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Shakespeare lives

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Last year marked the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. His work has impressed artists from a diverse cultural spectrum. It has had an impact not only on the development of drama and literature, but also on our language, thoughts and ideas. Ask the first person you meet in the street "What comes into your mind when I say 'Shakespeare'?" and there's a good chance they will cite the famous line "To be or not to
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be - that is the question". Shakespeare's anniversary has led to fireworks of cultural events and artistic activity. (1) So what exactly are the reasons why Shakespeare is still relevant today?
There are numerous situations in shakespeare's plays which show different facets of the human character. (2) Shakespeare's characters fall in love and out of it, take a dislike to each other, betray and misunderstand each other, argue and fight each other, are angry, sad, happy, jealous, unfaithful, irresponsible, forgiving…
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(3) This is why people from all four corners of the Earth easily identify with the people in his plays. The social topics of Shakespeare's time which appear in the plays - like racism, sexuality, intolerance, the role of women, crime, death, disease - are still burning issues in today's global society.
What about Shakespeare himself? What about his personality? Was he similar to modern people? (4) He left his wife and family behind in Stratfort to have a career in London. In his thirties he may have gone through
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an identity crisis; he was a practical man of the theatre, knowing what and what not to do to attract a paying audience, and generating his own profitable 'market'. He socialised in the pub with his friends and colleagues. At the same time he was successful enough to gain the favour of the Queen. He certainly knew how to please audiences of all social classes. It's just that, while living life to the full, he also had the magical ability to pen the most amazing plays to entertain his contemporaries. Even today his plays are still
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entertaining people, whether in historical performances or modern interpretations on stage, or in film and TV adaptations throughout the world.
And what about all the fantasy stuff in Shakespeare? (5) We only have to look at today's TV schedules to grasp that the supernatural is still a very popular subject. There's a boom industry in ghost walks, books, and TV series giving you the shivers in the same way as the appearance of ghosts on stage at the Globe
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Theatre scared Shakespeare's first audiences. (6) In films Shakespeare's plays have been presented in a modern format, too. (7) Today, Shakespeare's ideas are reaching millions of people in the comfort of their own living-rooms.
Adapted from http://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/culture/literature-and-creative-writing/literature/shakespeare-our-contemporary
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