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What is Shakespeare's impact on the modern world?

Shakespeare's plays today are performed throughout the world. Many are made into popular movies, with some actors - Kenneth Branagh and (earlier) Sir Laurence Olivier and Claire Bloom performing in several. Loose adaptations of Shakespeare plays are as diverse as West Side Story, Ten Things I Hate About You, O, Kiss Me, Kate, My Own Private Idaho, and The Lion King. Shakespeare created many words and phrases which have become a standard part of our vocabulary - see "Coined by Shakespeare" by McQuain and Malless. In Elizabethan England, marriages were often arranged by parents for financial, social or political reasons, but Shakespeare's plays focus on love as the reason for marriage, and their popularity in England and later throughout the world may have had a substantial effect in changing popular views concerning marriage.

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Copyright 2002 Dana Spradley, Publisher, for shakespeare.com