By Qasim Swati (United Kingdom)
Being widely regarded as the world’s greatest dramatist and the greatest writer in the English language, William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) was an English poet, actor and playwright, who has done a lot for developing English literature and made a huge contribution to the English language. He died when he was just 52, but he has earned a worldwide reputation due to the role he played in the World of Literature.
Shakespeare wrote around 154 sonnets, 39 plays, three long narrative poems and a few other verses. He has influenced, not only European and American literature, theatre and present-day movies, but he has left an enormous influence on the English language itself, as well. It is estimated that several thousand words, added to the English language, had been coined by Shakespeare, as clarified by Warren King in these words, “In all of his work – the plays, the sonnets and the narrative poems – Shakespeare uses 17,677 words: Of those, 1, 700 were first used by Shakespeare.”
Besides enriching the English language with new vocabulary and phrases, Shakespeare has also influenced the way the English language was written, as he used the blank verse in his career of writing, from start to end, experimenting and perfecting it. As such, whether this is the English poetry or prose, the drama or other aspect of the American and European literature, Western philosophy or the vocabulary and phrases, Shakespeare has played a leading role in the evolution and growth of the English language and left a great impact on European and American literature. That is why he is often called the “Bard of Avon” and England’s national poet.
Apart from being the third most translated author in history, Shakespeare remains the world’s best-selling playwright as well, according to Guinness World Records.
Despite his huge contributions to the development of literature and English language, Shakespeare has many critics, who are not happy with what he is famous for and have criticised him on various occasions, but it is not only him to be the victim of criticism, as all the great people have had their opponents, adversaries and critics at some point in their lives. Thus, anyone can be criticised by those who do not agree with or having some bias against them, due to jealousy or any other reason, which has been referred to by Aristotle, a Greek polymath and philosopher, as, “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”