It’s hard to believe that someone could still be making an impact 400 years after their death. Throughout London, I have seen glimpses of Shakespeare’s impact on England. Over the past few days in this amazing city, I have seen his plays recreated for young children at a local book market, banners of Shakespeare’s face on poles, and have seen countless tourists (myself included) snap a quick photo of the iconic Globe Theatre.
There is clearly a devotion to William Shakespeare here in London, and it is no surprise that he is also memorialized in Westminster Abbey, despite his being buried in his birthplace of Stratford-On-Avon. Many other famous writers are remembered in the Poet’s Corner of Westminster, such as C.S. Lewis, the Bronte Sisters, and Percy Shelley, but their shrines are nothing compared to Shakespeare’s.
Shakespeare’s shrine is a remarkable addition to Westminster Abbey. Although his memorial is surrounded by many impressive writers, Shakespeare’s is front and center and appears to be on a pedestal. Shakespeare’s figure leans against a stack of three texts, representing not only his wealth of knowledge but also his contributions to the literary world. He was the only member of Poet’s Corner to have a dedicated audio channel, and his remains were almost relocated to Westminster a century after his death. Also appearing on his statue are many faces, and his finger points to a scroll with text, symbolizing his importance and contributions to the written word.
It is undeniable that Shakespeare has had and will continue to have an everlasting on the literary world. Each year, his works are interpreted and imagined by those on stage, in classrooms, and in film reproductions across the world. His contributions leave me wondering if Shakespeare, himself, would ever believe that 400 years after his passing that his works would continue to be celebrated, appreciated, and memorialized in a location as iconic as Westminster Abbey. Despite the fact that there is no photography/video permitted within the Abbey, I know that his presence in London (and worldwide) will continue to be everlasting.