Staging a discussion of William Shakespeare perhaps invites people to reminiscent the glamour of his literary works, which were masterfully created within a quarter of a century. Introspection of Shakespeare works, “individually, several of them are among world’s finest written works; taken collectively, they establish Shakespeare as foremost literally talent of his own Elizabeth age and more impressively as a genius whose creative achievement has never been surpassed in any age” (Dutton and Howard 7).
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Shakespeare consequently emerges as one of the widely popular English language authors who not only made an immense impact in the seventieth century, but the impacts of his works have remained intact even in the twentieth century.
To the millions of people who admire him, perhaps he is also the most gorgeous. As Dutton and Howard posit, “since his death in 1616, no other writer has surpassed his ability to capture the human soul in words, and no other writer has been more read, more written about, and more debated” (10).
Creativity in his works, Merchant of Venice and Hamlet, is portrayed by the manner he makes choice of characters, the way themes are tied up with stylistic language to reflect hidden meanings reflective of the society he lived in during his life. These two works of Shakespeare are introspected to reveal the aspects of literal creativity.
Various scholarly proponents of Shakespeare’s essays, poems, critics and dramas works have acclaimed his works as rich in both technical skills and creativity. Wilson laments, “One might succeed in discussing individual facets of Shakespeare’s unique genius, but it is utterly impossible to summarize his achievement.
There is something miraculous about Shakespeare’s peculiar gifts; and every sensitive reader will eventually discover the miracle for himself” (30). The rhyming of words to fit given context evidences, one aspect of creativity, in both Merchant of Venice and Hamlet.
Surprisingly William Shakespeare wrote his literally work in times when dictionaries were nonexistent. However, his vocabulary was essentially appalling.
In fact, according to scholarly research findings, an average person utilizes slightly higher than 1000 word in general communication, slightly lower than 1000 words while expressing himself or herself in writing and can only be able only about 5000 different words. However, Shakespeare utilized “over 25,000 different words in his writings – that is more than any other English writer has ever used!” (Hale para.2).
With the absence of dictionaries, it meant that he had no way to refer on whether he had used a certain word correctly and or in the right context. However, scrutinizing Merchant of Venice and Hamlet, and examining the meaning of the hefty vocabularies in these two works reveals no fault in the use of vocabularies. What made him achieve such success? His impeccable level of creativity must have done the trick.
Creativity in writing infers the capacity to express ones feelings, thoughts, and perceptions of how the society needs to look like. However, such criticisms need be presented through deployment of stylistic devices such as symbolism, mockery and humor among others to make the works interesting.
More often than not, creative works are meant to correct certain wrongs within the society. In Merchant of Venice and Hamlet, Shakespeare, amid many criticisms presents ways of correcting vices in the society by employing the villain-hero approach. In Hamlet, Hamlet delays in killing Claudius.
This act raises many criticisms as to why Shakespeare presents ideal characters by the fact that the prince took too much time to revenge. However, these critics do not appreciate the fact that Hamlet was principally a noble and exemplary character while Claudius was an immense villain comprising the creative literal facets for William Shakespeare. Knight reckons “…the tragedy of Hamlet lay in the fact that a “good” character was destroyed because of an “evil” usurper” (Para. 5).
Creatively created work, presents the readers with a myriad of interpretations, varying with contexts from which they interpret the work. These contexts may be from the author’s contexts, the texts context or even the reader’s contexts. In this regard, perhaps attempting to interpret, Hamlet from the texts context, Claudius may be seen as a treacherous villain.
On the hand, knight’s interpretation from the reader’s contexts refers “the image of Claudius at prayer, repenting of his crimes, while Hamlet refuses to kill him, not wanting his soul to go to heaven” (Knight Para.8). Rather than looking at Hamlet as a noble and sweet character, Knight sees him as ruthless and rude towards his mother, Rosencrantz, Ophelia and Guildenstern. Shakespeare, arguably is creative in the manner he ridicules the vices in the society.
