“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”
William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
Today is National Shakespeare Day. There is a great deal being said about his brilliance, his writing style and theatrical beginnings. Some include a timeline from birth to his death, which incidentally occurred on the same day – April 23rd – fifty-two years apart. It has been 450 years since his birth and still we talk about him. Why?
Because he was a storyteller!
Shakespeare gave us stories that resonate within the human heart, advising that “We are such stuff as dreams are made on.” His words bridge the centuries with verse that draws on a range of human emotions, reminding us that each of us has a part to play.
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
William Shakespeare, As You Like It
Shakespeare may be a household word, but most of us remember him from school days, when we were required to read one of his plays, knowing that we would be asked to regurgitate someone’s idea of what the play was all about. For many, this was a painful process, especially since a grade was attached to these assignments. I wonder what Shakespeare would think of this practice?
Several years ago, I went back to Shakespeare when I read Peter Ackroyd’s “Shakespeare: The Biography” which was published in 2006. I chose this book specifically because Peter Ackroyd is a self-proclaimed enthusiast instead of an expert on Shakespeare. I was more interested in William Shakespeare as a flesh and blood person, rather than a distant, inaccessible genius. I was not disappointed. Peter Ackroyd transported me to the time of Elizabeth I, where drama, intrigue and schemes flourished. William Shakespeare’s years were filled with humour, joy, tragedy and love. A life well lived.
“All’s well if all ends well.”