Want to look smart? Casually mention Shakespeare. The weight of that name will lend gravity to your comments.

Few names are more recognizable than William Shakespeare. Just mentioning the bard gives weight to whatever conversation you are having. If you can express how much you enjoy the famous playwright or mention a quote from him, you immediately make yourself seem more cultured and well educated. 

The truth is, most of us don’t know much about Shakespeare except for the play or two we had to read in High School and even that we barely understood because of the older version of English it was written in.

There are different areas around the country that produce his plays, but there is no finer festival than the one in Cedar City. The Utah Shakespeare Festival is world class.

How did Shakespeare gain this legendary status? How is it that this somewhat obscure playwright from the 1500s came to be one of the most quoted and revered writers for the last century and a half?

There were other playwrights who were much more popular when William Shakespeare was writing plays. A real sign of success was if your play went multiple nights. Shakespeare’s never did. His plays were appreciated but were not sought after as others of his time. 

One factor that helped Shakespeare become so familiar with the public was that his plays were not copyrighted. You could produce his plays without having to pay a royalty. Many were produced for this reason over the years and his stories became more and more familiar to audiences. But this doesn’t account for all his later success. 

A big reason Shakespeare’s plays are being produced even today is the universal themes he wrote about such as love and hate, power and death. The Utah Shakespeare Festival is doing Romeo and Juliet this year. This tragic story of young love has been reproduced in countless other stories because of the universal nature of the themes.  

One of my favorite Shakespeare plays, “Much Ado About Nothing”, features hilarious mix ups with the main character, a man who has supposedly sworn off love. The plot would make any sitcom writer salivate and probably has been copied many times in television formats.  

If you really want to understand Shakespeare, look at the themes behind his stories. Understanding his genius in describing and making stories around the human condition. It will give you insight into yourself and others. Plus, people will think you’re smart. 


What is your interpretation of these St George Sculptures?

Here are some of the 30 sculptures you can see in downtown St George.

More From Star 98