Today marks the four hundredth anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. It is staggering to believe that now, four centuries later, the bard’s works remain not only as relevant as ever, but as popular as ever. Which other playwright in all of history could claim such a feat? Shakespeare’s influence is still felt even now in modern English. Phrases like “to be or not to be” are recognisable instantly, and Shakespeare’s works are still taught in schools across Britain (and beyond).
While little may be known about the man himself, it’s remarkable that his works have survived for four centuries, and may now be even more popular than ever. They hold a special place in the hearts of many: intelligent, tragic, comic, Shakespeare’s play are all of these and so much more. By comparison, what contemporary works could stand tall alongside them? What modern artiste – in any medium – is likely to last as long in hearts and minds and history? Who else can influence a language and culture to such a degree?
Not only do Shakespeare’s works still remain as current as ever today, but his work has influenced countless others – novelists, artists, dance troupes, and so much more. I cannot think of a single person who has had such an impact on the creative landscape ever.
Whatever your creative endeavour, let William Shakespeare’s acheivements stand as an example – a lofty goal to which we can all aspire. And remember: all the world’s a stage.