Shakespeare's Greatness

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William Shakespeare is synonymous with greatness for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was his ability to take ordinary situations and make them intensely comical and/or interesting, and to do so in a way that relied almost completely on well-arranged dialogue to do so. But he wasn't just a gifted comedian.  He also was able to very deftly take on serious subjects, especially power and intrigue, which, at the time, would have been fantastically interesting to the average British reader or audience. Also, Shakespeare was incredibly prolific, turning out play after play over the course of his career, leaving us with a rich and varied body of work to appreciate. The reasons for Shakespeare's excellence are many and various - and very fascinating. For a start, for such an accomplished writer, he had a surprisingly un-aristocratic background. He was the son of a glove manufacturer - just a tradesman. he was, however, lucky enough to be sent a little grammar school. His writings show great awareness of the classics and traditional stories - yet he did not go to university, but worked in his dad's business. Amazing then, that by 1592 he was already known in London as both an actor and playwright. His greatness perhaps came out of an ability to learn quickly and to adapt that knowledge to what he knew audiences wanted - for example he took many of his early plays from England's history. There are numerous points one could raise in detailing Shakespeare's greatness as a playwright.  I'll make a few points.  He added words to the lexicon of the English language like no one else has ever done.  Words like amazement, bedroom, bump, critic, exposure, lonely, pious, and useless were probably all first written down by Shakespeare.  Not to mention phrases that have become so common they're now cliches:  "Too much of a good thing," and "Come full circle," come to mind. He is a product of his time, as all writers are, but he transcended what any of his contemporaries...
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