Shakespeare, a famous name known pretty much around the whole world, but why? For a name so widely known, he must have made a large impact on his society, and ours, or else why would he be so important. First, just a little background on Sir William Shakespeare, he was a famous playwright from the 1500’s. A lot of his plays are actually still around today and have been adapted into famous movies. You must be thinking the same thing as many other people, “Why would Shakespeare still be relevant today?”. Considering he died over 400 years ago, he is absolutely still relevant to society today for many reasons
Love is a very common theme that William used quite often in his plays. Like most of us, he understood that ‘true love never does run smoothly’ and based most of his plays on exploring what makes love work and what destroys it. An extremely famous movie and play by William Shakespeare that shows this and is known by basically everyone, is the classic Romeo and Juliet. This play was a tragic love story about two teen forbidden lovers that ultimately died for each other. Their families have been enemies for as long as they can remember, and cannot meet without fighting. In an attempt to get over his former lover, Romeo visits his enemies party in disguise, and instantaneously falls in love with Juliet. Knowing their families would never allow their love, they marry in secret. After many deaths and madness, Juliet takes a potion to make her appear dead, and would wait for Romeo to come get her. Instead, he believes she is truly dead and takes poison, killing himself. When Juliet awakes, she discovers that her husband is dead, and stabs herself in the chest for love of him. Pretty devastating, huh? The story of Romeo and Juliet presents love as an extremely powerful force, and that it is worth dying for. This play was one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays and the characters, Romeo and Juliet, are now thought of as the ‘typical teen lovers’ of todays society. This theme of love shown in Romeo and Juliet is still found today, as there are more and more couples everyday devoting themselves to each other through marriage.
If you read one of William’s playwright’s, odds are that you wouldn’t understand most of what is being said. He did use a pretty odd language compared to us ‘LOL’ users and ‘YOLO’ers, but we actually owe some of the words we use today to him. Shakespeare invented many words, from hobnob to swagger, yes that’s right, a 451 year old man created the word swagger, that’s pretty funny. He also invented the words ‘eyeball’ and ‘gossip’. Imagine getting something in your eye and saying “Oh no! I got something in my eye sphere!” It doesn’t really fit right? So thank goodness that Shakespeare invented these words, or our speech would be pretty weird as well.
You may not know it but many of Shakespeare’s plays were actually modified into famous movies! 10 Things I Hate About You is a 1990’s American teen movie based on the romantic comedy play The Taming of the Shrew. Although people think “There is no way they can be the same, since, like, The Taming of the Shrew is so old and 10 Things I Hate About You is so.. not”, well, they actually have many similarities. For starters, the plot. The Taming of the Shrew is a bout a father who wants to find husbands for his two daughters, Katherine and Bianca, and all of the men want to marry the youngest sister, Bianca. However, the father wants his oldest daughter, Katherine, to marry first. Sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it? In the film 10 Things I Hate About You, Walter (the father) wants the best for his daughters as most do, and the youngest daughter, Bianca (Same name, obviously) really wants to date a boy she likes but unfortunately her father will not let her date until her older sister, Kat (Short for Katherine, also the same name), dates someone first. Not only is it bad that Bianca can’t date until her older sister does, but her sister happens to be very mean and unlikable, making it hard for any guy to want to go out with her. So already, the plots are pretty much the same except marriage has been swapped for dating, because they’re clearly only teens! This is not the only similarity, in the play, a man named Petruccio is paid to marry Katherine so Bianca would finally be able to marry. This also happens in the film, as Patrick is paid to take Kat to the school dance so Bianca can go with her almost-boyfriend. In the end, Patrick and Petruccio have “tamed” the unfriendly and unsociable Katherine/Kat because she is now willing to be with a man. Even though the plot and character names are pretty much the same or similar, there a subtle differences, but this is only done so that the movie is more acceptable in today’s society.
10 Things I Hate About You is not the only movie that was modernly adapted from a Shakespearean play. The Lion King was another adapted movie and was derived from another famous play called Hamlet. This adaption is slightly different to 10 Things I Hate About You though because The Lion King has been aimed at children and made into a cartoon. In Hamlet, Hamlets father, The King, is murdered by his uncle named Claudius. This happens in The Lion King, as Simba’s father, Mufasa, is killed by his uncle, Scar. These were both tragic deaths, especially for the young children watch the movie. In Hamlet, after much murdering, returns to his kingdom which was being ruled by his uncle to take the throne which rightfully belongs to him, just like Simba does, just without all the murder. Although the story line is pretty much the same, The Lion King was made more kid friendly so only 2 main characters die and Simba wasn’t as brutal as Hamlet, where as in the play, Hamlet is killing people left right and center, which would probably scare children to death seeing a cute little cub going on a killing spree. This adaption only adds to my point that Shakespeare IS relevant to today’s society, as it was made into a movie that kids can also enjoy.
So yeah, Shakespeare is pretty relevant to our society, despite his odd language and old age. But we do owe a lot to this guy, such as words that are a part of all of our vocabulary, and without his some of his plays we wouldn’t have movies that were a part of most of our childhood’s. Not only would we miss out on a couple good movies, but we wouldn’t have the understanding of love that we have now, considering the impact he made on us with the tragic yet classic story of Romeo and Juliet. So what he died almost 500 years ago and so what he used strange words that we don’t all understand in his plays, but like it or not he impacted on our lives, making him still relevant to todays society.