You’ve probably heard of William Shakespeare. Born in Tudor England, Shakespeare was a famous playwright and poet. Arguably he
was one of the greatest writers ever – the word ‘wordsmith’ might have been invented for him.
His plays took people away from the everyday horrors of his era including the plague and the attack of the Spanish Armada, witchcraft and civil war.
Shakespeare’s plays can be divided into three main categories; tragedies, histories, and comedies.
Warning to readers! Shakespeare’s comedies aren’t laugh out loud funny. So don’t expect a gag-fest like The Simpsons. But they feature events that still raise a smile: misguided love, misinterpretations and madness. Despite the low gag count, they are stuffed with more beautiful imagery than you can shake a stick at. You’ve got to see them performed in order to feel the full power of the language.
One more little-known fact about Shakespeare would be that he actually turned to writing sonnets as a result of the Puritans in 1642 as it was thought wrong to indulge in entertainment in such troubled times, they then later even went as far to class all theatre goers as vagabonds and rogues.
Still, it’s a good thing Shakespeare had started writing his plays earlier as we owe around 1700 words in the English language to him! He invented words such as ‘courtship’, ‘green-eyed monster’, ‘blushing’, ‘assassinate’ etc. He also coined many phrases that we still use today…like ‘dead as a doornail’ and ‘in one fell swoop’.
And that’s just the beginning! Shakespeare was writing in a world where nobody had access to visual media (TV, video and film)> But his words sprang to life as the images streamed out from his pen like water from a fountain. Even if you can’t get past the old fashioned language, you’ll can still take a lot from the characters he created: the lonely daughter (Miranda), the unwilling servant (Caliban) the Ruler (Prospero). Characters like this are so universal that they could be seamlessly transplanted into the latest drama like X-Men or Game of Thrones. It’s no surprise that they have been used as inspiration for a lot of movies: The Lion King is loosely based on Hamlet. The Taming of the Shrew is the primary base for the teen movie Ten Things I Hate About You and Return to the Forbidden Planet is based on The Tempest.
You can check out the Shakespeare themes on the Creative Writing site and you may even see your story put into the Hall Of Fame! You can even try out Hamlet with vampires.