William Shakespeare is considered the greatest writer of all time because of his incredible work, universal ideas, and everlasting influence.
"There were very few sets (scenery, furniture, and so on). The stage was 'set' by the language" (Anderson 779).
During his time, Shakespeare did not have many props to use for his set. Despite this, he still somehow produced such elaborate and incredible plays. Through the perfect blend of words and language, he took the audience from one scene to another without the aid of a visual aspect.
"The strength of Shakespeare's plays lies in the absorbing stories they tell, in their wealth of complex characters, and in the eloquent speech—vivid, forceful, and at the same time lyric—that the playwright puts on his characters' lips" ("William" 12).
What made Shakespeare's work so incredible was neither the theatrics nor the staging, but the profound use of language and words. In addition, the characters in Shakespeare's plays had depth and intricacy that attracted readers and critics to his work.
"By 1612, when he returned to Stratford to live the life of a prosperous retired gentleman, Shakespeare had written thirty-seven plays, including such masterpieces as Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Orthello, King Lear, and Macbeth" (Anderson 777).
Many critics may go by the saying, "quality over quantity." However, this does not pertain to Shakespeare, for his work was not only remarkable as separate entities but also quite numerous.
"Emerson was more interested in a Transcendentalist perspective on Shakespeare the man as poet and writer and praised him for his ability to understand and translate the issues of his own time into universal themes that reached beyond time and country" (Wayne 2).
Shakespeare was highly commended by Waldo Ralph Emerson, a Transcendentalist leader of prestige and power. He was remarkably noted for his universal and all-inclusive ideas, that according to Emerson, applied to their own generation and the future generations to come.
"It has often been noted that Shakespeare's characters are neither wholly good nor wholly evil, and that it is their flawed, inconsistent nature that makes them memorable" ("William" 12).
The portrayal of Shakespeare's characters as human-like makes his ideas and concepts inclusive to all people. Across the board, people from generation to generation have been able to relate to the characters, further causing Shakespeare to be more widely acknowledged.
"The Transcendentalists were particularly interested in Shakespeare as a writer whose genius revealed universal messages" (Wayne 1).
The Transcendentalists believed in self-reliance and independence rather than any affiliation with religion or politics. Because of this, Shakespeare's messages of love, tragedy, heroism, and so much more appealed to the masses of their time.
"Shakespeare's plays are still produced all over the world" (Anderson 777).
Although Shakespeare lived long ago, his legacy is continued through plays. Even though times are rapidly changing with the ever-so profound presence of technology in everyday lives, his work still seems to shine and be made known globally.
"Many words and phrases that first appeared in his plays and poems have become part of our everyday speech . . . many people who have never read a line of his work or seen one of his plays performed can identify lines and passages as his" (Lander 6, 7).
His own work has influenced the everyday language used today through the introduction of new words and phrases such as "lonely" or "fair play." Adding on, his work is widely known even to those who are completely unfamiliar to Shakespeare.
"His plays and poems have long been a required part of a liberal education. Generations of people have absorbed his ideas concerning heroism, romantic love, loyalty, and the nature of tragedy as well as his portraits of particular historical characters" (Lander 9).
Shakespeare's work has influenced the curriculum of English literature to this day in schools internationally. Although written in a different era, his opinions and concepts of certain themes and characters are still widely approved and continuously accepted.
Anderson, Robert. “Shakespeare and His Theater: A Perfect Match.” Holt Literature & Language Arts: Mastering the California Standards: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, by G. Kylene Beers et al., Austin, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 2003, pp. 778-80.
---. “William Shakespeare’s Life: A Genius from Stratford.” Holt Literature & Language Arts: Mastering the California Standards: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, by G. Kylene Beers et al., Austin, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 2003, pp. 776-77.
Lander, Jesse M. “Shakespeare, William.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.
Wayne, Tiffany K. “Shakespeare, William.” Encyclopedia of Transcendentalism. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2006. Bloom’s Literature, Facts On File, Inc.
“William Shakespeare.” Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2016): 1-4. History Reference Center. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.