It has been a week since William Shakespeare’s 400-year anniversary. I remember hearing about him from my sister, from the age of three. I vividly remember a trip to London when I was four years old, where amidst many of its sights, we saw the Globe Theatre, and a small memorial to him in the Westminster Abbey.
The Globe Theatre seemed a strange place to me, especially for someone who had just started to learn how to read English and who thought that Shakespeare was an old English uncle who had become famous for something many years ago. However, now, as someone who tries to get better exposure to Shakespearean plays, I am able to easily understand why the Globe is so revered today.
Shakespeare is more than just a playwright. He knew how to breathe life into the plays he wrote, which is why every description of a character, scene or environment seems so vivid. The first Shakespearean piece I read was when I was eight years old, and it was an adaptation of Hamlet and Othello. Since then, I have always looked for an opportunity to read more of his plays.
The Bard’s plays might be difficult to understand, but as we get such books with the glossary right next to it, the effect that the written drama has, cannot be replaced by the influence of a prosaic adaptation of the same play.
Shakespeare’s plays have taught me many things. They have shown me how we can use our creativity to innovate and add new dimensions to a language to make our writing more attractive. They have shown me how to be more expressive. While some of his plays are about elaborate subjects, many are based on everyday emotions of love, kinship, trust, patriotism, jealousy, loyalty and more. His words and phrases express what emotions cannot.
Just as the aura of a person we meet can influence our attitude towards him or her, Shakespeare’s description of a character’s persona makes us either love or hate that character. That’s the magical power of language and it was exploited so well by Shakespeare.
Shakespeare is truly a gem of English literature, one that stands out, like a diamond among jewels.
— The reader is an Indian student based in Dubai