Joseph Fiennes as Shakespeare in SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE

Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor - THE TAMING OF THE SHREW

I’m almost afraid to mention Shakespeare.  There is a whole generation of readers out there, including my kids, who had Shakespeare in Love shoved down their throats in English class at highschool.  They studied the movie and everything to do with Shakespeare for ten very long weeks, to the point where none of them now will sit still for anything to do with the bard.

I suspect there is a big slice of the general reading population that feels exactly the same way.

Which is a pity.  Shakespeare In Loveis, in my opinion, a great movie, a great romance, and a perfectly accurate portrayal of Elizabethan London.

William Shakespeare was born on this day in 1564, and he died on this day, 52 years later, in 1616.  He was a common playwright, who enjoyed commercial success and the queen’s favour…but his

Sam Worthington in the Scottish play.

Claire Danes, Leonardo DiCaprio, ROMEO AND JULIET

plays, unlike most of his contemporaries (Christopher Marlow, for example), continue to enjoy commercial success even today.

You have to wonder what quality it is about Shakespeare’s plays that makes them so mass-appealing, after so many centuries.  They’re considered great works of literature now, but Shakespeare was writing purely to pay the rent — he wrote what was popular, what the common man want to see.  He wrote to entertain.

Perhaps that’s the secret.

 

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