What is the thesis of "Shakespeare, Prince of Light" by Pablo Neruda?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The thesis of “Shakespeare, Prince of Light” is that William Shakespeare was such a gifted poet that his works still have value and relevance centuries later.

Many people have celebrated the works of Shakespeare.  Neruda explores the concept of Shakespeare’s exceptional skill as a poet.  His premise is that Shakespeare’s works still have meaning to us not just because of the content, but because of the way the words are used. 

At one point, Neruda imagines what he would say to the great Shakespeare himself.

“And across four centuries, I would say to him, “Greetings, Prince of Light!  Good health, sir itinerant actor.  We are the heirs to your great dreams; we dream them still.  Your words do honor to the entire world….”

The human psyche seeks out poetry, because it contains both meaning and emotion.  Through his words, Shakespeare is able to talk directly to the human soul.  As a poet himself, Neruda understood and appreciated this.  He understands the impact the works had on our culture and our literature.