for it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace and the conditions for sustainable development must be built. ~UNESCO

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Bard of Avon

Shakespeare. W (source: Google image search)
It may be an absurd idea for some to highlight on this topic as Shakespearean drama is no longer studied in Bhutan. This does not mean that we should forget the great dramatist. Personally, I feel that our students are less fortunate as they do not have the privilege to study Shakespearean drama. I think we have lost a gem too soon. Never the less, I have decided to throw some light on this great dramatist.
William Shakespeare born in 1564 was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's most eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His surviving works consist of 38 plays 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright are.
Shakespeare was born and raised in Stafford-upon-Avon in the United Kingdom. At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of the playing company the Lord Chamberlain's Men. He appears to have retired to Stafford around 1613, where he died three years later. Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. Next he wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest examples in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies and collaborated with other playwrights. Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime.
Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the nineteenth century. His plays remain highly popular today and are consistently performed and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world.
Shakespeare's work has made a lasting impression on later theatre and literature. In particular, he expanded the dramatic potential of characterization, plot, language, and genre. Until Romeo and Juliet, for example, romance had not been viewed as a worthy topic for tragedy. Soliloquies had been used mainly to convey information about characters or events; but Shakespeare used them to explore characters' minds. His work heavily influenced later poetry. The Romantic poets attempted to revive Shakespearean verse drama, though with little success.
Shakespeare influenced novelists such as Thomas Hardy, William Faulkner, and Charles Dickens. Dickens often quoted Shakespeare, drawing 25 of his titles from Shakespeare's works. The American novelist Herman Melville's soliloquies owe much to Shakespeare; his Captain Ahab in Moby Dick is a classic tragic hero, inspired by King Lear. Scholars have identified 20,000 pieces of music linked to Shakespeare's works. These include two operas by Giuseppe Verdi, Othello and Falstaff, whose critical standing compares with that of the source plays. Shakespeare has also inspired many painters, including the Romantics.
In Shakespeare's day, English grammar and spelling were less standardised than they are now, and his use of language helped shape modern English. Samuel Johnson quoted him more often than any other author in his A Dictionary of the English Language, the first serious work of its type. Expressions such as "with bated breath" (Merchant of Venice) and "a foregone conclusion" (Othello) have found their way into everyday English speech.
Overall, Shakespeare contributed more than 5000 words to the English language and his works are all above mere admiration. He is a figure that cannot be denied while we talk about English language.
  I am forced to conclude here, as it will take ages to highlight all the greatness of this great dramatist. Ben Jonson on Shakespeare: He was not of an age, but for all times.
  I urge all to read Shakespearean literature and feel the thirst quenched.

Some ideas were borrowed from


  1. thank reminded me my old days..and some funny moments from it...i heard his story when i was in fourth class....and studied dramas in middle school and high school...

  2. thanks for the comment. But I am not happy that Shakespeare is out