How is Shakespeare still relevant to a modern audience?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Shakespeare is still relevant for a modern audience because the topics he discussed are just as puzzling then as they are now.

The topics that Shakespeare addressed in his dramas were universal.  They addressed broad topics and explored them with depth.  For example, Macbeth and Hamlet show how difficult decisions are a part of human identity. Macbeth struggles with his ambition, while Hamlet fights through the difficulties of revenge.  Both issues still plague human beings today.  In King Lear, King Lear has difficulties with his children and fails at being a parent to them.  This is something we see today, as differences between parents and children still exist.  Othello is overcome with jealousy and doubt.  His insecurity causes him to undo his greatest of accomplishments.  At the same time, Romeo and Juliet experience the dizzying heights and the painful lows in human affection. In these instances, Shakespeare reveals the struggle within relationships from both an adult and youth perspective.  

Shakespeare does not provide any easy answers. Shakespeare is relevant to the modern audience because his subject matter is as challenging to us today as it was back then. Shakespeare sought to write from a human perspective. His work connected with so many because it articulated what it means to be a human being.  In doing so, his work proves to be as relevant today.

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