how did shakespeare transform europe

"It encouraged the association of compression with a depth of content and variety of emotional response to a degree unparalleled in English". More light-heartedly, in The Merry Wives of Windsor (1597) – the only one of Shakespeare’s comedies set in his own country rather than elsewhere in Europe – the local doctor, Caius, is French. He imparted economy and intensity to the language. It is, however, the only surviving manuscript, apart from some legal documents, in which the playwright’s handwriting (“Hand D”) can be clearly detected. Back in 2012, the British Library displayed a rare book that attracted as much media attention as a Gutenberg Bible. In the early Henry VI part 1, the Duke of Bedford sets out to defend Plantagenet territory in France: ‘Ten thousand soldiers with me will I take,’ he declares, ‘Whose bloody deeds shall make all Europe quake.’ But everywhere else in the canon, even among the other English histories, ‘Europe’ is more or less synonymous with ‘Christendom,’ an imagined territory to which even the most reprobate and irresponsible among Shakespeare’s compatriots emphatically belong.

From the first, he was always pitching his work on the biggest stage imaginable. [5][6][7] Shakespeare's writings have also impacted many notable novelists and poets over the years, including Herman Melville,[8] Charles Dickens,[9] and Maya Angelou,[10] and continue to influence new authors even today.

Abroad, the play still resonates as a lethal blend of tragedy and history.

To the versification of the English language, he imparted his eloquence and variety giving highest expressions with elasticity of language. When William Shakespeare began writing his plays, the English language was rapidly absorbing words from other languages due to wars, exploration, diplomacy and colonization. The motto of the Globe, his theatre, was Totus mundus agit histrionem (The whole world is a playhouse).

Shakespeare's plays borrowed ideas from popular sources, folk traditions, street pamphlets, and sermons. “There was nothing preserved of this great genius,” wrote Adams, sadly, “which might inform us what accident turned his mind to letters and drama.” This has never inhibited the American “bardolatry” which, during the 19th century, would morph into bizarre (and ultimately pointless) disputes about the authorship of the plays. The naturalness gave force and freedom since there was no formalized prescriptive grammar binding the expression. [21] His remarkable capacity to analyze and express emotions in simple words was noteworthy: "When my love swears that she is made of truth, [21] Falstaff, although outside "the prevailing political spirit of the play", throws insight into the different situations arising in the play. Hamlet answers this uniquely modern question by redefining the theatrical expression of identity. Find out about the British Council's Shakespeare Lives programme of events and activities in 2016, celebrating Shakespeare’s work on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of his death. “What a piece of work is a man!” exclaims Hamlet, in the voice of the playwright. The Stratford of his youth lurks behind the facades of Verona, Syracuse or Padua, just as the “citizens” of his Vienna, Rome or Athens seem to have stepped straight out of Cheapside or Southwark. His plays seem to tell us that here is a great writer who is happily steeped in low culture and the English countryside as much as court politics and affairs of state. To accommodate this, writers such as Edmund Spenser, Sir Philip Sidney, Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare expressed new ideas and distinctions by inventing, borrowing or adopting a word or a phrase from another language, known as neologising. Great stars hanker after the great roles: Olivier playing Henry V, Paul Robeson playing Othello, Orson Welles playing Falstaff, and Gielgud playing Prospero.


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