Originally Posted by CDFS
Facepalm If he's the most influental writer in (....) language then that is part of his rating. Stating he is overrated is stating he shouldn't be (...) and that statement is thus subjective.
His influence is an objective measure, not a subjective one. Therefore, to make the statement that he is "overrated," one would need to argue that his influence exceeded his actual literary merit. While that is, ultimately, a subjective argument, it is a subjective argument that requires objectivity (influence) to be met with equally strong counterargument (influence was undue because of X, Y, and Z). That counterargument can't hinge on a single, subjective opinion about how much you do or do not enjoy the process of reading him. In order to make the argument that Shakespeare was "overrated," you need to choose a stronger and more measurable approach, and then substantiate it. Something like: 1) Shakespeare's influence exceeded his literary merit because other authors of his era were better and more accomplished. (This then requires substantiation). 2) Shakespeare's influence exceeded his literary merit because the degree of his influence was actually quite superficial. In essence, he was a good storyteller but not a good writer. (This then requires substantiation). 3) Shakespeare's influence exceeded his literary merit because he didn't influence anyone of merit. (Again, substantiation required) 4) Shakespeare's influence exceeded his literary merit because everyone he influenced gave him too much credit relative to his actual talent. (Substantiation required; textual analysis required) 5) Shakespeare's influence exceeded his literary merit because he was one of the only surviving authors of his time, and he lived in an influential age. (Need data or evidence on this). 6) Shakespeare's influence exceeded his literary merit because he was extremely popular, and thus more widely published than his contemporaries; popularity does not necessarily equate with merit; see: Twilight for example. (This is actually a fairly strong argument, but still needs evidence) Etc. The point is, there are probably an infinite number of ways to structure the argument using measures that, while not totally objective, at least contain some logical and analytical basis. The argument that he is overrated because Joe Schmo in Boise, Idaho doesn't care for him is a fairly weak argument. Even within the realm of subjective arguments, there are such things as strong subjective arguments and weak subjective arguments. Given the strength of the objective measure in this debate -- his influence -- we would need a very strong and well-reasoned subjective counterargument. This has not been forthcoming.