Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits

We can’t keep talking about poetry without talking about the Big Daddy. Shakespeare is instilled into our consciousness right from school, and his words are still celebrated, performed, read, and loved today.

‘Shakespeare Shame’

The problem is, his works are so widely regarded as classics that they’ve become unfashionable to like. You’re not supposed to admit to it. Literature students at university are supposed to pretend they have only a passing admiration for old Billy Shakes.So what do you do if you have a genuine love for his work? You declare it out loud, ask them sarcastically if they’ve ever had THEIR portrait on a plane, and hit back at any haters with one of these reasons why Shakespeare is definitely still cool.

Shakes on a Plane
Shakes on a Plane….. Photo by Eric Salard / CC BY NAME

1) His Phenomenally Modern Grasp of Psychology 

Shakespeare’s grasp of psychology was amazingly forward thinking. When Othello had a fit after he’d worked himself up into a rage over his wife’s alleged infidelity, Shakespeare was exploring the links between a person’s state of mind and a person’s physical health in a way that was arguably more in depth than anyone had ever attempted before. His characters are always exceptionally 3-dimensional. Even Freud admired his psychological grasp on the motives and development of his characters.

2) ‘It’s Greek To Me’

This is just one of the words or phrases that Shakespeare made up. He literally made them up. There are hundreds of phrases we use every day that just didn’t exist before he thought them up. Here are a couple:

Photo by Andrew and Annemarie / CC BY NAME
Photo by Andrew and Annemarie / CC BY NAME

– Vanish into thin air
– Bloody minded
– More fool you
– Played fast and loose
– Truth will out
– The game is up

3) Out Of This World

24 out of Uranus’s 27 satellites are named after Shakespeare’s characters, the exceptions being Belinda, Umbriel and Ariel (named for the sylph in The Rape of the Lock, not the sprite in The Tempest). The other 24 are Miranda, Titania, Oberon, Puck, Cordelia, Ophelia, Portia, Desdemona, Bianca, Cressida, Juliet, Rosalind,Cupid, Mab, Sycorax, Perdita, Caliban, Prospero, Setebos, Ferdinand,Trinculo, Francisco, Margaret and Stephano.

Photo by Lisby / CC BY NAME
Photo by Lisby / CC BY NAME

4) The Coolest Actors Perform His Work

David Tennant and James Mcavoy have both taken on Macbeth. Helen Mirren was a woman Prospero, which was AWESOME. Tom Hiddleston’s done Henry V and Coriolanus,  and Dame Maggie Smith has pretty much done it all. Anthony Hopkins was a fabulous Titus Andronicus, Stephen Fry was a shockingly good Malvolio in Twelfth Night, and even Denzel Washington and Keanu Reeves did a turn in Much Ado about Nothing.

5) His Instagram Would Get The Most Likes

Okay, so this section has a stupid name. But if you Google ‘Shakespeare’ you get around 32m results. Elvis Presely, The Queen, Monty Python, Glastonbury,  Simon Cowell, George Best, John Lennon, the Dalai Lama and Banksy all have LESS searches. He’s very popular!

We hope this helps you stick up for the big man!


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