2016 is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare, who is a renowed English poet, playwright and actor. ST writes who Shakspeare is and what happened around the world to commemorate his death....................Ed
William Shakespeare, an English playwright who is regarded as the greatest dramatist of his time, marked his death on April 23, 1616. He left more than 30 plays, 154 sonnets and other verses of literature. The year 2016 marks his 400th anniversary. However, even though it has been 400 years since Shakespeare’s death, his works have exerted a tremendous influence on the world across time and space.
Culture and Language
Shakespeare’s works have been highly adapted and used in various places during the past 400 year period. Shakespeare’s use of language and creation of plots have melted not only the West, but also into Eastern culture. However, because we use it so naturally, it is hard to recognize that the Shakespearean etymological elements even exist. If we look closely into the words that are used and the plots or stories that are applied, we will be able to discover that Shakespeare has influenced the culture more than one might have guessed.
For instance, many words originated from Shakespeare some of which we still use until this day. The word “addiction” is known to be first used by Shakespeare in Othello, Act II, Scene ii. “Assassination” is used from Macbeth, Act I, Scene vii; and “eyeball” from The Tempest , Act I, Scene ii. Although there is still controversy over how many words Shakespeare invented and how many are still being used, it is certain that Shakespeare’s use of the English language had been a turning point for English language development.
Apart from the words that Shakespeare introduced, the lines used in his plays also became famous. Some of them became well known enough that they were adapted by different cultures and different media. The most famous line is the soliloquy from Hamlet: “To be, or not to be: that is the question.” The meaning of the line in the play is showing self-conflict whether to commit suicide or not; however, it differs in other adaptations and the way people actually use them. Most people tend to use it when they are in a conflicting situation as to whether they should do something or not, or in situations for comedies, but not in a particular depressing grave moment as Hamlet was in.
As for the stories and plots that Shakespeare created, they have been adapted and remade several times. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, there are 410 feature-length films and TV versions that are based on his plays. The play Romeo and Juliet has been used more than 50 times on screen, and the most famous setting is the balcony scene where Romeo and Juliet are calling out to each other.
In Shakespeare’s homeland, England, every region did something special to commemorate the death of their great dramatist. One of the events was “The Complete Walk” that was organized by The Globe Theatre, the reconstruction of the theatre that Shakespeare had once partially owned. It took place in London Central on April 23 to 24. It started from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge which is a 2.5 mile route and 37 specially made 10 minute films were screened along the whole rode which explored Shakespeare’s plays.
In America, Chicago is famous for its Shakespeare Theatre, and they are performing special events for the special anniversary. This year, the theatre put on stage Othello: The Remix, a Chicago Shakespeare production of the play Othello. They also have a list of plays such as a short play of Romeo & Juliet, a production of The Winter’s Tale, and Love Labor’s Lost.
Other countries contributed through their own events in remembering William Shakespeare. In Egypt, they staged Shakespearean dramas in Alexandria from April 23rd to 27th. In India, Shakespeare’s short plays were performed at the British Council in Delhi on April 23. In Jordan, English students used Macbeth to improve their command of the language. The SNS were inundated with the numerous contents on Shakespeare all over the globe on April 23.
Since the beginning of the year 2016, Korea has been actively preparing for the commemoration of Shakespeare. Meanwhile, the British Council, which is UK’s international organization for educational opportunities and cultural relations, launched the program “Shakespeare Lives in 2016” all around the world. People worldwide, including Koreans, have been working on Shakespeare’s 400th death anniversary.
As part of “Shakespeare Lives”, the British Film Institute, along with the British Council, selected around 20 UK movies based on Shakespearean plays. Among those films, Henry V (1944), Romeo & Juliet (1968), and Coriolanus (2011) were open to general public in Korea. Also, famous poets came to Korea and recited their favorite Shakespeare sonnets. A “Special Gala” known to have put Shakespeare’s masterpieces’ highlights into a ballet form was performed in October. Moreover, there was a ballet performance on Midsummer Night’s Dream on November. “Tiger Lillies” and the “Denmark Republique Theatre” played together a musical drama on Hamlet.ST