Are his works really the be all and end all? Or would you like to bid him, and his plays, good riddance? If you don't like his work, is that the green-eyed monster speaking or is there really such a thing as too much of a good thing? Is it a foregone conclusion his works are dead as a doornail?
Well, if the above few sentences made at least some sense to you it would appear not, for the majority of the well-known phrases I used to make my point came directly from Shakespeare's own quill.
Shakespeare's words may, at first glance, seem old-fashioned and perhaps even out of step with modern life, but many of his words live on in our language today. Some words, such as rant, puking, addiction, obscene and bedazzled for example, first appeared in his works, as did many phrases we still use today.
If you have ever wished something could "vanish into thin air" (Othello), described someone as having "a heart of gold" (Henry V) or complained you've "not slept one wink" (Cymbeline) then you are quoting Shakespeare. In fact, if you are reading this and thinking "for goodness sake' get on with it - sorry to break it to you- for goodness sake first made an appearance in Shakespeare's Henry VIII.
But this column isn't an exercise in quoting as much Shakespeare as I can, or belatedly proving to my English lecturer at university that I did actually listen after all, but rather to point out that just because something is old doesn't mean it's not relevant.
Shakespeare lived and died a long time ago, a long way away from here, but that doesn't mean we should ignore his legacy. While I might not agree with the choice made back in 1877 to name our town Stratford-on-Patea (I would much rather the name reflected the local culture, not that of the colonials), the fact is our district has been linked with Shakespeare since that point, and I don't see why we shouldn't embrace the theme and celebrate that connection, at least one month of the year.
I can think of no other playwright in history who has been so universally revered, and for so long. Nor can I think of another writer who has been the subject of quite so many books, essays, lectures, entire courses devoted to them. You don't need a doctorate in English literature to be able to recognise the names and themes of some of his plays, nor do you need to have read every play and sonnet to be able to join in with the fun this April as the Stratford Shakespeare Trust puts on a range of activities to celebrate the town's connection to the bard.
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You don't have to be passionate about plays or mad about Macbeth to be able to find something Shakespeare-themed to enjoy this April in our town. From gin to jousting, there will be something for everyone. After all, as the bard himself said - "pleasure and action make the hours seem short" (Othello) so why not indulge in a little literary fun this April?