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Hamlet can be argued as a good, pure and innocent character. However, his goodness is concealed by the evil characters surrounding him. In this context, Shakespeare deploys Hamlet as a creative symbol depictive of how evil in the society can emerge to afflict even the dutiful people.
Congruent to this argument, many critics argue that, “Hamlet’s tragedy is not a result of the supposed weaknesses/flaws in his character or even mistakes in his judgment/action, but from the evil and intolerable situation into which he is cruelly thrust” (Knight Para. 8). Hamlet emerges as a victim of circumstances. His mother is remarried; his father dead and hence has no one to turn to for any form of help.
Claudius ends up being a powerful man and hence Hamlet’s intentions to take action against him hit a dead end. The circumstances facing Hamlet depicts the Shakespeare’s creativity in presenting the way power hinders existence of cute and right society.
Shrouding the themes of Hamlet this way was perhaps vital since, at his time, literal works had to pass through government sensors to scrutinize political contents before proceeding to theater. Given that Hamlet can be interpreted in from historical, psychological, and romantic approaches and yet make sense, it presents incredible creativity in its composition.
Merchant of Venice is yet another Shakespeare’s literal work that portrays immense creativity. Shakespeare creatively ridicules capitalistic systems. He achieves this through narrations of the lives of his characters.
Christian characters value the society wellbeing while characters like shylock, have a dare need for money. While Antonio lends money without intents of individualistic gains in term of earning interests, Shylock is in deep agony when he loses his money: he strolls down the street crying “O, my ducats! O, my daughter!” (Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice, II.viii.15).
In this context, shylock is depicted as to value money more than he even values his daughter. This is arguably presentation of capitalistic systems, which only values personal gains in terms of profits. Shakespeare is creative enough not to express the theme of greed in Merchant of Venice: a menace that afflicts the society largely.
As priory mentioned, any creative piece of literature genre addresses the author’s opinions, feelings and thoughts in a vivid and witty way. In Merchant of Venice, the motif of law is redundant. Through the characters and various stylistic devices, the author creatively challenges the capacity of the laws of his land to be manipulated to favor those in power.
While used accordingly, laws proactively produce good will of the people, but when manipulated, they serve to perpetrate wantons and cruelty. As Dutton and Howard reckon, “Portia’s virtual imprisonment by the game of caskets seems, at first, like a questionable rule at best, but her likening of the game to a lottery system is belied by the fact that, in the end, it works perfectly” (57). The complementariness of Bassanio and Portia is portrayed in a vivid way. What is this? Creativity?
A creative writer is well equipped with vocabulary, deploys stylistic devices such as symbols, humor, and shrouds the themes of his or her work in an attempt to give valid meanings depending on the context of interpretation of the work by the reader.
In Merchant of Venice, symbols such as the three caskets, Leah’s ring and a pound of the flesh are used to serve the purpose of presentation of abstract ideas. Hamlet and Merchant of Venice are rich in vocabulary, and the ability of these vocabularies to rhyme with the contexts in which they are used despite the fact that he had no dictionary to refer from during his time of writing.
Consequently, Shakespeare works are not only congruent with what we have discussed so far about the creative process but also sounds substantial to make an assumption that they have attained magnificent level of creativity that perhaps remarkably few writers of the twentieth century have reached.
Dutton, Richard, and Jean Howard. A Companion to Shakespeare’s Works: The Histories, Oxford: Blackwell, 2003.
Hale, Ali. Creative Writing, 2011. Web. <https://www.dailywritingtips.com/creative-writing-101/>.
Knight, William. Literally Criticism for Hamlet by William Shakespeare: Various Interpretations of Hamlet, 2008. Web.. <http://www.pinkmonkey.com/booknotes/monkeynotes/pmHamlet40.asp>
Shakespeare, William. Merchant of Venice. New York: Simons & Schuster, 2003. Print.
Wilson, Richard. Secret Shakespeare: Studies in Theatre, Religion and Resistance, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004.