Why are people so into William Shakespeare? I just don't understand!Why are people so into William Shakespeare? I just don't understand! 

Expert Answers
enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Like a good work of art, Shakespeare's plays express aspects of life that transcend time.  Love, revenge, war, and political intrigue are just a few themes found in his work that are applicable to any age.  He continues to be read enthusiastically because those themes can still be connected to one's own time,  from falling in love (Romeo and Juliet) to removal of a corrupt official (Julius Caesar) to domestic relations (Taming of the Shrew.)  In addition to expressing these universal themes, the format in which it was done (plot structure, characterization, allusions, word usage and wordplay) was unparalleled, and even were in his own time.  Admittedly, it's a bit difficult to read and enjoy a play or sonnet at the start;  the language has altered substantially in 400 odd years and many of the cultural allusions found in his writing make little or no sense to us today.  However, his plays were not meant to be read, they were meant to be seen.  To start, try renting Shakespeare in Love or see a good production of one of the plays. Read summaries before actually reading the text in order to understand the plot and characters involved first.  If ambitious, get cast in a production! Then you'll  understand  :)

jessecreations eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the language of Shakespeare makes him somewhat difficult to access for most of today's youth, but for people who have spent time studying his works, he can be hilarious, witty, inspirational, and dramatic like no one else can be.  His works will make you laugh, cry, ache, and (most of all) think.

To be completely frank, however, there are a certain number of people who probably claim to be "into Shakespeare," as you say, because they think it looks good to other people or because they think it makes them seem smarter.

If you don't understand Shakespeare when you read his plays, you can try to watch some of the film versions first.  I did this when I was in high school, and I have loved those films and plays ever since.  My favorite film version of a Shakespearean play is Kenneth Branaugh's "Much Ado About Nothing."  After watching that movie - and loving it - I found it much easier to understand the play when I read it.

No matter your mood, Shakespeare has a play for it.  If you think today's teenagers have drama in their lives, you should check out some of Shakespeare's characters sometime.

I hope you will continue to explore this idea, and read enough of Shakespeare's works that you will come to understand for yourself why people are so into him.  :)

tpisano eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It's rather difficult to explain.  I think everybody has their own reasons for loving this literary genius.  I know I get almost giddy when i read any of his plays.  He wrote in a timeless fashion.  The ideas he expressed were cutting edge for his time, yet because they focus on such universal issues they still are.  They express issues that we are still dealing with today.  What, for example, teenage girl has not expressed interest in meeting her "Romeo".  Taylor Swift's "Love Story" is based on the ideas in the play.  She retells the story through her song.  There are so many connections between his work and everyday life. 

 Oh, and he did it in all in the most beautiful and powerful of ways.  He is untouchable.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

How many of Shakespeare's plays have you seen?  If the answer is none, that answers your question.  If the answer is that you have seen plays, try reading a summary first so you know the story before you watch it.  Remember you don't need to understand every detail, just the broad strokes.

dimplesingle | Student

Actually ,Shakespeare knows human nature very well. He can easily embellish this with fascinating words.. He is both good at finding theme and presenting it with striking words..

staggerlee | Student

People love his work for different reasons. Clearly these posts show that the universality, timelessness, and truth of his characters and themes are a big draw.

Not so much for me. I love his poetry, his words. He demonstrates mastery of the language and does so many dazzling things with it - things no one else seems to be able to consistently do.

I think you need to have a love of language to be a fan of his work. If you do have that sort of reverence for english then you'll start reading his lines closely and see layers within layers, meanings within meanings. He does a whole lot with a few words.

The sound, the imagery, the wordplay, the ideas, emotions, insights... all woven together into a kind of tapestry - the kind of tapestry you look at over and over again and keep seeing new things that make you say "Oh cool! Never noticed that before!".

And with this deeply intricate language he creates those timeless characters and plots the above posts talk about.

And here I am reviving a three month old thread just to gush...

If you have an interest in english - maybe you just like a good pun (I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger... Then it hit me.) - and want to check out Shakespeare, don't be turned off by difficulty with the language. The first few plays you read you'll be constantly checking the annotations so you can understand what's said, and that takes away from the enjoyment. Quicky, tho, you'll learn the language and rarely need to check meanings.


netuser | Student

It seems that everything that Shakespeare wrote, though i do not prefer it...has a universal theme.  This universal theme, cause it to have appeal to a great variety of peoples...especially literature teachers...because it is a challenge and can test conceptual analysis and makes for hard essay questions.

frizzyperm | Student

He describes the experience of being human more perfectly than any other writer and describes it with exquisite beauty.

It is not a simple thing to 'get' at first. It is not easy or quick. Many people give up without discovering why it is important.

But it is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, yet again, most wonderful.

sanjiwan | Student

The reason is quite simple ,he has dealt the human emotion in the best way ,with all its significance and profoundity.