Having been read and translated in over one hundred different languages (including some fictional languages like Klingon), the works of Shakespeare have reached readers worldwide. Over hundreds of years Shakespeare's works have embodied a wide range of emotions, from revolution against tyrants to the tragedy of loss and grief. These universally relevant themes echo through time and space alike, reaching audiences from different eras and different regions. One of the oldest Shakespeare literary societies was founded in Weimar, Germany in the 18th century, while at the same time Shakespeare was being translated into Japanese and Chinese. In the 1960s Tanzania's first president Julius Nyerere donated the first Swahili translation to his country while Bollywood was at its peak, with many films drawing inspiration from the Bard. Such a widespread influence lead to the creation of the World Shakespeare Festival in 2012, where productions from dozens of countries performed his works at the Globe theater in London. With 2016 marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, a renewed wave of global events continues to make Shakespeare relevant in the modern age.
All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; (As You Like It)
The situation and characters of Shakespeare are riddled with problems and themes of the human condition. Each play offers a perspective on some of the most central questions to life and what it means to be human and experience human emotion. From Henry V's Saint Crispin Day Speech to Portia's thoughts about the quality of mercy, Shakespeare's plays are entrenched in humanity. Shakespeare's characters embrace their humanity, though some reach this conclusion unwillingly. They love, hate, cheat, and are fuelled by their emotions, embodying the multifaceted and contradictory nature of our inner selves. They feel deeply, and for this they appear to us as deeply human. This is where Shakespeare maintains his relevance in modernity; in human emotion.
The 21st Century Shakespeare site is maintained by Jarod Hoeflich using the myPages at UNH.
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