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Is Shakespeare's writing universal and timeless?

Ben Jonson described Shakespeare as being "for all time" - that is, his works resonate with all time periods and peoples. His body of work spans poetry and plays, many of which are the most praised, quoted and performed still today. Is the work of Shakespeare truly this universal and timeless?

Yes, Shakespeare is universal and timeless.

The depth and beauty of Shakespeare's writings helps them to resonate today and into the future.

He addressed complex societal issues that continue today.

The wide range of issues Shakespeare wrote on - such as racism and gender identity - mean that he will always be relevant, as these discussions continue today.

He explored, rather than argued about, themes.

Shakespeare's work explores themes and rarely offers answers. His ability to richly convey a variety of viewpoints in his characters makes him far more universal than didactic authors.

William Shakespeare's penmanship transcends temporal bounds

Shakespeare's particular form of style and language is unique to him. The standards of writing he created shaped the complexity and beauty of his works, and has made them timeless.

No, Shakespeare's writing is of his time and place.

Shakespeare's writing so reflects the time and place in which he wrote that it cannot be universal nor timeless.

His work is exclusive and bigoted.

Shakespeare's writings often indulge in racism and anti-semitism, making the audience which can read him without being demeaned far from universal.

Shakespeare's plays are formulaic, reflecting the trends of his time

A formulaic plot structure makes Shakespeare’s plays predictable. His larger than life characters who experience emotions in the extreme are not relatable in modern times.

The linguistic gap between the 16th century and now makes Shakespeare dated

Shakespeare’s legacy has probably surpassed even his wildest imaginations. He has been the constant star showing direction to literature enthusiasts. However, with time his light has been steadily diminishing on account of the increasing brightness of modernization of the 21st century in different avenues including and especially language.

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 8 Apr 2020 at 15:46 UTC