You may want to groan when you hear the name “Shakespeare.” After all, for decades stuffy English teachers have been forcing students to read plays by Shakespeare, plays that seem difficult to understand and that appear to have little connection to our own lives.
But William Shakespeare is probably the most influential writer in English. Not only are his plays and poems important literature, but Shakespeare also affected the English language more than anyone else. Many of our everyday expressions, like “it’s all Greek to me” and being “tongue-tied” and suffering “green-eyed jealousy,” all come from Shakespeare.
As famous as he is, however, it’s unlikely that Shakespeare thought of himself as creating anything extraordinarily literary. Of course, it’s clear that he loved language and writing, but Shakespeare was basically writing to pay the bills. He’s the equivalent of the contemporary best-selling popular writer Stephen King, writing for all of society, not a select literary few.
In fact, Shakespeare and Stephen King are much more alike than you might think. If you want to learn more about the connections between Shakespeare and King, pick up “Teen History Mashups: Shakespeare to King.”
Chief Story Guide Leader