If you want to write like Shakespeare the first thing you can do is read Shakespeare. Once you have read it all, you will realize that, while you can never write like him, you are now infinitely better read. And you will have learned something about writing, as well as about your own aspirations to that craft. You’ll know which plays you love. You’ll have a favorite tragedy. You’ll have a stance on Hamlet.
Shakespeare Is A Little Like God
“If Shakespeare is not God, I don’t know who God is,” Harold Bloom says in Vanity Fair. Shakespeare created enough of our language to merit this assessment. He divined worlds so diverse that a correlation with God—or, a god—isn’t odd. It’s obvious. Other authors have created great characters, but how many have as successfully dived inside the mind of a teenage girl and found a whole philosophy? Here is Juliet:
Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-browed night,
Give me my Romeo. And when I shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
Oh, I have bought the mansion of a love,
But not possessed it, and though I am sold,
Not yet enjoyed. So tedious is this day
As is the night before some festival
To an impatient child that hath new robes
And may not wear them.
This is Twilight, for poets. It’s not designed to fly over your head; it’s designed as to shoot straight to your heart.
Shakespeare Is A Little Like You
The language feels foreign at first. But the ideas are not: in the scope of a moment, Shakespeare’s Juliet goes through love to sex to death to immortality. That’s a lot of big ideas, but young girls dream big, and Shakespeare knows that. He never tries to make Juliet less, or more, than what she is—a teenager—while still endowing her with one thing common to all of his creations: a gift with words. Metaphors, similes, slant rhymes and demands: Shakespeare throws these things off as easily as shopping lists. This is one aspect of what makes him god-like, yet like us: his talent is at once invisible and dizzying; the more we learn about him the more we long to learn. His variety is truly infinite.
Shakespeare To Go
A brilliant mash-up of Baz Lurhman’s Juliet, and Radiohead.