There is a lot that has been said about William Shakespeare. Everyone has an opinion on who he was, who he was not, what he wrote etc. The debate goes on, even after 400 years of his passing in 1616. Therein lies the true brilliance of literature – the compelling force to continue the conversation.
Goodreads is celebrating Shakespeare Week (August 18 – 23, 2016), which includes quizzes, book lists and an invitation to write a “deleted scene” from one of the Bard’s plays. Shakespeare would be pleased, no doubt.
I first met Shakespeare when I read Macbeth and confess that I had a partiality to the unfortunate Lady Macbeth.
“But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we’ll not fail.”
William Shakespeare, Macbeth
Then came The Taming of the Shrew (wasn’t Elizabeth Taylor magnificent):
“Sit by my side, and let the world slip: we shall ne’er be younger.”
William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew
Followed thereafter by Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, Twelve Night, King Lear, Julius Caesar, and Henry V:
“We few. We happy few.
We band of brothers, for he today
That sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother.”
William Shakespeare, Henry V
Peter Ackroyd’s, Shakespeare, the Biography brought it all together for me. This is not an easy read, by any stretch of the imagination, but after all, he is writing about William Shakespeare. My husband, my son and I listened to the audio-book version while driving in the car, which allowed us to integrate knowledge incrementally. We were taken back to the sixteen century and imagined that we were part of the audience. Even more exciting, we followed William from his childhood to his final night, when he met with friends for the last celebration before the curtain closed on a life well-lived.
This last quote is one that I embrace as I move forward in my timeline…
“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice