There are plenty of old writers, poets, and playwrights whose works have stood the test of time—pieces that literary gurus still analyze and quote, and call “classics.” But few have remained so prominent that they have been a common household name for over 400 years.

William Shakespeare

This year is the 450th anniversary of his birth. 450 years! And still, to this day, who hasn’t heard of William Shakespeare? I bet you can name a least one or two of his plays off the top of your head right now. (I know I can… Or is that cheating?)

And I don’t know about you, but I think every high school English class had to read and/or perform at least one Shakespeare play—costumes and all. Divvying up the characters was an experience ranking somewhere between winning the lottery and getting picked for the reaping, depending on how much you liked performing in front of your classmates. (As long as Romeo and Juliet didn’t have to kiss!)

Romeo and Juliet play structure

It was a challenge to read through all the Early Modern English words written in iambic pentameter. Remember—wherefore means why and whence means where… and goodness only knows what this word means:

Love's Labour's Lost, longest word

To this day, performing these plays are still viewed as a rite of passage for many acclaimed actors. If you’re looking to cast your own production, a good start would be to pick a play that fits your manpower:

Othello, number of characters

While you’re planning how to rehearse scenes (or just curious to see if you can guess who’s going to die first), Wolfram|Alpha can show you a timeline of each character’s dialogue through a piece:

Hamlet characters

Although Wolfram|Alpha does not know any better than Hamlet when it comes to answering, “To be, or not to be….”

To be or not to be?

But don’t let it worry you! Instead, remember: All’s Well That Ends Well.

1 Comment

I am from Bangladesh and when I was in high school we studied “Romeo and Juliet” as our rapid reader. Also there was a Bengali poet who is well known as Micheal Modhushudan Datta first introduced Sonet in Bangla literature encouraged by Shakespeare. I guess if Shakespeare again born in 2014, he will soon become one of the most famous poets even in modern literature. We saw how J. K. Rowling shakes the rock. With The Tempest or similar types of master peaces William Shakespeare could easily get more popularity even in 2014.

Posted by Vitiligo Natural Treatment June 4, 2014 at 9:11 am Reply
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