How Shakespeare changed literature around the world
There’s no denying the influence that Shakespeare has had in the realm of English literature. Shakespeare’s influence has expanded from traditional literature and theatre to present-day movies, western philosophy and the English language.
He is known as one of the best English-language writers and has introduced innovative ideas to novels, plays, dramas and even changed how the world of poetry. This article will dive into the influence Shakespeare has had on literature across the world.
Shakespeare started his career as an actor in London. He also owned a company of actors named “King’s Men”. He began writing plays and poems during the 1590s. He emerged as one of the most prominent and influential writers in history. Before that, he was only known for his acting skills. His first poems, to be printed in 1593 and 1594, were Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. His poems gathered much admiration and revived the concept of English literature.
Role in the modern curriculum
His efforts got him a lot of appreciation, and he became famous as the most powerful and prestigious dramatist in the history of English literature. Almost all high schools and colleges today include Shakespeare’s writings in their curriculum. Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, The Tragedy of Othello, and Macbeth are taught in many educational facilities. Shakespeare is now a common name among most, if not all, English Literature students.
Influence on writing style
Shakespeare created the most inspired plays in western literature. He wrote different plays, including characters that had a touch of both humour and seriousness especially in The Tragedy of Othello. Shakespeare linked poetry, drama and verse with each other, which had never been done before. For the versification of the English language, he used his rhetoric with higher expression. Through poetry, he gave strength to the language, and by writing dramas, he gave clear ideas that rarely left room for vagueness. Stephen Marche, a Canadian novelist, said that Shakespeare only used the English language as a tool to leave an impression on the audience. He was the special effects master of language and a key contributor to the formation of the English language as we know it today.
Influence on English language and literature
One of Shakespeare’s most significant contributions is that he introduced a lot of new words to the English language. He invented 1700 commonly used words and many new phrases. For example, a widely used phrase “it’s Greek to me” was created by Shakespeare. It is used to refer to something that is difficult to understand. Also, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Shakespeare used the phrase “cold-blooded/hot-blooded” to equate blood temperature with emotional excitement – something now done very commonly.
These phrases were all invented by Shakespeare and are extensively used by modern writers in their works. For example, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, The Dogs of War by Robert Stone, Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury and A Dictionary of the English Language by Samuels Johnson all use words and phrases coined by Shakespeare. Johnson is the one author who quotes Shakespeare more than anyone else. Shakespeare’s original phrases are also still used in conversational language.
Shakespeare changed verbs into adverbs and adjectives. Connected words were not used together before him. He also added suffixes and prefixes to many words. The use of correct spellings became common during Shakespeare’s time. Before Shakespeare, grammar rules were not adequately defined, and there wasn’t any definite criterion for English grammar. To be precise, Shakespeare changed many aspects of the English language. His work gained importance in the 17th and 18th centuries, which helped the standardisation of the English language.
After Shakespeare, many other writers like Edmund Spenser, Sir Philip Sidney and Christopher Marlowe also adopted novel words and phrases to create new imaginative worlds and ideas. Shakespeare gave an utterly unique concept to romance. He presented it as an essential topic for tragedy. Shakespeare expanded the perspective of characterisation, plot language and genre in tragic plays. He used this idea to traverse the individual mind and created iconic duos like Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing.
Shakespeare has tirelessly served English literature throughout his life. His existing work consists of 154 sonnets, 39 plays, two narrative poems and a few other verses. Shakespeare’s writings have been translated into numerous languages across the world, and his plays are still performed in many theatres. Most people who read and understand Shakespeare and his writings become huge fans of his work. There’s no denying that he made the English language a beautiful forte for creative and literary minds. Shakespeare had a unique grasp of language and sincerely employed themes of romance and tragedy in his work.
Inspiration to others
Modern writers, novelists and dramatists are greatly influenced by Shakespeare’s plays and writings. Shakespeare has greatly influenced authors such as Herman Melville, Charles Dickens, Thomas Dickens and William Faulkner. Charles Dickens derived almost 25 titles from Shakespeare’s work. He used many quotations of Shakespeare in his work too. The character in the novel Moby Dick by Herman Melville was developed from the influence of Hamlet by Shakespeare. Many of Melville’s writings have titles derived from Shakespeare’s work as well.
Most modern-day movie makers derive ideas and plots from Shakespeare’s writings and reshape them into new scripts. Movies like She is The Star and West Side Story were based on Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet, respectively.
Shakespeare is and will always be accredited for creating new ideas, inventing, familiarising and repurposing the English language. His words, phrases and exceptional style of expression made him one of the best writers in the world. The stories, novels and plays that he wrote break barriers of time and culture and are equally relevant today.
Shakespeare is a name that is not just known to people who love literature. While Shakespeare is no longer among today’s playwrights, his writings and efforts to promote the English language will uphold his name for years to come. English literature might not see such an extraordinary author ever again.
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