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Shakespearean Influence on English Language and Literature

Shakespearean Influence on English Language and Literature

Shakespearean Influence on English Language and Literature

Answer: Shakespeare's influence has long been known and renowned in a wide range of art, literature, language and creative arts. He is the most read playwright in the Western Hemisphere, and the English language is full of quotations and phrases derived from his compositions. He is the inventor of the iambic pentameter, a form of poetry that is still widely used today.

William Shakespeare, plausibly the best of all English contributors, is to be referenced especially as a scholarly symbol in English. He stays unmatched and unparalleled in the domain of philology. No other independent writer like Shakespeare has had such an impact on the English language – (i) Vocabulary building, (ii) Syntax, (iii) morphological processing, (iv) the effective employment of words and phrases, (v) Shylock's language (vi) individualization of character, (vii) distinctive linguistic standards, etc. 

There is unimaginable strength of jargon utilized by Shakespeare in conversations of his remarkable plays. As per Otto Jespersen (The Growth and Structure of English Language), "Shakespeare's commitment in English philology is the most extravagant at any point utilized by any single man." His novel utilization of words ornamented English jargon

1.         Dwindle (Macbeth)

2.         Weird (Macbeth)

3.         Auspicious

4.         Excellent

5.         Barefaced

6.         Courtship

7.         Loggerhead

8.         Fretful

9.         Assassination (Macbeth)

10.       Castigate

11.       Dexterously

12.       Multitudinous

13.       Watchdog

14.       Sanctimonious

15.       Lackluster

16.       Leapfrog

17.       Housekeeping

18.       Fashionable (Troilus and Cressida)

19.       Obscene (Love’s Labour’s Lost)

20.       Swagger (Henry V)

21.       Puking (As You Like It)

22.       Addiction (Othello)

23.       Zany (Love’s Labour’s Lost)

A.C. Bradley claims that “The greatness of W. Shakespeare lies not in inventive manner of thinking but rather in creative portrayal of perspective with the assistance of more noteworthy number of new words and articulations ." There are a few articulations or expressions which we use every day of the week without recollecting or knowing even that they have come from the undying pen of Shakespeare- 



3.         “Life’s fitful fever.” (Macbeth)

4.         “Hurly-burly” (Macbeth)

5.         “Full of sound fury” (Macbeth)

6.         “It’s Greek to me” (Julius Caesar)


9.         “Be all and end all” (Macbeth)

10.       “Green-eyed monster” (Othello)

11.       “Off with his head” (Richard II)

12.       “Fair Play” (The Tempest)

13.       “Lie Low” (Much Ado about Nothing)


17.       “Naked truth” – Love’s Labour’s Lost


19.       “Salad days” – Antony and Cleopatra


23.       “A sea change” (The Tempest)

24.       “Mind’s Eye”-(Hamlet)

26.       “Lilly Liver’d” – (Macbeth)

A telling trait of Shakespearean utilization of language is uniquely set apart by individualization of character with their own arrangements of language: Shylock in the play The Merchant of Venice; Malvolio in the play Twelfth Night; Porter in the play Macbeth and so forth.

Shylock's (The abhorrent figure in The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare) commitment to English language is colossal. The remarkable characters of Jew and Shylock are the striking productions of Shakespeare. His major contribution is his linguistic output. The main thing about him is his consistent utilization of the expressions from the Old Testament. Shylock utilizes terms like "Jacob's Staff", "Parti-hued sheep", "Heavenly Sabbath", "Hogger's posterity, etc.

Shakespeare’s contribution on English morphology is just wonderful. He grows new compound words by adding prefix "un": 'unavoided', (inescapable), 'unvalued' (valuable), 'ungot' (unborn), 'unkiss', 'unfathered' and so forth.  

Various new words were shaped by adding French prefix ‘en’ or ‘em’: ‘enact’, ‘enkindle’, ‘endeared’, ‘embattle’, ‘emprison’ and so on. Shakespeare additionally broadened the significance of few existing words like ‘Charm’ which previously meant ‘well-known’ but Shakespeare makes it sense like ‘magical power’;

However, as one of the milestones of English language, Shakespeare is regarded as the greatest dramatist and poet of England. He is the inspiration of a writer, the joy of the reader and the golden element for an acting artist. Several words, phrases and quotations in the coin are his contributions today. He built his life by contributing to English literature which turned him into a brand in itself.

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