Is Shakespeare Still Relevant?

As I type this title, English teachers all over the world prepare to defend one of the legends of the literature world. Shakespeare’s work might’ve been great 400 years ago, but does it still matter today?

The answer, my friends, is yes.

I enjoy reading Shakespeare as little as any high schooler, but I cannot deny the effect his work has had on literature and pop culture as a whole, and language in particular.

Romeo and Juliet, one of the most popular plays of all time, has inspired many, many movies and books. West Side Story, Gnomeo and Juliet, and others all play on the star-crossed lovers trope made popular by Shakespeare.

The themes used in Shakespeare plays are universal. He worked with themes like love, power, war, and family, themes that everyone can relate to. In addition, the themes are interpreted differently by everyone. No two people will interpret a Shakespeare play in the same way.

Shakespeare invented over 3000 words, some of which we still use today. Ordinary words, like ‘bedroom’ and ‘uncomfortable’ are words whose creation is attributed to William Shakespeare himself.

pexels-photo-18953225 of Uranus’s 27 moons are named after some of Shakespeare’s characters:

Titania, Oberon, and Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ariel, Miranda, Caliban, Sycorax, Prospero, Setebos, Stephano, Trinculo, Francisco, and Ferdinand from The Tempest. Cordelia from King Lear and Ophelia from Hamlet. Bianca from The Taming of the Shrew, Cressida from Troilus and Cressida, and Desdemona from Othello. Juliet and Mab from Romeo and Juliet. Portia from The Merchant of Venice and Rosalind from As You Like It. Margaret from Much Ado About Nothing, Perdita from The Winter’s Tale, and Cupid from Timon of Athens.

The one thing I do have a problem with, though, are the characters. A lot of the females are weak and submissive and a lot of the males are power-hungry and controlling. These are not characters I want to be reading about, nor would I want my children to.

Regardless of my personal opinion of Shakespeare and his work, an undeniable fact is that he has had a major ongoing impact on today’s world. Maybe we can all learn something from him.