Shakespeare’s Fame

There’s no doubt that William Shakespeare is probably of the most famous writer of all time, but how did he become so popular? I mean, not everyone gets such a mass celebration 400 years after their passing, and there is definitely something special about this writer.  Visiting the “Shakespeare In Ten Acts” exhibit at the British Library can leave someone dumbfounded by the mass amounts of artifacts and original works by the great William Shakespeare. But, how has he been recreated and so idolized for centuries all around the world? The evidence lies in the translated copies of his texts.

The original copies of William Shakespeare’s works are great and all, but only people in Elizabethan England could truly understand them. It wasn’t until much later when these books were translated, that Shakespeare could truly become such a phenomenon.This section of the exhibit featured several first edition books of translated Shakespeare plays, all starting back in the 19th century. Macbeth was now offered in French, Hamlet could now be read in Japan, King Lear was written in Mongolian. There were also more of William Shakespeare’s books written in Czech, Arabic, Thai, Setswana, German, and several others. These original translated books opened up the gateway that led to Shakespeare’s rise to fame and recreation.

People were even learning William Shakespeare’s work by a younger age as well. Children’s books began to be produced about Shakespeare’s plays in the 19th century as well. An original one featured in the exhibit displayed pictures to help explain the story and much simpler wording. This contributes to how Shakespeare has been recreated because now from the ages five and older, anyone could read Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, or any other play.

By the end of the 19th century, almost everyone in the entire world knew who William Shakespeare was. These translated copies of his work and the Children’s versions expanded his audience beyond anything he could have ever dreamed of. We celebrate him and revive his work time and time again because not only are his writings brilliant, but everyone can read them and perform them in their native language. By translating the books, everyone could view and appreciate his brilliance. I think part of the reason that we can celebrate such a great writer 400 years after his passing is because it’s not just an English thing to celebrate, and people from all around the world can come and appreciate him. These books played a huge role in William Shakespeare’s worldwide fame.