How have Shakespeare's plays affected our society today?

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Aside from the pure enjoyment (or, perhaps from some students' perspective, torment) that Shakespeare's plays provide us today, they have lingering cultural significance. Perhaps the most important contribution of Shakespeare's plays today is that they have contributed hundreds of everyday expressions to modern English. For all of his flowery language, one of Shakespeare's greatest traits was his ability to sum up complex human emotions about the situations and paradoxes that confront us in memorable, pithy phrases that we use today without even thinking about it. "As luck would have it," "be-all, end-all," "for goodness' sake," "full circle," and "foregone conclusion" are just a few of these phrases. So Shakespeare has been indispensable to the development of modern English. This is perhaps his primary impact on today's society. The reason Shakespeare's plays resonate with some modern readers as well as theater and moviegoers (there have been many major motion pictures that were either adaptations or in other ways based on Shakespearean plays) is because they speak in eloquent ways to aspects of the human condition--love, jealousy, hate, fear, revenge, and so on--that are essentially timeless. 

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