Shakespeare’s Influence on Modern Drama and Society

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Ever seen a movie or read a book about the star crossed lovers torn apart by their parent’s hatred of each other? What about the evil villain plotting to overthrow his king? I’m sure you have seen stories like this numerous times in numerous places but did you know the original idea was made 400 years ago by Shakespeare who to this very day still influences movies, play and books with his stories being the foundation in which thousands of stories have been based from. Shakespeare revolutionised what could be accomplished through characterization, plot and genre. For example he illustrated in Hamlet that if a main character changes than the plot also does, integrating characterization with the plot, also he combined tragedy and romance in Romeo & Juliet as prior to Romeo and Juliet romance was not considered a worthy topic for tragedy. Shakespeare has been credited for influencing well known novelists over the years such as William Faulkner, Charles Dickens and Herman Melville, examples of this influence include the large number of Shakespearean quotations throughout Dickens' writings and the fact that at least 25 of Dickens' titles are drawn from Shakespeare, while Melville frequently used Shakespearean devices, including formal stage directions and extended soliloquies, in Moby Dick. In fact, Shakespeare so influenced Melville that the novel's main character, Captain Ahab, is a classic Shakespearean tragic figure. Shakespeare’s writing was so influential to 1800s English poetry that critic George Steiner said that all poetic dramas of the time were “feeble variations of Shakespearean themes”. He is also credited to inventing over 1700 of our common words by changing nouns into verbs, changing verbs into adjectives, connecting words never before used together, adding prefixes and suffixes, and devising words wholly original.
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