My Hero already belongs to the Western world, he is in all your hearts whether you are aware of it or not. Great swathes of our language are thanks to him, and we quote him all the time , whether we know so or not. This is a man of all our times, his plays live as dynamically today as in his own time. When I read him for the first time, some of the words leapt away from the page and seized me by the throat. He had me in thrall. Juliet breathes,” My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep. the more I give to thee The more I have, for both are infinite.” I lived in these words, and when my children grew, I really understood them again, in a new way. I knew I had lots of love inside me, locked away, and I poured it into my children. When Romeo sees Juliet for the first time, from behind a curtain, he is already seeing someone, but exclaims ‘ Have I loved til now, forswear it sight,for I ne’er loved til this night.’ and ‘she hangs upon the night like a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear’. I wanted someone to see me, and see me in the same way as Romeo saw Juliet. Further into my schooling, we read Macbeth, where all ambition is laid out, and the dangers of it overstretching and polluting a noble spirit. Shakespeare shows us the joys of being alive, and the frailties of what it means to be human. He has a phrase in Hamlet that is as modern as any cognitive therapist will have in his toolbox ‘ there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.’ He is quick witted and says alot with a little, ‘ When I tell him he hates flatterers; He says he does, being then most flattered. ‘
He knows the heart of man, and his genius is in the way he fashions the language and mirrors that heart back to us, showing us characters and plots that illuminate the moral dilemmas and difficult challenges that face us all. He helped to shape my vision of the world, what better accolade for an artist, a poet, a man? Thanks Shakespeare, for everything you brought to your plays, your intellect, and your emotional intelligence. I would have loved to have known you better, in the flesh. Your spirit is timeless, beyond culture, beyond borders.