Shakespeare in 2416
Why has Shakespeare remained relevant over the past 400 years?
And is his popularity dwindling?
Will Cambridge University Press be acknowledging the 800th anniversary of his death as we have
Some scholars feel that Shakespeare will become less and less important as the years go on, simply because his words become harder and harder to understand for modern audiences.
However, consider the following:
- It is estimated that, at any given minute, Shakespeare’s works are being performed somewhere in the world.
- His works have been translated into nearly ever language on Earth (including Klingon, the language of Star Trek, and American Sign Language)
- William Shakespeare is the most frequently quoted writer in the English language, outside of the Bible.
- We still use phrases coined by Shakespearae on a daily basis (among them: “a laughing stock”, “a sorry sight”, “as dead as a doornail”, “eaten out of house and home”, “fair play”, “wear my heart upon my sleeve”)
Shakespeare’s 55th sonnet is hopeful that his words will live on forever, while acknowledging that nothing endures but change.
Not marble nor the gilded monuments
Of princes shall outlive this pow’rful rhyme,
But you shall shine more bright in these conténts
Than unswept stone, besmeared with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword, nor war’s quick fire, shall burn
The living record of your memory.
‘Gainst death and all oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.
Michelle Dockery, star of Downton Abbey as well as a one-time Lady Percy in Hamlet says of Shakespeare, “Shakespeare and his work will always be relevant. He wrote those pieces hundreds of years ago and we haven’t really changed as humans, have we? We have to deal with love, honour and adultery now – people were the same then, too – that’s what’s so wonderful and powerful.”
“Shakespeare and his work will always be relevant. He wrote those pieces hundreds of years ago and we haven’t really changed as humans, have we? We have to deal with love, honour and adultery now – people were the same then, too – that’s what’s so wonderful and powerful.”