William Shakespeare

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How is Shakespeare still relevant to a modern audience?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Shakespeare's plays remain relevant to us because we still struggle with the same issues that his characters faced. For example, most of us have times, like Hamlet, where, rather than face our problems, we would prefer to disappear (or as he puts it, "dissolve into a dew"). We all also have to confront betrayals, and some of us have to learn to understand that the people close to us may be terrible people and not have our best interests at heart. Most of us, too, like Macbeth, have to struggle with the temptation to take an immoral shortcut to success. This might not involve murdering someone who has been kind and generous to us, but we may be tempted to cheat in some way. Therefore, Macbeth's story can serve as a warning today, just as it could in the past. And who hasn't been—or isn't right now—a teenager falling impulsively in love, as Romeo and Juliet do?

Further, Shakespeare was ahead of his time in understanding gender issues. It is only within the last century that we have come...

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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