It’s time for Writer Wednesday, when I discuss another author and his or her book. Today I’m talking about Shakespeare, who has been named the greatest writer of the English language. 2014 marks the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare.
He is beloved centuries later because there is a universality in the actions of his characters. One does not have to be Caesar to feel betrayal. Brutus lurks even now in modern life. Likewise, one does not have to be Shylock to attempt to undertake a business dealing that ends less than desirable for oneself. One does not have to be Romeo to be in love. These characters are fully integrated into their various sets and places of their plays, but they are also identifiable to contemporary audiences, because they speak with honesty. What does this mean? Authentic characters are timeless, because they are supremely real and thus they emerge not as stifled creations but as full embodiments of humanity- or at least a portion of it. This then is the secret to longevity.
Much can be written on Shakespeare. He appeals to many because he was a master of so many genres- poetry, comedy, tragedy and history. Interestingly to me, as an author of historical fiction, Shakespeare himself wrote historical fiction. What we consider his histories are precisely that. He imagines the histories, based in fact, but also with the liberty of the playwright in crafting a story that seems plausible but that is not entirely documented to be true. The staying power of his plays testifies then also to the long-held appeal of historical fiction. The past beckons to the interests of others. There, readers continue to find some semblance of themselves. The past then truly is prologue. It was Shakespeare who coined the phrase- Past is Prologue.
My best to you all,