Today is Shakespeare day! 400 years ago today, Shakespeare departed the stage of earth, “Parting is such sweet sorrow” (Romeo and Juliet Act 2, Scene 2) He was also born around this date, although that exact point in time is less certain.
As a writer and an editor, Shakespeare is inspiring to me. His words flow with beauty and precision. At the same time, his characters continue to thrill and his plots still resonate through time. 400 years ago, the playwright stopped writing, but the work that we have come to love began to be collected in those subsequent years.
Shakespeare has been reinvented, reinterpreted and studied throughout the decades and centuries. His plays were meant for every layer of society in London and they have become accessible and beloved throughout the world, for people from all situations and backgrounds.
With Shakespeare, past really is prologue. (“What’s past is prologue”; The Tempest Act 2, Scene 1)
I find this line, for which my blog is named, fitting because I write and study history. The past continues to inform the present. In terms of writing, every writer that has proceeded us becomes a part of the canvas upon which we paint with our own words.
Richard Peck put it this way, “We write by the light of every story we have ever read.”
A few years ago, I completed my goal of reading all of his plays. Which ones are your favorites?