Monday, April 23, 2007 at 11:01 AM
Although I’m a big Shakespeare fan today, I must admit that reading Hamlet or A Midsummer Night’s Dream used to terrify me. Iambic pentameter was arduous, and sonnets were intimidating. It was only when I began learning how Shakespeare shaped modern English and impacted Elizabethan drama that I began to realize just how magical reading and watching his plays could be.
Today is Shakespeare’s birthday (and the anniversary of his death -- uncanny as that may be), and over four hundred years later, we still use hundreds of words that he created. Although he didn’t necessarily invent new words from scratch, he modified and introduced words into English. The list includes such common words as zany, bedroom, cold-blooded, frugal, priceless, weird, and shooting star.
Much of Shakespeare’s life remains a mystery, but you can read up on how he grew up in the dreamy English town, Stratford-Upon-Avon, before marrying Anne Hathaway at age 18. And if you didn't catch it when we first posted a while back, at www.google.com/shakespeare, we’ve even collected all of Shakespeare’s plays for easier access.
So until the Bard's birthday next year,
Good night, good night: parting is such sweet sorrow
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.