The Historian: Sometimes the classics never die

By Akash Ramchandani

Believe me, I am very well aware of the fact that most teenagers in the current generation don’t like Shakespeare primarily because they don’t understand his language. Therefore, it must be hard for them to believe that Shakespeare was a genius. But the truth is, despite his language, he was indeed just that.

The main reason why his plays are so successful is because the main characters in them have common emotions that we can all somehow relate to. For example, in his tragic play Othello, Iago is insanely jealous of Othello because he won an award for being an amazing lieutenant. Othello then selects Cassio as his primary advocate instead of Iago. Iago simply can’t help his feelings and decides to ruin Othello’s life. Jealousy is a very common emotion and we’ve all felt this way about another person at least once in our lives.

A typical modern example would be that a high school student named Rob is struggling on the SATs and is attending tutor sessions twice a week. Meanwhile, his friend Mike already took the SATs once and did a phenomenal job without attending any tutor lessons because he is naturally talented. In this situation, Mike does not have to hear lectures from his parents about doing well in school, deal with tutors, or feel the pressure to get into a good college. As a result of his feelings, Rob would like Iago a lot because he can relate to him. The way Rob felt about Mike is exactly the same way Iago felt about Othello.

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet, we can relate to the main characters emotionally. Hamlet is very reluctant as to whether he should bring his uncle to justice since the uncle killed Hamlet’s father. We’ve all had to face dilemmas at least once in our lives and were reluctant to make a decision. In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is purely infatuated with Juliet. We can all relate to that as well because we’ve all either wanted to be in love, have already been in love or are currently in love. Whatever the case may be, we can relate to the emotion of Romeo.

Shakespeare’s plays are popular also because of the unique talents that the main characters have. At the beginning of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo meets Juliet and they talk about pilgrims and saints, which are random topics. Five minutes later, Juliet falls for Romeo and they decide to get married. This talent Romeo has is very unique. Yes, I’m sure there are some guys out there who can make girls fall for them, but never that instantly. Therefore, we would fantasize about this particular talent while watching the play.

Since the emotions of the main characters are so common, Shakespeare’s plays are timeless. To this day, we can still relate to them and future generations will relate to them as well. Therefore, Shakespeare was, is, and will always be a genius.

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