My son and I have different opinions on the relevancy of Shakespeare in our modern world. Greg thinks Shakespeare’s works have become irrelevant and would prefer to study more modern writers who have written about issues that have shaped our modern world.
He would rather study 1984 by George Orwell which is about totalitarianism, discrimination, tracking and other issues that, in his opinion, are still a concern today. He sees Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury as being relevant because he does not see people burning books in Western society.
I disagree with Greg on both counts but I am limiting this post to my thoughts about the relevancy of Shakespeare, who just happens to be one of my favourite authors.
These are the reasons that I think it is still worthwhile for students to study literature:
We all quote Shakespeare all the time
Shakespeare invented over 1700 of our common words. He did this by changing nouns into verbs, changing verbs into adjectives, connecting words never before used together, adding prefixes and suffixes, and devising entirely original words.
Some of my favourite Shakespeare originated words are green-eyed, assassination, bloodstained, lustrous and obscene.