Ranging from preexisting negative attitudes to not having a clear understanding of Early Modern English, Shakespeare as a widely renowned poet and playwright is a historical figure that we have not given much credit to over the years. Shakespeare universally transformed our history of language, and even though his unique works contributed to the height of his fame and achievements, he is still an individual from our past that we have slightly forgotten to appreciate inside and outside of education. As an English major currently studying a course on just Shakespearean plays, I can now honestly say that I enjoy his work much more than I ever did in high school. My early opinions on his style of work have significantly improved and because of my newfound admiration, I want to reflect and remind others of all that we can appreciate about Shakespeare that is often overlooked.
William Shakespeare’s writing made a significant impact on the development of our language. Translate Media summarizes how Early Modern English was Shakespeare’s style of writing in the Middle Ages and lasted between 1500 to 1750 (2013). According to No Sweat Shakespeare, “One of the ways grammar was changing was that inflectional endings had largely disappeared…without even realizing it, our everyday speech is full of words and phrases invented by Shakespeare” (2007). Language is always constantly evolving, and it is intriguing tracking English roots through writing and speech in diverse eras.
Celebration of Work
Some of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets have gained more popularity than others, however, most of his works are still performed today on many stages even though he lived around 400 years ago. Through contemporary culture, characters and plots within his work are very much still alive. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre has been reconstructed, but still rests in London as a venue for performing arts. Individuals have also come to appreciate Shakespeare’s work by attending famous festivals, such as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Shakespeare to Screen
We can thank Shakespeare’s work for some memorable modern adaptations produced into film! West Side Story, 10 Things I Hate About You, and She’s the Man have all been popular favorites to watch today and attempt to follow a similar plot of the original play they correspond to. I think many of us on some level can relate to having a crush on Heath Ledger after his performance in 10 Things I Hate About You.
It is evident in many aspects that individuals still appreciate and celebrate Shakespeare’s work today by live performance, literature, and film, however, our generation is still at a place where some also dread Shakespeare because of being forced in school to read his material. Regardless of whether you find enjoyment in Shakespeare, it is essential to remember how the historical and cultural significance of his work helped shape our society.