Went to see Mark Rylance’s Richard II at the Globe last saturday. It was a wonderful ‘authentic’ Elizabethan production and Rylance was mesmeric. This excellent production focused my attention, once again, on how remarkable Shakespeare is.
Some poets have come close in terms of linguistic dexterity and there are plenty who are more ‘intelligent’, many who’s plots are more creative and inventive.. but ultimately WS is beyond compare.
Almost any one of his plays would assure his immortality and he wrote 37 of them, never repeating himself, never falling back on clichee or vernacular, never escaping up into the lofty erudition of those with a little more latin and greek who lean so heavily on the bible and ‘the greats’. Shakespeare did it all himself. To read Milton, on hand you’ll need a bible, an encyclopedia and dictionaries in english, latin & greek. To read Shakespeare you may occasoinally need a dictionary but hear it properly performed and you won’t even need that.