connor said many different kinds of groups all seem to find something in Shakespeare that is meaningful for them.

“It’s a mystery,” he said. “It’s very difficult to explain what there is, but it is to do with the way he’s written it.”

Amanda Gibson can be contacted at [email protected].