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Natalie's Job Drawer Blog

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natalie-kijurna  Hello! Welcome to my weekly musings about career, motivation, passion, life! by Natalie Kijurna

 

This week, I wanted to talk a little bit about someone I think we all know - Mr. William Shakespeare.... His birthday was yesterday, in the year 1564.  At least that's the day historian's have picked since no one truly knows.  Some believe since he died on April 23, 1616, using that same day as his birthday gives a little bit of symmetry to his life. Either way, birth or death, Shakespeare is someone to celebrate.

As far as his personal life, Shakespeare liked the older ladies and so married Anne Hathaway when he was 18 and she was 26.  They had three children, a daughter and a set of twins (a boy and a girl).  The boy died when he was 11.  Shakespeare, himself, was one of eight born to John Shakespeare and Mary Arden.

shakespeare Ccr

Shakespeare was an Elizabethan era playwright and poet regarded as the most influential writer in English literature. It's thought that his career in theater began around 1592 in London.  Check out the picture below for some astounding statistics.  Fun fact, some of his original phrases include "dead as a doornail," "a sorry sight," "foul play," "hot-blooded," and "in a pickle."  He authored 38 plays and 154 sonnets.  Some of the plays you might have heard about are Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, and Othello, which are considered tragedies and some of the finest writing in the English language.  If you don't know what a tragedy is or why these plays are tragedies, please check out any Romeo and Juliet movie.  Other famous plays include A Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Taming of the Shrew, which are comedies. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Over the last couple of centuries, his plays remain highly popular and are constantly studied, performed, and reinterpreted throughout the world.  You'd probably be amazed at how many movies are based on Shakespeare's plays.  Here are some stats:

  • There are 525 films which give Shakespeare some sort of writing credit
  • Of those, 294 are full adaptations of Shakespeare plays
  • Hamlet is the most often adapted Shakespeare play
  • Over half of all Shakespeare feature film adaptations are based on Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, or Othello.

Some of the adaptations include:

West Side Story (1961) (Romeo & Juliet)
Strange Brew (1983) (Hamlet)

My Own Private Idaho (1991) (Henry IV & Henry V)

The Lion King (1994) (Hamlet)

10 Things I Hate About You (1999) (The Taming of the Shrew) aside: ADORE this movie...who doesn't love Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles????

Romeo Must Die (2000) (Romeo & Juliet)

Pretty incredible, right??  I mean, this guy was a genius.  If he were alive today, he'd probably be the most sought after and best paid screenplay writer/playwright ever.  And, those are statistics just dealing with his plays.  Don't forget the 154 sonnets.  Oh, and two long poems.  Plus, he was an actor and theater owner. It's really quite unbelievable then to find out Shakespeare had his critics.  In fact, one critic wrote about Shakespeare:

"...there is an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tiger's heart wrapped in a Player's hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you: and being an absolute Johannes factotum, is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country."

You might be asking...what the heck does all that mean?  Well, after I did some further reading, this is what I found out.  The critic is accusing Shakespeare of reaching above his rank in trying to match university-educated writers. Very very shameful, apparently.  The italicized phrase parodies the line "Oh, tiger's heart wrapped in a woman's hide" from Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 3 (a historical play).  So, kinda poking fun at that one.  And Johannes factotum means "Jack of all trades"— which, in this context, is definitely NOT meant as a compliment.  Here it means a second-rate "tinkerer" with the work of others. Overall, not a  great review.  At all.  Don't get me wrong, Shakespeare was highly acclaimed in is era, but he did face criticism and even, much later, accusation of stealing others work and making it his own. 

While we all have our moments, I truly believe every person has wonderful unique qualities that makes them special.  Furthermore, we strive to be loving parents, dutiful children, exceptional employees, consummate professionals, loyal friends, and supportive significant others.  Yet, there are times when we are criticized because maybe we made a mistake, or missed an appointment, or forgot to run an errand, or just can't get to everyone's needs because there's not enough time in the day.  And those times, unfortunately, are the times that stick with us.  The times when someone points out our faults and not our gifts.  When those times happen, I want you to stop and reflect, just like Shakespeare's Hamlet did...

"To be or not to be, that is the question."

In this case, Hamlet was pondering a much more ominous choice, that between life or death, but I want you to use those words as a powerful tool to motivate yourself to keep going, to keep striving to do your best, even in the face of criticism. Hamlet struggled, but I think the answer to this question is clear:

To be.

That's the answer. Every time.  Sure, there will always be people who are critical of you, either professionally or personally, but if you are strong in your convictions, are doing the best that you can, and living your life the way you choose, then the answer is:

To be.

Be awesome, be free, be joyful, be happy, be hard-working, be professional, be loving, be loyal, be friendly, be polite, be strict, be focused, be who you are.  If you do that, then criticism cannot hurt you because you will shine regardless, just like our man, William Shakespeare.

 

 

 

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