Celebrate Shakespeare’s 451st Birthday Because You Owe Your Language To The Man!

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Shakespeare, a name with the halo of enigma around it! After all how many people share their birthday with their death day? Though the documents say that Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616, historians believe that he was born in 1564 on (hold your breath) April 23, because he was baptized on April 26. According to the historians, during the 1500s, a child’s baptism took place three days after his birth. Feels totally “unreal”, right?

So, Shakespeare! While some get extremely “critical” regarding Shakespeare’s attitude towards Imperialism et al, some, simply, marvel at just how “majestic” his tales about the various kingdoms are. While some skip a heartbeat on catching a glimpse of his name, some, simply, roll their eyes wondering what the hype around the playwright is all about. Worse still, those who have least interest in Literature, and couldn’t care less about Shakespeare or Dickens, find themselves engaging in the endless “rant”, arguing, what good reading his plays would do to their careers!

Well, all those who read Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays just so that you pass another meaningless examination, and swear that you would never ever look back at the archaic playwright in your life, there is absolutely no chance of you escaping the Bard. As it turns out, Shakespeare has come to haunt the day-to-day lives of all those who speak English. While most of us already know what a clever wordsmith he was, what most of us don’t really know is that, we owe most of the words and phrases of our vocabulary to him.

Indeed, it is “laughable” as to how we go about our lives, wearing “fashionable” clothes to add a streak of “radiance” to all those “gloomy” days, without really thinking about the nitty-gritty details. Considering the fact that he wrote during the eon when the English language was in a major state of unrest, the English speakers borrowed more and more from the colonized regions. Apart from all the italicized words that I have mentioned in this piece, there are more than 1, 700 words that have been credited to Shakespeare. Of course, there is no evidence that he coined the words, but as per the Online Etymology Dictionary and the Meriam-Webster dictionary, these words and phrases were, to say the least, were used by him for the first ever time.

“Hurry”: Henry VI, Part 1.

“Lonely”: Coriolanus.

“Generous”: Hamlet.

“Courtship”­: The Merchant of Venice.

“Frugal”: Much Ado About Nothing.

“Zany”: Love’s Labour’s Lost.

“Critical”: Othello.

“Rant”: Hamlet.

“Undress”: The Taming of the Shrew.

“Majestic”: The Tempest.

“Gloomy”: Titus Andronicus.

“Laughable”: The Merchant of Venice.

“Eyeball”: A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“Obscene”: Love’s Labour’s Lost.

“Assassination”: Macbeth.

“Fashionable”: Troilus And Cressida.

And then, the evergreen phrases-

“For goodness sake”: Henry VIII

“A wild goose chase”: Romeo and Juliet

“A heart of gold”: Henry V

“In stitches”: Twelfth Night

“Own flesh and blood”: Hamlet

“There’s method in my madness”: Hamlet

“Wear your heart on your sleeve”: Othello

“All of a sudden”: The Taming of the Shrew

And yada, yada, yada! Shakespeare was a genius. I’m glad that you agree, now!

Sangeeta Purkayastha

Image Source: The Viewspaper