Why Is Shakespeare Called the Bard

William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616), a great English poet and playwright, was considered as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s renowned dramatist. He is oft-times quoted as England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”.

Shakespeare’s legacy, including collaborative works, comprise of 38 plays, two long narrative poems, 154 sonnets, and many other poems. His plays have been interpretted nearly in every major language of the world and performed frequently.

The standard Shakespeare adhered to for the poetic form was blank verse, crafted in iambic pentameter. In effect, this meant that his diction mostly did not rhyme and constituted ten syllables a line, recited with a stress on every second syllable. The blank verse used in his early plays is quite different from the one witnessed in later plays. Though it keeps the reader posted throughout, but mostly its sentences happen to start, pause, and finish at the end of lines, thereby causing monotony at times.

Shakespeare Why Is Shakespeare Called the Bard

Having mastered conventional blank verse Shakespeare was able to tempar with its cadence. This variation induced the new vigor and adaptability to the poetry used in his plays such as Julius Caesar and Hamlet. For example, Shakespeare employes it to transmit the turbulence in Hamlet’s mind:

Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting

That would not let me sleep. Methought I lay

Worse than the mutines in the bilboes. Rashly—

And prais’d be rashness for it—let us know

Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well…

— Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 2, 4–8 —

Shakespeare’s poetic ingenious went hand in hand with the practical working of the theatre. Like other contemporaries, Shakespeare inspired themes of his stories from classical sources such as Petrarch, Dante etc. He incorporated healthy adaptations of the plot to the ancient themes and by the use of sub-plot techniques explored as many sides of a life situation as possible.

The strength of a Shakespearean plot can be assessed from the fact that despite of remote foreign language interpretation, editing and tailoring, the story could survive without any significant loss to its core drama; this is so because he crafted the chronology of events such that every sub plot was contributive toward the main plot, thereby achieving Aristotelian idealization of a plot as an integrated whole. By the time Shakespeare acquired dexterity, he imparted his characters clarity, inspired by a variety of motifs and distinction of speech patterns.

Even during his own life time, Shakespeare was greatly respected both as a poet and dramatist. But at that time his reputation could not assail that zenith as it did after 18th century.

Particularly during the Romantic Age Shakespeare’s genius was greatly acknowledged , while Victorians adorned him so much so that George Bernard Shaw went to the extent of verbalizing his admiration among Victorians as BARDOLATORY. The coinage of such worthy terms clearly reflects how reverent have been ages towards his works throughout!

Further Readings:

History of Names

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