Shakespeare Relevance

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The Relevance of Shakespeare

English literature icon William Shakespeare even after being deceased for over 400 years, still is relevant to our society and culture.

How does this icon of English literature continually remain a firm fascination in the minds of modern day society? Despite departing this earth nearly 400 years ago, William Shakespeare’s legacy of written works (including 37 plays!) ensure his relevance to society, past and present never wanes. The timelessness of Shakespeare's themes continue to keep his plays fresh. He dramatized basic issues: love, marriage, familial relationships, gender roles, race, age, class, humour, illness, deception, betrayal, evil, revenge, murder, and death. He created unforgettable characters, from lowly thieves to lofty kings, who have become archetypes of modern drama, but remain people we can relate to.

Othello is an example of
Othello is an ideal example of Shakespeare's classic tales that students can still relate to. Othello, Desdemona, and Iago play out a drama of race, love, passion, deception, and betrayal as relevant today as in the 17th century. Othello's ill treatment by a racist society and his internalized self-doubt continue to resonate in today's turbulent culture, both in fiction and life (as is evident in Masterpiece Theatre's modern adaptation). Othello's story transcends the colour of his skin: it's the concept of the other that Shakespeare writes about, the mistrust of differences that is present in all societies. Desdemona's wifely loyalty, and the physical abuse she withstands at the hand of her jealous husband, are issues that make up today's news. And Iago's envy and treachery still echo in competitive scenarios, from high school elections to government coups.

Othello, a Moorish general, in the service of Venice, appoints Cassio as his chief lieutenant, unwittingly arousing the enmity of Iago, his ensign, who thinks that he has a better claim to the post. Partly to avenge himself...
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