On 23 April 2016, people across the world will mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeares death. The Bard as he is known, is widely considered the greatest writer in the English language, and his plays and poems have become an integral part of Western culture.

Over the course of his 52-years, Shakespeare produced 38 plays, 154 sonnets and a number of other works. But how have they managed to remain relevant for over four centuries?

Professor Gordon McMullan, the director of the Shakespeare Centre at Kings College London, said, If you look at the way The Tempest, Othello, King Lear, Hamlet have been re-imagined across time, you have a sense of the way each era, each period, reinvents its own Shakespeare for that moment.

It is thought that the works of Shakespeare have been translated into every major living language.

Andrew Dickson, a writer and theatre critic, said, Shakespeare has been performed in all sorts of different places around the world, in all sorts of different contexts, in all sorts of different times, and the thing I find fascinating about that is how they mean such different things at different times. A play like Othello has a completely different meaning in, for instance, the segregationist United States in the 19th century as it does in contemporary London.

He added, Thats the fascinating thing. Shakespeare doesnt just mean one thing and doesnt just mean the English language, he has all of these meanings. And when you travel the world, you suddenly see how much more he means than what we understand of him here.


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