Somewhere, in the cold infinity of the internet, a voice asks if they will get as much from reading a ‘No Fear‘ version of Hamlet as they would from reading the original …
My ears prick up, and I swing round and take aim.
There is no point.
‘Does it diminish the quality?’ Shakespeare IS the quality. It’s not about the stories; less than a handful are original stories, and since then you can find similar stories/adaptations in many mediums and more accessible language.
Why do we study / enjoy Shakespeare? Because of the way he was able to put words together (with a limited vocabulary, mind) in ways that were beautiful and memorable; because he understood and still understands, from beyond the grave, what it is like to be human; because he didn’t preach at us, but presented a situation and allowed us to measure ourselves against it.
(Nor, by the way, does he need translation – it is perfectly understandable English. David Crystal reckons between 5 and 10% maximum of his work requires clarification, and a lot of that can be done by the reader with some thought of their own)
Ultimately, if you only read a modernisation, you will know the story, but you will have missed the point entirely. Sorry, but that’s it.
It’s like listening to Beethoven’s 5th played on a recorder …