It is rare for an author to influence generations several hundreds of years after he dies. It is even more rare to be on the syllabus of education systems hundreds of years later and practically unheard of to still have your plays performed on a regular basis in major cities around the world hundreds of years later – but this is Shakespeare, and his writings remain timeless and an inspiration for generations past, present and future.
To celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday this year, we have decided to do something a little different and look back on his influence on Hollywood movies and pop songs these past few years!
There are certain phrases used all over the world that The Bard used first, and one of those phrases made the title of pop princess Selena Gomez’ song – Kill ‘em With Kindness, although originally Shakespeare was referring to killing your wife with kindness from The Taming of the Shrew! Taylor Swift also paid tribute to tragic lovers Romeo and Juliet in her song ‘Love Story’.
Staying in the world of music, both Elton John in his song ‘The King Must Die’, and Metallica in their song ‘King Nothing’, paid tribute to King Lear and Macbeth.
Kids can get to know Shakespeare’s most famous star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet in the animation Gnomeo and Juliet with a full soundtrack from Elton John no less, and of course Hollywood icon Leonardo di Caprio kept the legend alive in the 2013 Hollywood movie, Romeo and Juliet.
Head to Broadway and the smash hit play West Side Story, inspired by Romeo and Juliet is still wowing audiences. And in the book world, novels The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, was inspired by Macbeth, Herman Melville’s classic Moby Dick was inspired by both Macbeth and King Lear.
And across the pond in New York every summer and all summer, crowds old and young can enjoy performances of the various plays with Shakespeare in the Park.
‘Men of few words are the best men.’ – Henry V, Shakespeare
Thankfully Shakespeare, you were never a man of few words!