Where did Shakespeare get the ideas for his plays?
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Shakespeare got much of his inspiration from playwrights that lived long before he was born. It is a well-known fact that Shakespeare "borrowed" ideas from other pieces of literature and built around those ideas sometimes. Some people have questioned if Shakespeare could have written all of the plays that have been credited to him; we'll never know, but in my opinion, there is no reason to believe that he did not write all of these wonderful plays!
From all over... European authors both contemporary and before his time, mythology, daily life, folk tales, songs, history--English, Greek, Roman, Italian, etc.
Shakespeare strikes me as someone who was amazingly observant and who never forgot an interesting conversation or phrasing. He must have been well-read or there wouldn't be so many obvious references to Chaucer, Ovid, Plutarch, Gascoigne, and other famous writers and published works. Mythological and Biblical allusion are also prolific in his works.
So, to answer your question, he got his ideas from the same places that modern writers get their ideas. All you have to do is look around and listen carefully to find fuel for your next bestseller.
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