Shakespeare is undoubtedly the world’s most influential poet and dramatist, leading Ben Jonson to note that, "He was not of an age, but for all time!" Four centuries later, Jonson’s words still ring true.
Students and people new to Shakespeare often ask “why has Shakespeare stood the test of time?” – In an attempt to answer this question, I’ve listed the top five reasons for Shakespeare’s success.
Why is Shakespeare so Popular?
Without doubt, Hamlet is one of the greatest dramatic characters ever created and is possibly the crowning achievement of Shakespeare’s career. Shakespeare’s skilful and psychologically-astute characterization is utterly remarkable because it was written hundreds of years before the concept of psychology was invented.
Modern English has been heavily influenced by Shakespeare’s writing, highlighting his continued cultural impact four centuries after his death. Today, we still use hundreds of words and phrases coined by him in our everyday conversation.
Shakespeare’s collection of 154 love sonnets is possibly the most beautiful written in the English language. Although not necessarily Shakespeare’s best sonnet, Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?
is certainly his most famous. The sonnet’s endurance comes from Shakespeare’s ability to capture the essence of love so cleanly and succinctly.
Every moment of Shakespeare’s play drip in poetry. Evidently he understood the power of language – its ability to paint landscapes, create atmospheres and create compelling characters. Shakespeare wrote for his fellow actors and his dialogue therefore translates into performance with ease. Forget criticism and textual analysis because everything an actor needs to understand and perform Shakespeare is right there in the dialogue.
Shakespeare is best known for writing the greatest love story of all time: Romeo and Juliet
. Thanks to Shakespeare, the name Romeo will forever be associated with young lovers and the play has become an enduring symbol of romanticism in popular culture. This tragedy has entertained across the generations, spawned endless stage versions and film adaptations including Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film classic.