Shakespeare is the most renowned poet, playwright, and dramatist in the history of English language. He coined over 400 words in the English language by himself. He wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets during his lifetime. But what is it about him that we continue to learn, admire, and fall in love with his works?
After reading and teaching Shakespeare, I have come to the conclusion that his works are timeless because he chose to write about human nature at its most fundamental level. He was astute enough to write about world affairs, people, emotions, feelings, ideas, and actions. He chose themes like life and death, youth versus age, love and hate, fate and free will, and so on. These characteristics are universal; they occur in all humans.
Many people believe he wrote and produced plays in order to survive. He had no choice but to write in order to support his family. He relied on writing for a living, and he wrote about anything that happened to him. Shakespeare is said to have gotten his inspiration from stories told by sailors and ship crew members. When a ship returns from a voyage, it brings more than just cargo; it also brings experiences. When the sailors go to a bar to relax, boast, and narrate their thrilling cruise, he blends in with the crowd and picks up on the stories. These tales are later reincarnated in his plays in various ways.
Modern take on Shakespeare
Another reason Shakespeare is still alive today is due to the media's power. Multiple adaptations of his plays, such as Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello, Merchant of Venice, and others, etched the plots, themes, and emotions of the characters into the minds of the masses. Even if a person hasn't read or can't comprehended Shakespeare's work, are familiar with him because of films. Moreover, the plays were written to be performed in front of an audience, not read.
It isn't just movies. Shakespeare's plays are still produced and toured around the world by The Globe Theatre and the Elizabethan playhouse for which he wrote. People still hurry to buy tickets to see Shakespeare's great plays unfold on stage, despite the fact that drama as an art form is on the verge of extinction.
Characters of Shakespeare
The characters in Shakespeare's plays represent universal values, dilemmas, and emotions. Since these elements connect with the public at large, they appear to be quite true. The indecisive essence of Hamlet, the nefarious ambition of Macbeth and his wife, the vain romantic in Romeo, and many other characters can be found in us. They reveal to the world deep dark, vengeful or innocent, naive multilayered characters.
After the assassination of Duncan, Macbeth experiences guilt, sorrow, shame, and other emotions. However, he was brave and sure in his decision just before committing the act. The reaction was almost instantaneous after the deed. Human beings are complex creatures; as someone once said, "human nature is a myth," and we can only speculate about what an individual may do. That has both beauty and destruction. This explains how some people can surprise us while others can disappoint us by doing the seemingly impossible.
Words of Wisdom
The characters embodied the words of wisdom and proverbs with beautiful and rich sentences like:
“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”
― William Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well
“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”
― William Shakespeare, The Tempest
“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
― William Shakespeare
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.”
― William Shakespeare, As You Like It
These sentences seem to remain with us, influencing our thoughts or even prompting us to reconsider.
Shakespeare in School
Learning Shakespeare in school is an excellent way of introducing students to the world's rights and wrongs. It tells us that human life is complicated and intricately entangled. It's impossible to guess what will happen next in life. And in terms of human experience, the world has remained largely unchanged over the last few decades. We share the same emotional intelligence as our forefathers and mothers, and it will never cease.
Shakespeare will open your eyes to English's linguistic elegance, word play, and matrix, among other things. You're in for a kaleidoscopic adventure. That is why, whether it is for IGCSE, IB, CBSE, or other boards, all over the world overwhelmingly recommend Shakespeare. So, yeah, I believe we should spend studying Shakespeare.
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