Learning how to read and appreciate imaginative literature takes years, exemplifies the importance of delayed gratification. It may help us succeed on this planet. It may lead to or underlie the wisdom of the ages. But can it give us what Harold Bloom, the nonpareil reader and literary critic, terms the "blessing of more life"?
There are several ways of reading. We can read to escape or to be entertained; to be confirmed in our own point of view or be challenged by another; to be inspired or attack; to evaluate critically or challenge; to judge, condemn, or simply to understand. It is this last way of reading - of wanting to understand the human heart in its many permutations in Shakespeare that interests us here.