Four hundred years of William Shakespeare

Four hundred years of William Shakespeare

2016 marks 400 years since William Shakespeare died and left the world with the legacy of his plays: the tragedies, the comedies and the histories. It has been 452 years since he was born. Living in the Elizabethan era, and for the last years of his life during the reign of King James the VI and I, and was born, and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Shakespeare is best known for his plays, and my first introduction to them was in year nine English with Much Ado About Nothing. From there, I studied Romeo and Juliet in year ten, Othello in year eleven and Antony and Cleopatra in year twelve. At that stage, it was my least favourite of all the ones I had studied, with my favourite at the time being the comedic Much Ado About Nothing.
From there, I studied Henry the Vi, parts one and two in university courses, as well as The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which became another favourite with it’s mythic and fairy tale elements within the story.
Perhaps what makes Shakespeare so interesting and timeless is the way his stories can echo issues of today, and the many retellings of his plays in various formats show how pervasive his work is, even if the audience does not realise at the time that they are watching an adaptation of a play.
Today, Statford-upon-Avon plays host to tourists looking to get a glimpse into how Shakespeare lived, through the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, running tours of the five Shakespeare houses: Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Mary Arden’s Farm, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Gardens, and Harvard House. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (http://www.shakespeare.org.uk/home.html) maintains these homes and conducts tours for visitors, where one can step back in time and experience the life that the Bard would have lived.
It is hard to imagine the world without the plays and sonnets of Shakespeare, without the words he created that we still use today. The reception his work has received has not ended and I wonder how future generations will view him.

Advertisements