Why is William Shakespeare is the greatest playwright and poet throughout history?I need to prove this thesis but I can't figure out some strong points. And yes I have done research myself. So far,...

Why is William Shakespeare is the greatest playwright and poet throughout history?

I need to prove this thesis but I can't figure out some strong points. And yes I have done research myself. So far, I have he is greatest playwright and poet through history because in his poems and plays he expresses humanity through this complex characters, English language would not be the same today since he invented many new words.

I don't know if those are alright for my essay. Can someone please give me some advice and help me out?

Thank you.

Expert Answers
Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Just to add to the appropriate suggestions above, I'll add to the second answer and take it a step further.  Shakespeare takes what others have done, and improves on it.  He was not the first to write the story of Hamlet, for instance.  He wrote years before copyright laws, and he had access to and used versions of stories that he would synthesize and rewrite to form his plays. 

As far as your quesiton is concerned, the point is that his versions are so vastly superior to the sources he used that his abilities and skills are highlighted.  He takes dry bits and pieces of history, for instance, and turns them into Macbeth

Furthermore, perhaps his superiority over what others did before him is shown most notably in his ability to reveal the inner workings of the human mind and the intricacies of human existence.  If you need evidence to demonstrate akannan's suggestions, you could research this aspect of Shakespeare's creative process and his results to gather it. 

missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You are very much on the right track, and based on your question, I can tell you have done your research. Both the idea of his understanding of humanity and his contribution to the English language would make great paragraphs or sections of a 5-paragraph or extended essay.

I would encourage you to add literary flair. He uses puns, irony, humor, simile, metaphor, characterization, allusions, foreshadowing and just about every other literary device not only effectively but with great quantity in small spaces. He says so much in so few words that I often believe he would be a great writer today because of our need for brevity.

One thing I still find attractive about Shakespeare is that I am regularly challenged. There are still conversations in his plays that I don't understand and am challenged to research them, because I know he means to communicate in layers!

I think you are very much on the right track, you just need to pick one more sub-topic.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that within your description of expression of humanity it can be argued that Shakespeare was one of the first to display the complex nature of human nature.  Prior to Shakespeare, literature did not present the depth and fluid nature of human essence.  The characters created through his work helps to illuminate the idea that the essence of human identity is not static and flat, but rather vivid, fluid, and dynamic.  In terms of assessing why a case can be made for Shakespeare being the greatest playwright of all time would be that no other writer has inspired so much of modern drama.  Shakespeare's plot developments and story lines have served to inspire more literature and art than any other writer.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It's hard to prove superlatives.  I do think Shakespeare is a very influential and important poet and playwright.  So are a lot of other authors, poets and playwrights.  Since his work is so popular and older, it is commonly taught in schools.