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William Shakespeare; when this name is uttered most students across America groan and think to themselves how useless it is to read his works. In reality, Shakespeare’s work is important and needs to continue to be read, studied, and viewed. William Shakespeare was an amazing playwrite and poet. His works are performed in hundreds of language across the world, and people everywhere know who he is. He has left a legacy on the world through his accomplishments in the world of literature.
But, Shakespeare’s relevance doesn’t end with his plays and writing, it delves much deeper. Shakespeare is relevant to modern times and should still be studied because he impacted the human language immensely, his works are still being used as inspiration for pop culture, and his stories teach lessons which relate to human society today.
Shakespeare always seemed to have something to say. His works have influenced the English language today in more ways than people think.
His vocabulary contains over 30,000 words, a portion of which he invented himself. Much of our written and spoken language comes from Shakespeare. “I find myself quoting Shakespeare all the time,” he said. “There is almost always a quote for almost anything one wants to say.” (Craven.) People who don’t even know Shakespeare or any of his works still find themselves quoting him. It is almost impossible not to. He invented words that are still being used today. Besides just words, he gave us phrases. For example, ‘bated breath,’ ‘be-all and the end-all,’ ‘break the ice,’ ‘dead as a doornail,’ and many more phrases came from Shakespeare’s literary genius.
Along with creating words and phrases, he gave people more vivid ways to express their emotions. He created emotional words that his characters portrayed vividly. Without this, people today might act differently or not be able to express themselves. The way Shakespeare showed emotion affected people’s expression of their emotions and feelings today. In the absence of Shakespeare, our language and emotions would have been less advanced and completely different from the way they are today.
When people listen to music, read a book, or watch TV or a movie, Shakespeare doesn’t often come to mind. Yet, without Shakespeare we would not have had any of the vital aspects of pop culture today. As McGrum, who is a reliable English writer and editor said, “Every generation continues to be in his debt. Shakespeare’s plots, which are brilliantly polyvalent, continue to inspire ceaseless adaptations and spinoffs.” (McGrum.) The music, books, and television that people are using everyday actually pay homage to Shakespeare and his works. A modern example in music is Sigh No More. This is the debut album of Mumford & Sons. The title of the album is taken from a line in Shakespeare’s play Much Ado About Nothing. Thousand Acres and The Hogarth Shakespeare are two modern spins in the book world on Shakespeare’s plays. Movies and TV are fuming with inspiration from Shakespeare. There are hundreds of films and shows that are loosely based on Shakespeare or his characters. For example, 10 Things I Hate About You, Shakespeare in Love, West Side Story, Mean Girls, The Lion King, characters in Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Gnomeo and Juliet, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Sons of Anarchy, House of Cards, and many more. Without Shakespeare the world of entertainment would look completely different. The population will forever be in thanks to Shakespeare for how culture looks today.
The world today is Shakespeare reimagined. As Ben Jonson once said about Shakespeare, his work was “not of an age but for all time.”(Jonson.) Shakespeare’s work didn’t die out hundreds of years ago, it continues to resonate in the hearts and lives of people today. Society makes connections with his characters and learns lessons from his stories. His plays have managed to speak truths to the thousands of people who have viewed them. Some examples being Richard III and Twelfth Night. These plays dealt with power struggles and gender roles. These are still problems today, and relate directly to our society. In all of his plays, there are pieces that relate to society today. The characters are just as relevant as the plots and conflicts. Hamlets despair, Lear’s decline, Othello’s envy, and Romeo and Juliets undying love are just a few scenarios. All of Shakespeare’s characters relate to people today and their emotions, feelings, and desires. Shakespeare’s overall themes; love, honor, envy, jealousy, pride, lust, grief, fear, and betrayal are all problems that still matter to society today.
Shakespeare’s works impacted the human language immensely, his plays are an inspiration today, and his stories teach lessons that relate to people today. This is why Shakespeare should still be taught in schools. Through Shakespeare’s works, people learn more about themselves while connecting with others. His plays are for generations to come and they are still important. Without Shakespeare’s brilliancy in literature, the world would look very different. Overall, the human population should be thanking Shakespeare. It is his plays that allow the whole world to see themselves anew.
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