Over half the world’s school children study Shakespeare today, yet there are still 250 million children who cannot read or write.
Even if you aren’t an avid reader, you will know his words. William Shakespeare’s immortal language and unforgettable characters permeate the fabric of cultures around the world, opening up a magical universe where the past lives on to guide the present.
A lot has changed in the 400 years since the bard’s death on April 23, 1616, but the subjects of his plays—love, loss, ambition, rage, madness, downfall and, always, laughter—are the indomitable human passions that few have probed to such depths. From his catalogue of human folly, vice, intrepidness and compassion, we learn to understand ourselves and the world around us.
According to a 2011 poll commissioned by the British Council and the Royal Shakespeare Company, over half the world’s school children study Shakespeare today, yet there are still 250 million children who cannot read or write.
The international development organization, Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO)—the official charity partner of the Shakespeare Lives campaign—is engaging in a global program of events and activities celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s work, with the aim of raising funds that will allow the organization to improve access to quality education for over 50,000 children from some of the world’s poorest countries.
To end with words from King Lear:
“Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
And show the heavens more just.”
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.