Archive | May, 2012

A place for Shakespeare

20 May

I’ve always been wondering how it’s possible that even now, after 400 years, Shakespeare’s works are still so widely read and loved by so many people. I guess I finally found the answer. It took me quite a long time to understand why people like Shakespeare, even why I like him. Last month I went to Gdansk to see “Hamlet”. I was on the verge of crying when I was whispering the soliloquy and looking at the wonderful actor on the stage. And I realised what it is that I love about Shakespeare – the real emotions, just being human.

I’d never really understood why the Bard’s works could appeal to me, when in some cases I couldn’t even understand what he was writing about. So it did take me some time to become familiar with his language. When that happened, and I could fully understand his plays, I often found myself crying reading “Hamlet”, or shivering with fear reading “Macbeth”, or laughing out loud reading “A Midsummer’s Night Dream”. That’s just amazing how one person was able to capture so many sides of human nature. The stories written by Shakespeare depict human features, desires; all of these are set in the heart of a story of an individual. But each of Shakespearean characters can be a symbol of something, they may represent the desire of power, jealousy, or love – all the ‘human things’. I guess it doesn’t matter what’s ‘around’ the subject; Shakespeare has touched upon universal themes, the ones that will always be somewhere there. Even though the stories from the Bard may seem out-of-date (it’s hard for us to imagine such a love as that of Romeo and Juliet, or members of a royal family killing each other) and the times have undoubtedly changed, the root of the story is unchangeable. So we can take the story and use it in every way we want, experiment with it, change the setting, and something’s still there.

I think Shakespeare’s plays have their own hearts. I really enjoy watching the modernised adaptations of the Bard’s plays, especially the ones that are set in the modern world but the text remains unchanged. I like the contrast that’s so stark at first. It’s really great to see an old beautiful story happening in the contemporary world. It makes the story feel even more real.

Shakespeare will never really become obsolete. It may be difficult for us to understand his language, but the themes he used in his plays weren’t only current in his times, they’re still present. That’s why Shakespeare still has so many fans. There are people all around the world who can appreciate the genius of the person who was able to describe what life is about, and what it means to be human. There will always be a place for Shakespeare in our hearts, no matter how much the world changes.