William Shakespeare was born 400 years ago this past weekend. He is the most prolific playwright of all time. During a period when most people were illiterate, a man with just a grammar school education wrote plays about politics and crime and love and hate. He spun stories that make us cry and laugh and feel something centuries later.
But I wonder if he realized the strength in his words as he wrote them down all those years ago?
Shakespeare once said, “We know what we are but know not what we may be.”
Our younger years were filled with English classes that shared Shakespearean plots and our children will turn those same pages.
The Tempest, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew… and the list goes on.
Robin Williams once said, “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
Shakespeare’s words changed how people were entertained. What people thought. What people felt. And they continue to do so today.
There is no way Shakespeare could have known the reach of his work. He had a passion for writing and storytelling and he followed his heart. He said, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
What do we have inside us that we can offer the world? There is no right answer in life. As Shakespeare said, “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
You are the main character in your life’s play. As Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”
What is your next scene? What are your lines? And how will you make it a moment to remember?
“This above all; to thine own self be true.” William Shakespeare