William Shakespeare

Topics: William Shakespeare, Othello, Shakespearean tragedy Pages: 5 (1831 words) Published: August 26, 2013
William Shakespeare is an unforgettable literary figure and it is not exaggeration if we say that literature is nothing without him. All the writing of Shakespeare deal with love, life and death and these universal themes get beautiful touch by him. His tragedies reflect that he had extraordinary knowledge of human psychology. Therefore, his characters have become memorable in the field of literature. Shakespeare has explored poetry and tragedy but it is tragedy that brought fame for him. Even his tragedies are poetically crafted. Poetry is inseparable from his writing. He has given immortal lines. “To be or not to be” is oft quoted line from Hamlet that is reflected in a modern man who is caught in the same idea of perplexity. Shakespeare has been influenced by the Roman tragic dramatist Seneca and by the medieval ‘mystery’ tragedies. Shakespeare holds the foremost position in the world’s literature. His works and genius includes all the world of men and nature. The study of human nature in his work is nothing but exploring a new country and the study of man in his works is just like visiting a great city. His works shows that good always overcomes evil in the long term. Shakespeare’s tragedies are “universal" that is why his popularity still remains same as his time. He appeals to emotions and thoughts that are part of eternal human nature. Some of his popular and famous tragedies are – Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra etc. Shakespeare’s tragic tragedy Hamlet is an excellent example, perhaps the best in English literature, of a work that has universal appeal. The tragedy and situation in the tragedy Hamlet has been commented on as ‘universal.’ Audiences of many different cultures can enjoy Hamlet even though it is set in an alien culture to them. The reasons for this are that many people can relate to the tragedy, they feel that they are living though a profound experience, even if nothing in the plot of Hamlet has ever happened to them. The experience of Hamlet is not restricted to the plot and its characters. A large factor in this universal acceptance is that the main character, Hamlet, around whom the entire tragedy revolves, is realist and ‘universal’ himself. In this Hamlet is merely a reflection of aspects found in all men, he is a symbol for how any man would act given the situation. If he reacts the way you would react, that makes him a very easy to relate to and sympathetic character. This does not mean that Hamlet reflects the common man and his action, or Rosencrantz and Guildenstern would be more probable ‘universal men.’ Hamlet reflects what the common man wishes and feels he could do if he were given the chance. Hamlet is 'superhuman' in this sense. He is able to find the strength to act though his tragic situation without giving in to easier ways and temptations along the way. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are more common man than universal, for though they have loyalty to Hamlet as they have been his friends for many years. Hamlet is therefore a symbol of the ‘universal man.’ He does not reflect the common man’s actions and deeds, but what the common man could possible do if given the chance. He represents the inner strengths of humanity, the virtues that they are capable of achieving. Yet he still remains truly human, making mistakes and being unable to escape the greater cycles and powers that exist. Hamlet may not reflect every man that exists; he reflects a part within them that exists. Hamlet is not the common man, but this is not due to his sovereignty, education, manners or upbringing. It is due to his ability to access his inner strength and do the right thing, even when the odds are against him. Hamlet’s popularity lies in its universal appeal. It puts before us the most important human problem: thought vs. action.

Shakespeare's tragedies deal with aspects of the human condition this is what makes his tragedies have Universal appeal. The...
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