How Did William Shakespeare Influence The English Language

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William Shakespeare was one of the greatest writers who ever lived. His plays and poetry have affected people for generations and have impacted history: "The gifted playwright [Shakespeare] who moves audiences to laughter and tears has also moved history" (Marche ix). His works radically changed the English language through the creation of thousands of new words and phrases. His plays addressed topics that were relevant both then and throughout history, giving them long-term popularity. This unique combination makes him one of the best known and most influential playwrights. William Shakespeare influenced history in two huge ways: he contributed enormously to the English language, and he wrote plays that have been the tools for change …show more content…
He borrowed words from other languages and changed them to make them sound "English". For example, he took the Italian word bandito and made it into the English word "bandit". He also made verbs into nouns and nouns into verbs, creating words such as "to dawn" and "to elbow". Not only that, but Shakespeare combined English words into other words, and at times, he even created new words entirely from scratch. The world of Shakespeare was the perfect setting for the creation of new words: "When Shakespeare began writing plays and poems, the English language was absorbing new words more rapidly than ever before or since." (Dunton-Downer & Riding 40). This allowed Shakespeare to create, combine, and mix up words into brand new words, and have them be absorbed into the English language. In a world of ever-changing English, Shakespeare changed it more than anyone else. Equally influential to the language were the numerous phrases that Shakespeare created, which have now become a regular part of English. His plays and poetry are the first recorded use of phrases such as: an eyesore, bated breath, budge an inch, come full circle, dead as a doornail, elbow room, every inch a king, for goodness sake, good riddance, hold a candle to, have not slept a wink, into thin air, Greek to me, laughing-stock, my …show more content…
During his lifetime, Shakespeare brought the passions and politics of distant lands to the stage of the Globe... [And] Soon Shakespeare was revered across the world. His plays were translated into more than 180 languages; they were rewritten, modernized, even parodied; they inspired operas, ballets, painting, and movies. No dramatist in history has wielded such influence" (Dunton-Downer & Riding 467). Shakespeare 's plays have been made into Star Trek episodes. They have inspired Broadway hits, such as Kiss Me Kate from Shakespeare 's The Taming of the Shrew or West Side Story from his Romeo and Juliet. They have been made into countless film adaptations, which feature Shakespeare 's stories deposited into settings ranging from American drug gangs to Great Britain in 1930s (Dunton-Downer & Riding 472–473). All of this was possible because Shakespeare wrote plays that are both widely applicable, and reflective of human nature. Not only can people adapt his work and apply it to a variety of situations, but they also want

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