Shakespeare is timeless. Fact. Well, perhaps it isn’t fact and actually it’s often debated whether or not Shakespeare’s plays are still relevant today. Some people find the language difficult and the character’s journeys not relevant to their own lives. But others base entire careers upon Shakespeare’s words and can find them to contain a great many life lessons.
What made Shakespeare so different from his contemporaries was his ability to get inside his character’s heads. Yes, the words they say are beautiful and poetic and extremely clever linguistically, but they are also full of real passion and emotion. They seem to come from a place of truth – though you wouldn’t catch me saying ‘she doth teach the torches to shine bright’ when recounting a first date to my friends.
As a child, the words can be overwhelming and sitting in a theatre for upwards of 3 hours can be far too much to handle. However, the value of Shakespeare’s plays – to a mind of any age – cannot be denied.
At any time in the world it is likely, if not probable, the Shakespeare is being performed, read, learnt about or listened to. It might be that some of the stories don’t tick everyone’s boxes. A woman who would maintain her status as a chaste nun rather than save the life of a brother who is put to death for a petty crime (Measure for Measure) might not get everyone’s empathy flowing but surely there are some out there who will totally understand.
On the other hand, the friend zone is something that a lot of people can completely understand and Viola, in Twelfth Night, is so firmly in the friend zone that she is sent out by the man she loves to try and secure him a date. Of course she is dressed as a man at the time and working as a servant in his house – but it wouldn’t be Shakespeare without some casual cross dressing.
What really makes Shakespeare so powerful is the images he creates with his words. Rather than merely having a character state that it’s sunset, the phrase ‘The west yet glimmers with some streaks of day’ is used instead. This beautiful collection of words paints a much more vivid picture that ‘it’s sunset’.
For children, the words might not resonate as clearly as they will to an adult but the stories are undeniably brilliant and introducing children to the literary canon from an early age is very beneficial. The complete collection of Shakespeare’s Children’s Stories all come with beautiful illustrations that highlight the importance of images in Shakespeare’s texts.
This entire collection is currently available with a massive 92% off the RRP. It seems pretty clear that now is the time to get your hand on these books. After all, ‘the time of life is short’ (Henry IV).