History’s best-known author, William Shakespeare influences our lives daily, whether we realize it or not. His words, phrases, and themes turn up in modern culture, in casual conversation, and in literature classes. Everyone has, at some point in time, encountered him in some form. “A rose by any other name…” “My kingdom for a horse!” “If you prick us, do we not bleed?” “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them!”

People love Shakespeare. Loathe Shakespeare. Rank him as a genius. Doubt he wrote his plays. Study prose, poetry, and verse endlessly. Debate authorship. Interpret the works through modern eyes, through symbolism, through contemporary information. He turns up in movies, television shows, and in books… as a secondary or main character. Passionate, ambivalent, or ignorant, most have an opinion.

Some suffered through studying him in college. Others embraced him with delight. Many choose to read or study or see his plays without prompting; others enter kicking and screaming, and leave with an admission of, “Well… that was good.”

Dramatic themes, memorable villains, mistaken identities, misunderstandings, lover’s quarrels, family feuds, errant fools, and vengeful ghosts all settle amid Shakespeare’s works. What makes them endure? Vibrant prose? Words that slip from actor’s tongues like chocolate? Memorable characters? Or is it, as someone in my life believes, that “Shakespeare knew human nature more than any soul that ever lived”?

I know not, maiden fair and kind sir, but let us discover together the great joys of such a remarkable man. Articles both serious and naught, of symbolism and theatre and Stratford shall appear in forthcoming weeks. I beg you take heed and draw near, for we embark upon the works of Shakespeare!

“Doubt thou the stars are fire, Doubt that the sun doth move. Doubt truth to be a liar, But never doubt I love.


West Side Story: The Updated Romeo & Juliet

Shakespeare’s World: The Globe Theater

Anonymous: The Authorship Debate

We Will Show Our Duty: The Avenging Sons in Hamlet

Of Crowns and Changing Fortunes: Shakespeare’s Richard II

Becoming Noble Harry

A Merry War: Romance in Much Ado About Nothing

Bloody Will Be Thy End: Shakespeare’s Tudor Histories

The Origins of Romeo & Juliet