William Shakespeare is heralded as one of the greatest writers to ever put quill to paper. Shakespeare was born and brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later known as the King’s Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613 at age 49 but in between this period he managed to create many works include 38 plays, 154 sonnets and several other poems. From the beloved romantic tragedy ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to comedies like ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, Shakespeare’s range of writing styles surpasses that of nearly every famous author from history and the modern day.
An online survey highlighted the importance that Shakespeare still has in today’s world. When asked if they felt that Shakespeare should still be taught in school an incredible 77% of respondents believed that he was still relevant and should be taught. Their reasons behind this were also fairly varied, 33% believed that his works should be taught as he is an important historical and cultural figure in Britain. Other respondents, 32%, felt that his works should be taught in schools as the themes and ideas are still relevant in todays world and with only 5% saying that they felt there should be more of a focus on modern works.
When compared to other great writers such as William Wordsworth, William Blake W.B. Yeats respondents to the online survey placed William Shakespeare on top in the popularity stakes and with over half, 51%, had studied Shakespeare’s work while at school.
When it comes to picking out a favourite work of Shakespeare many people are unable as their is such variety and depth that to pick only one would be limiting ones self drastically. Through the online survey people were asked to pick a favourite piece of work, 27% of respondents said that they were unable to pick one piece but of those who did chose Romeo And Juliet as their favourite, with 16% of the respondents choices. Coming in second we have Macbeth which had 11% of peoples responses.
We hope that you can take a couple of mins to have a think about what your favourite work by Shakespeare was, we have put together a timeline that looks at when Shakespeare released his work and a few markers within his life. There is also a Jux that we made looking at the most popular works that he has released, you can check out that list here.
What are your favourite Shakespeare works? Do you think that it is still important that we teach Shakespeare in school now? Let us know in the comments.