If you’ll remember, last week there were two momentous dates for literature lovers: Charlotte Bronte’s 200th birthday and William Shakespeare’s death 400 years ago. I decided to honor both with a blog post dedicated to each. I hope you enjoy this last one…
Is there anyone who has left a bigger mark on the English language than William Shakespeare? He coined words that we still use today. His phrases have become a part of common expressions. His plays are still performed, still loved, still studied. 400 years and the man’s popularity has never slowed once. We can even experience connections to favorite authors who also loved Shakespeare and wove his works into their works.
If it wasn’t for Shakespeare, how much of our language and culture would simply not exist? It’s really mind-boggling to think of that.
I haven’t read a ton of Shakespeare. I find it difficult to become really absorbed into a script. I would rather see the plays, as Shakespeare intended when he wrote them. I’m sure he never had any idea of his performances becoming literature. I think he’d be more pleased with today’s audiences if we read his plays after watching a stage performance first.
That said, I have read (and pondered over) Othello, Much Ado About Nothing, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream; but if I’m going to read Shakespeare, I much prefer his sonnets.
“Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.”
Okay, enough of my opinion – here are some links for your enjoyment!
A fascinating history of the bard here.
Here’s an article on the words and phrases attributed to Shakespeare (did you know he invented the knock-knock joke?) and the ways that he is still making his mark on modern culture.
For fun, 11 Things You Didn’t Know About Shakespeare. Includes the Google doodle created for the Bard (in case you missed it, like I did) and a history timeline.
Is Shakespeare’s influence waning? This University of Texas professor thinks so. He wonders in his article whether Shakespeare will be read by fewer people in the future.
“Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.”
Until next time,