The Shakespeare connection

APART from writing superb plays and poetry, William Shakespeare was apparently also responsible for the existence of starlings in North America.

On March 6, 1890, a pharmaceutical magnate and literary fan named Eugene Schiefflin released 60 starlings into New York’s Central Park, in his bid to introduce every species of bird mentioned in Shakespeare’s writings into the New World.

Those 60 birds became a major pest, swelling to more than 200 million birds today.Stephen Marche, in his fascinating new book How Shakespeare Changed Everything, notes that the 16th-century Bard has permeated aspects of everyday life far beyond his genre and his era.

Marche states that Shakespeare’s influence is everywhere – from politics to psychotherapy, Broadway to botany. He says Shakespeare provided the foundation for Freudian psychology and changed the English language beyond recognition, inventing over 1700 words, including fashionable, jaded, bandit, advertising, glow and gossip.

“He has been used as a crude political instrument by all sides in conflicts of which he could never have conceived,” says Marche.

The Nazi Party once even tried to claim Shakespeare as a Germanic writer. In 1936, there were more productions of Shakespeare in Germany than in the rest of the world combined.

Stephen Marche describes Shakespeare as the most influential person who ever lived because “he shaped our world more than any political or religious leader, more than any explorer, artist or engineer”.

That’s open to question. What about Beethoven or Muhammad or certainly Jesus?

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20 thoughts on “The Shakespeare connection

    • Michael H. Hart – “In 1996, Hart addressed a conference organized by Jared Taylor’s white separatist organization, New Century Foundation, publisher of American Renaissance. He proposed partitioning the United States into four states: a white state, a black state, a Hispanic state, and an integrated mixed-race state[4] [5][6]” Wikipedia

      I’m not sure I’d be too interested in his opinion.

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  1. Bill Shaksper penned those stories in a way suitable to those times .
    And good on him .
    But the real issue is that he is just putting on paper what had been going on for tens of thousands of years .
    His work is not his own it is really a history of what did come about .
    More a problem is there is no improvement at all .
    Why should there be ?
    With the vast majority believing this universe is to test how much suffering they can take and to leave more suffering for the next generation.
    The belief they are going to escape this crap for a better place mentality.

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  2. Shakespear’s work wasn’t an accurate reporting of history, but pandered to the politics of the day. Some accredited to him was others’ work that he had bought the rights to alter and produce, I think.

    In any case, he had the knack of showing not just a story, but philosophical and psychological elements behind it. He may be more quoted today, unwittingly, than the Bible.

    So he helped shape our world, but in different ways than those other important figures who had such a great influence. I would add St Paul to the list!

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  3. People have even colonised Star Wars “A new Hope” with Shakespeare. Have a look at the excerpt below:

    An excerpt from William Shakespeare’s Star Wars®: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher, published this month by Quirk Books.

    ACT V, Scene 5, lines 279-329. Space.

    BIGGS Make haste, O Luke. Methinks they do approach
    E’en faster than before. I shall not hold
    Them back for long!

    LUKE —Now, R2, straight increase
    The pow’r.

    R2-D2 —Beep, whee.

    BIGGS —Make haste, Luke. O, alas!

    [Darth Vader shoots. Explosion. Biggs dies.

    LUKE That ever I should see this day, O woe!
    My childhood friend from Tatooine now slain
    Protecting me from harm. Thou ow’dst a life—
    Dear Biggs, sweet Biggs—and thou hast paid. And now
    ’Tis down to me: the boy turn’d warrior.
    Be still, my errant heart, and seek the Force.

    VADER The leader now is mine.

    R2-D2 —Meep, beep.

    C-3PO —Take care
    Sweet R2-D2! Come thou back, I pray!

    CHORUS Luke’s ship comes closer to the little port
    While Vader and his crew draw all too near.
    Young Luke to his computer doth resort
    Until he hears the voice speak in his ear.

    Enter Ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

    GHOST O use the Force, dear Luke. Let go and trust!

    VADER I sense the Force in this one here, almost
    As if I did my younger self espy.

    GHOST I prithee, trust me, Luke. All shall be well.

    LUKE The hearing of these words is like a balm
    Unto my soul. So shall I trust the Force
    And not this fallible computer here.

    [Luke turns off computer.

    COMPUTER What is this, Luke? Thy targeting machine
    Hath been turn’d off. What can be wrong? Pray tell!

    LUKE Nay, all is well. Fear not, good friends.

    R2-D2 —Beep, squeak.

    [Darth Vader shoots. R2-D2 is hit.

    Ahh hoo!

    LUKE —Small R2-D2 hath been lost!

    COMPUTER The Death Star now has come within our range.

    TARKIN Commander, thou may’st fire when thou hast made
    All goodly preparation thereunto.

    VADER Now face thy death, thou rebel.

    PILOT —Sir, take heed!

    CHORUS Now in a trice brave Han is on the scene!
    The smuggler hath return’d on errand kind.
    With sly approach he makes his way unseen
    And slays th’Imperi’l pilots from behind.

    [Enter Han Solo with Chewbacca, firing on
    Darth Vader and Imperial Pilots. Explosion.
    Imperial Pilots 1 and 2 die.

    VADER But how?—

    [Darth Vader exits in confusion, his ship spinning
    out of control.

    HAN —Thy path is clear, young Luke. Now do
    Thy deed and let us all make way back home.

    LUKE I stretch my feelings out and use the Force,
    And on the instant seems the porthole vast—
    Not small or difficult to strike, but large.
    The ship is arm’d, and now I take the chance—
    The blast’s away, and with it all our hopes!

    [Luke shoots and hits the target.

    CHORUS The laser hits its mark with certain aim,
    And as the Death Star arms to strike the base
    The chain reaction sets the orb aflame:
    The Death Star hath exploded into space.

    HAN Thy timely blast hath hit the perfect mark—
    One in a million was thy Force-fill’d shot!

    GHOST Remember me, O Luke, remember me,
    And ever shall the Force remain with thee.

    [Exeunt.

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