The name “William Shakespeare” inspires many different emotions in people. In some, it inspires fear – fear of language, fear of not being able to understand. In others it inspires complete obssessive adoration. In others it inspires a distant and cold respect of his craftsmanship.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding Shakespeare’s writings, whether they were even his, whether Shakespeare even existed, or if he was actually Christopher Marlowe in disguise. (Yes, this is a real theory!)
Whatever the case, the poet and playwright known as William Shakespeare is a literary genius. He's the Albert Einstein of English literature and poetry! He popularized over 1700 words that we use in our everyday speech, and is credited with coining phrases like “in a pickle” and “fight fire with fire”. Do you love “knock, knock” jokes? Well, Shakespeare coined the phrase “knock, knock, who’s there” too!
He had an uncanny way of getting into people’s minds and predicting their motives and actions. He could take on the roles of prince, pauper, and priest and do it all with excellence.
He invented the usage of the prefix “un-” to be used in front of adjectives. Now we can say things like undignified, uncomfortable, unfeeling, ungrateful, undone, unraveled, unkempt, unintentional, unafraid, uninteresting…the list goes on and on and on.
His writings relate so well to humanity! The emotion and understanding that he weaves effortlessly into his plays and sonnets is relevant to all ages and all times.
His ability to weave classical, biblical, and modern (to his time) themes, references and settings together seamlessly in ways that create a whole new world make his works accessible to all even today.
And last but not least, his works are still taught canonically even over 400 years after he penned them, and he is probably the most famous playwright to ever set pen to paper.
So, as Shakespeare ostensibly said, "Love me or hate me, both are in my favor. If you love me, I'll always be in your heart...If you hate me, I'll always be in your mind."