Relevance of Shakespeare Today

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The relevance of Shakespeare is, in my opinion, unquestionable, even in contemporary times. Not only is his contribution to the English language immense in its proportions, but also enduring. Even today, William Shakespeare is a household name the world over. He is quite literally, the figure-head of English literature, even to the average layman. Innumerable versions of his immortal works are seen again and again in our films, plays and even our writing. His simple yet deep concepts have stood the test of time and are still as insightful as they were in his day. Over the years, there have been several adaptations both on stage and in film of Shakespearean works. His plays have inspired successful Hollywood films such 10 Things I Hate About You, based on Taming of the Shrew. The Indian film industry too has drawn heavily on Shakespeare as seen in movies like Angoor, where the plot is drawn almost entirely from A Comedy of Errors and Omkara, an adaptation of Othello. One of his most well-known plays, Romeo and Juliet, has inspired scores of movies such as Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet, and the more recent Ishaqzaade. To add to this, there have been countless stage productions of his plays. His works continue to captivate audiences to this day. His most popular plays are still a source of ideas to filmmakers in need of a muse. Although it has been said that his plots were repetitive and they are viewed as clichéd and overdone from today’s standpoint, the fact remains that these very stories are what draw audiences time after time. A pioneer in his art, he flouted all theatrical conventions of his time and in doing so, altered the very structure of drama. Critics have noted his disregard for Aristotle’s rules regarding literary unities, but in the words of Pope, “To judge of Shakespeare by Aristotle's rules, is like trying a man by the laws of one country who acted under those of another”. Pope, in the Preface to his six-folio edition of the works of Shakespeare...
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