We have just passed the 400th anniversary of celebrated playwright William Shakespeare’s death. In order to mark this momentous occasion, a few of the world’s most famous writers penned ‘deleted’ scenes for some of the bard’s most iconic works.
400th anniversary celebrations
British playwright William Shakespeare was one of the most influential literary figures in history. He penned some of the most famous plays the world has even seen including Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear and of course, Romeo and Juliet. According to Daily Infographic, the man introduced nearly 3,000 words into the English language – he literally changed the way we speak!
Shakespeare died on 23rd April 1616, making 23rd April 2016 the 400th anniversary of his death. This momentous occasion was marked with a number of events celebrating the life and works of the bard across the world. The BBC writes that one event saw Dame Judi Dench and David Tennant, who have both starred in Shakespeare productions, led a gala involving performances, dance and music in the bard’s home town of Stratford-upon-Avon to mark the 400th anniversary of his passing.
Penning ‘deleted’ scenes
Book review service Good Reads launched a very unique campaign to commemorate Shakespeare’s death. Good Reads tasked some of the most noteworthy writers on earth to concoct imaginary ‘deleted’ scenes for some of Shakespeare’s most renowned works’ These writers included Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale), Jasper Fforde (the Thursday Next series), and Malorie Blackman, who is the former UK Children’s Laureate.
These talented creatives rushed to put modern spins on Shakespeare works, resulting in the addition of zombies and Scooby Doo, in separate stories, to Hamlet and a new ending for Othello. Apparently, one of Fforde’s scenes, which “featured Hamlet with the now notorious ‘Scooby Doo’ ending, where King Hamlet turns out to be Fortinbras simply pretending to be a ghost in order to divert attention away from his pending invasion” was inspired by the recent discovery of a First Folio in Scotland.
A recent Guardian article reveals that reimaging Shakespeare plays is hardly a new phenomenon. American fiction writer Ian Doescher has made a career out of it, as he is best known as the man behind the William Shakespeare’s Star Wars Trilogy series. Including novels Verily, A New Hope, The Empireth Strike Back and The Jedi Doth Return, these are parodic retellings of the Star Wars movies in blank verse, through the 16th Century style made famous by William Shakespeare.
In other words, this campaign from Good Reads reminds us that William Shakespeare’s work transcends all boundaries. Throughout the past 400 years, writers have taken inspiration from the bard and used his plays to create innovative new works. Shakespeare’s characters, plots and themes are just so relatable, that they are as relevant today as they were in 1616.
Thank you for reading… Hayim Oshky.