Traditionally, Shakespeare’s birthday is celebrated on St George’s day, 23 April. We know he was baptised on 26 April, and given that many baptisms took place three days after birth, we may well be right. Besides, Shakespeare died on 23 April so celebrating his birth and death on the same day tidies things up!
We of the Perth Shakespeare Club had a very pleasant little birthday party last Saturday, when we shared research into what life was like in Shakespeare’s time. I hope to turn at least some of the contributions into blog posts over the next couple of months.
Bloggers from all over the world are celebrating this week with special blog posts for the Bard’s birthday, so we joined in by asking members of the Perth Shakespeare Club to contribute a sentence or two on why they love Shakespeare.
Frances, our president, sets the ball rolling.
Frances: I joined the Shakespeare Club to ensure that each year, at the very least, I read two or three plays right through. Then came the pleasures of the language, the characters, the plots, the themes, followed soon by the realisation that any given scene, or single speech, could lead to considerations of myth, folk lore, philosophy, social history, exploration, and how the plays could all come alive in performance -- an endless chain of fascinating ideas. But it always comes back to language -- that is the real joy: the glorious use of the English language.
And here’s what a few other members have to say!
Elaine: I love Shakespeare because his words are for all times and for all seasons.
June: Shakespeare's birthday is a time to remember him for the legacy he left to the world. Full of fun and intrigue, love and hate, his plays and sonnets still touch the imagination and bring history to life. Happy Birthday William!
Rachel: I love Shakespeare because he connects me to a continuing culture, and also because he doesn't tell us what to think – he tells us what to think about!
Rae: I enjoy Shakespeare because his works are relevant to the present day world.
Richard: My first exposure to Shakespeare was via Julius Caesar in school at age fourteen, and nearly sixty years later, my enthusiasm hasn't waned.
Roy: I like Shakespeare for his characterisations. ‘Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them’. Who else could write those words!
Satima: I love Shakespeare because of his deep understanding of human nature and his ability to depict it with all its highs and lows. He enriched our language, our culture and our souls.
Turab: I love Shakespeare because if his ability to express in words the whole range of human emotions.
Thanks to the contributors!
To read more celebratory blogs, go to www.HappyBirthdayShakespeare.com where the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has a list of links to blogs by Shakespeare fans world-wide.
By the way, did you know you can download a copy of Shakespeare’s will (wherein he makes the famous bequest of his ‘second-best bed’ to his wife) at http://nationalarchives.gov.uk/dol/images/examples/pdfs/shakespeare.pdf