I made a joke the other day about trying to teach robots Hamlet after the singularity happens. Long story short, the wonder of Shakespeare’s words didn’t translate into binary.
While it was all in jest, the question of Shakespeare’s relevance stayed on my mind.
I’m a firm believer that Shakespeare is timeless. The brilliance of his language clearly expresses the themes of jealous, love, rage, greed, and so many more feelings that we, as humans, still experience today. People with sibling rivalry can relate to King Lear, people with jealous issues can relate to Othello, people with daddy issues have so many plays they can relate to.
(The humorous Flavorwire article What Your Favorite Shakespeare Play Says About You takes a tongue in cheek look at the meaning behind some of Shakespeare’s plays.)
Also, If you ever used any of the following phrases:
Dead as a doornail (Henry VI, Part 2)
All’s Well that Ends Well
Break the ice (The Taming of the Shrew)
Brevity is the soul of wit (Hamlet)
Jealousy is the green-eyed monster (Othello)
It was Greek to me (Julius Caesar)
Naked truth (Love’s Labour’s Lost)
Faint-hearted (Henry VI, Part 1)
Swagger (Henry V)
There’s method in my madness (Hamlet)
Or seen any of these movies:
West Side Story (Romeo and Juliet)
Throne of Blood (Macbeth)
10 Things I Hate About You (Taming of the Shrew)
Lion King (Hamlet)
Warm Bodies (Romeo and Juliet)
You’re witnessing the inspiration of Shakespeare.
But still, things can be Shakespearian without being Shakespeare. It’s easy to worry that as language and society continues to change, reading Shakespeare’s plays will fall out of fashion, despite his lasting influence in society. For now high school and college students have had to read at least one of Shakespeare’s works at some point during their schooling, but that can change quickly.
Now “the wheel has come full circle” and my original point is coming back to haunt me. Do you think Shakespeare will continue to be relevant through the ages? Or do you think his influence will wane over time?