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Why is Shakespeare important?

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8 Answers

Shakespeare is important because he has made a significant contribution to the English literature through his work on Drama or Plays. Reading and analyzing his work also provide insight into the culture and society around those times.

Hope this answers your question.

These are wonderful answers.

I would add that he's important because he wrote for regular people. His language may be different from ours but anyone can relate to the themes in his plays: love, jealousy, uncertainty, the lust for power. They were designed and presented to appeal to people with little money, long workdays and no security. 

This is a very good question.  Many people have written dramas and plays, and many of them are quite good. So why is Shakespeare so admired, so studied, so loved, so insisted upon?

The short answer is that he was so very, very good at doing what he did, and he did so much of it so well that it really is quite unbelievable.  His work is so good that many people do not believe that he and he alone wrote all the plays that are attributed to him, but the fact is that he almost certainly did do so, as hard as it can be to believe when you study Shakespeare.  

Some creative people have been so far beyond their own time that they haven't always been completely understood during the years that they lived.  Mozart, for instance, was a person like this.  His work just sounds finished in a way that other works are not--it's difficult to describe, but even people who don't know much about music recognize that there is something special about what Mozart did.  You can feel it.

Shakespeare is the same way.  The fact that the language has changed a good deal since Shakespeare's time makes it more difficult for us to see that at first, but with a little help, you can clear away the confusion caused by that to recognize that his work is finished and special in that same way.

For instance, when I teach Macbeth, I spend a lot of time on the beginning of Act 1 Scene 3, when the three Weird Sisters meet in the forest as they had promised to do previously.  There's something very special about that little conversation that they have that--if you know what to look for!--you can enjoy it in a way not immediately obvious.  

That's what special about Shakespeare.  His works are just brimming with fantastic little things here and there to enjoy, but it does require that you know what it is that you're looking at, and for that, you need the guidance of someone who already knows how to do it.

For those of us who like to write--like me--Shakespeare shows what genius can do with words and characters and situations.  

Shakespeare wrote about the human condition - he pushed boundaries by writing plays that appealed to everyone, not just the rich. And he even abandoned traditional verse structure at times. When there weren't the words to say what he wished, he created new ones. When he felt a story needed telling, he told it. He unabashedly shared his soul with his audiences and readers - the mark of not only a writer, but an artist.

Shakespeare is important for the following reasons: (Not in order of importance.)

He wrote beautifully. Some painters have a talent for using colors uniquely, and create beautiful paintings. Shakespeare created beautiful works of art with his unique use of the English language.

His poems had an important impact on the poets who followed him, and his plays had an impact on the playwrights who followed him. One easy way to asses any writers or painters importance is to look at the influence they had on other artists. The greater the impact the more important the artist. After Picasso, painting was never the same.

Shakespeare had a profound understanding of us human beings: How and what we think, what we feel, how and why we act. His work may be written in a difficult language to understand, but hundreds of years later, Romeo and Juliet's love isn't. 

There are countless more!

Matthew

 

 

 Shakespeare is important because of his knowledge of human nature which basically remains the same throughout time.

His works, especially the plays, show the striking similarities between humans regardless of the time or period highlighted.

One has only to look at some of the main characters in his plays to see the worse (Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Iago) and the best (Banquo, King Duncan, or Cordelia,King Lear's youngest daughter) in human nature.

The plays reveal all aspects of our characters and natures,and as a result, they will remain timeless reminders of the heights to which we humans can aspire,and the depths to which we can descend when we are overly ambitious.

Barbara J H.

River Forest, Illinois

Shakespeare holds up a literary mirror to the face of humanity and has forced us all to stare into its reality.  We may frown, we may laugh, we may cry, we may emphathize, we may be confused, we may question, but most certainly Shakespeare causes us to make decisions about WHO we are and WHERE we are in the world.  It only takes one look into the mirror before we realize we must continue to stare, briefly glance or quickly walk away.

Nirupama is right! Also, Shakespeare is the quintessential word smith. He (literally) invented over 2,00 words in the English language, many of which are still used today (eyeball, dawn, barefaced, etc). 

Comments

Thank you Aileen for your nice comment. 

Thank you both for expanding the answers to emphasize the importance of Shakespearean work.

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