illustrated portrait of English playwright and poet William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

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What is Shakespeare's influence on modern American culture?

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Before Sigmund Freud, there was William Shakespeare.  What greater insights have we been given than those imparted by the Bard?  Thousand upon thousands of titles have come from lines of Shakespeare, aphorisms have been built upon his words, as have been epithets.  Many a Shakespearean character has become a modern prototype.

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There are so many influences of Shakespeare that it is almost impossible to trace them all. There are many instances of parody and adaptation, or just allusion. I have found it interesting to check the Wikipedia pages for a specific work. It often lists multiple pop culture references.
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To speak of Shakespeare's legacy is to embark on a huge topic, far bigger than a short post can handle. So, let me mention only a few points.

First, Shakespeare has left behind many works. He is one of the most prolific and famous writers in all of the English language. He is still very much alive today and still incredibly famous. From high school students to professionals, we still act out the plays.

Second, he, as a word smith, has influenced our language and vocabulary. For instance, if someone uses the expression, "bated breadth," then they are using something from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice." Another example is an expression from Othello,"foregone conclusion."

Third, he has shaped our imagination as his works have seeped into our culture and society. Moreover, his penetrating analysis of human nature is still very much with us today.

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What influence does Shakespeare have on modern day?

This is a great question. There are many thing that we can say. So, let me limit myself to a few points. 

First, Shakespeare has a profound effect on the English language. For example, some of his words and phrases are still apart of our world. We can say this his English has transformed the way people speak in the past and we still feel his influence.  

Second, he has influenced our imaginations with his literary works. Just the fact that we read his works today say that there is an profound influence. We see this also in many remakes of Shakespeare in the theater and in movies. For example, the novel, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley use the words of Shakespeare (The Tempest, 5.1). In addition, Shakespeare has also influenced the arts and music. 

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