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Millennium Post

Bard, going strong

Andrew Dickson, writing for The Guardian, wonders if William Shakespeare, who turned 450 on 23 April, had been fatally stabbed in a bar brawl instead of Christopher Marlowe, would English literature, and indeed much of Western literary canon, still stay the same? Idle speculation, but worth a thought. Because even after four and a half centuries, the Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon defines dramaturgy for us all, still remains the highest point of literary and writerly acclaim, still represents the acme of artistic achievement. There have been theories doing the rounds for some years now, speculating if the Queen Elizabeth the First herself had penned those 39 plays in the garb of a bearded man, who preferred book-keeping and getting drunk as much as he liked acting on stage. But authorial debates aside, Will Shakes has undoubtedly kept the daises of the world alive and kicking with his mighty pen and stellar lines that, in the age of social media, grace the hallowed spaces of Twitter and Facebook. Shakespeare is still cool, even to our texting youngsters, who often rewrite

Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, Richard II, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing in SMS language and keep the eternal well-spring of the Shakespearean world flowing. Interpretations and adaptations of Shakespeare still remain the ultimate statements in global theatre scene, while cinema lustily desires to miscegenate with the Bard, be it Hollywood, Bollywood or art house miracles. To cut ice as an actor on stage, a breakthrough role is still Shakespearean, whether it is in England, America or India. Instead of reading this as an ultimate slavish attachment to the literary and cultural produce of the Anglophone world, we should perhaps accept the fecundity of Shakespeare’s literary universes, starry sparks from which have spawned genres and bred subcultures, critical, dramatic, authorial and even sartorial. Hail the Bard.      
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