Shakespeare is dead, and has been for nearly 400 years now, but still somehow seems to pop up every so often in our lives. The question many have asked still stands, is Shakespeare still relevant today? Shakespeare is known basically all around the world and in his lifespan of 52 years he wrote 37 plays, 154 sonnets, invented over 1700 words and coined many of the phrases we still use today. Judging by this I think that Shakespeare is still, very, relevant.
Plays | themes
With Shakespeare having created more than 37 plays there are bound to be some of which that have valuable teachings and themes that are still relevant to todays society. For Example:
Romeo and Juliet
Who doesn’t looovve love right? And in Romeo and Juliet its all about forbidden love (the most dramatic kind) and cruel twists of fate. Fate is not something we can control, although our choices may affect it, stuff like culture, religion and the family your born into is something we cannot. Poor Romeo and Juliet just so happen to be born on different ends of the battle field, but when they mistakenly fall in love, they get married in a secret ceremony and thennn… Romeo gets banished. Here’s where the cruel twist of fate comes in 😓😣 Juliet takes a potion that puts her in a deep sleep and when Romeo finds her, thinks she is dead and kills himself. When Juliet wakes up and finds Romeo dead she stabs herself out of love for him and that how this romantic tragedy ends. The theme of love in this play is definitely one that has lived on through the centuries and this story line is still being used e.g. in the 2013 film ‘Warm Bodies’ where Zombie R (Romeo) and Julie (Juliet) are not allowed to love each other due to their very different existence which is also exploring the theme of forbidden love. The theme of forbidden love is also especially relevant in intercultural romance, which can be between two duelling ethics who tend to be forever enemies or as simple as two kids who cannot tell their parents or siblings about their kindling love. This leads to broken hearts, eloping or another common theme in Shakespeare’s plays, death, as it did in Romeo and Juliet.
There are also many film adaptations that have the same themes and plot as Shakespeare’s original plays such as:
She’s the Man, an adaption of Twelfth Night
This Movie is about is a love triangle as well as ambition and it shows how you can over come sexist limitations if you put your mind to it. Although we claim to have equal rights for men and women these days, it’s not entirely true and this adaptation of Shakespeare’s play goes to show girls can kick ass as much as boys can, more even!
10 Things I Hate About You, an adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew
This film explores the ideas of dating, individualism and trust. Dating is an unavoidable element of teenage life, often something teens feel pressured into doing. In The Taming of the Shrew, marriage is something everyone is obsessing over. In the film this has been altered and now dating is the best thing for you to preoccupy your time with, because if you don’t, you allude to ‘fit in’ to teenage culture. This theme is mainly explored through the younger sister Bianca, who is not allowed to date until older sister Kat does. Kat is a very strong, independent and externally confident young woman. Very much a feminist, She doesn’t fit in and doesn’t care, which is something we could all learn to do, especially in a world where social roles have an effect on an individual’s happiness.
The Lion King, an adaptation of Hamlet
The Lion King is about a greedy uncle who kills the king and takes the throne for himself, following a subject of betrayal which is something that can happen in any circumstance e.g. When you cheat on your husband or wife. If you put someone in a position where betrayal is an option you will soon find out who the people you can really trust are.
Words | Phrases
Not only did Shakespeare contribute all his fabulous plays to our history but he also added a great deal of words (approximately 1700) and phrases (approximately 135) to the english dictionary. These are some of the most common phrases still used today:
Oh my goodness you’re a ‘Piece of work’.
You just need to ‘Break the ice’.
No, I ‘Refuse to budge an inch’ on the matter
This is ‘A dish fit for the Gods’.
This topic is not for the ‘Faint hearted’
‘Jealousy is the green-eyed monster’
That boy has a ‘Heart of Gold’
Ahahah, omg, he made himself a ‘Laughing stock’
That girl really ‘Sets my teeth on edge’
‘Knock knock! Who’s there?’ Interrupting cow, interrupting cow wh— moo!!
‘Love is blind’
I ‘Wear my heart upon my sleeve’
He basically sent us on a ‘Wild-goose chase’
So as you see we owe a lot to the still famous, but dead poet William Shakespeare, and you better believe it. He and his work are definitely still relevant to society today and whether you use one of his phrases or words, watch one of the many movies based on his plays, or you experience a situation of which he once wrote about way back in the 15 – 16 hundreds, he’s always there.