Imagery And How It Allowed Shakespearean Literature To Be Timeless

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

Shakespeare’s writings have affected countless lives, both in the Elizabethan era and in today’s modern society. He has created an abundance of famous writings and plays and put a great amount of time, effort, and heart into each of them. Three of his most famous major works are Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Hamlet. They are timeless classics that have lasted until today because of Shakespeare’s use of imagery and writing style. Shakespeare was well known during the Elizabethan Era. He was actually famous while he was still alive, unlike many other writers during this time. While Shakespeare was recognized as the primary dramatist of his time, evidence indicates that both he and his peers looked to poetry instead of playwriting for lasting fame. Shakespeare’s sonnets were written between 1593 and 1601, but weren’t published until 1609. 

The edition, The Sonnets of Shakespeare, is made up of 154 sonnets, all written in the form of three quatrains and a couplet that is now known as Shakespearean. During this time, Shakespeare was also very famous for creating new words. “In his poems and plays, Shakespeare invented thousands of words, often combining French, Latin, and native roots” ( He had expanded the Oxford English Dictionary with about one thousand words. This led into him expanding the way that he was writing. “Shakespeare wrote more than thirty plays in his lifetime” ( These thirty plays are typically divided into four definitive categories: tragedies, histories, romances, and comedies. “His earliest plays were primarily comedies and histories” ( In 1596, Shakespeare wrote one of the most famous stories, Romeo and Juliet. This was the very first tragedy that Shakespeare ever wrote. Only eighteen of Shakespeare’s plays were published separately in quarto editions during his lifetime. Nonetheless, his fellows recognized his achievements. Shakespeare retired from the stage and went back to his home in Stratford. He created his will in January of 1616, which included his famous endowment to his wife of his “second best bed.” He died on April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later at Stratford Church. 

There are no poets like Shakespeare with originality and boldness of imagery. It is this that mainly forms the beauty of his poetry; it is in this that much of his finest idealizing centers. “In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare used light as one of his images to reflect the undying love between his two main characters. This light could be represented in many forms, e.g., the sun, the moon, the stars, fire in a field, or lightning” (Spurgeon). The contrast of these things could be viewed as bad with no light whatsoever, such as the dark of night, a cloudy sky, a gloomy day with gray skies, and so on. ‘Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of heaven so fine, That all the world will be in love with night, And pay no worship to the garish sun” (Shakespeare). This is an exceptional example of the way Shakespeare uses his imagery. He used words in such a way that they come off so smoothly in his writings. This is due to the amount of time he put not only into his writings, but also into the plays. It is said that if Shakespeare was not happy with the acting, then he would play the role himself. Many thought that he was a great writer and actor, which then added to his popularity. 

During Hamlet, Shakespeare used a good amount of vivid imagery to help define his play. A great example of this is when Hamlet compares his life to an overgrown, weedy garden: “’tis an unweeded garden, That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature Possess it merely” (Shakespeare). This quote shows Shakespeare’s imagery in Hamlet. It shows how Hamlet is grieving the death of his father and how he sees his life at this point. Shakespeare also has great examples of imagery in Macbeth. One of the most popular and famous imagery examples in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth is blood, which is seen throughout the whole play. It is first present during Act I Scene 2 when the guards were all murdered. The blood most likely represents Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s guilt for the things that they had done during this play. Shakespeare knew exactly how to interpret this imagery into Macbeth, which shows how great of a writer he was. Shakespeare was an extraordinary person who was able to execute anything almost perfectly. 

Shakespeare carried out his writing style well in all of his plays, especially in Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth. His writing style was so famous, that he got his own sonnet named after him called the, “Shakespearean Sonnet.” It is still very popular to this day. Many poets still tend to use this style of writing. It was very famous during the Elizabethan Era, and many other writers during that time also adapted to this writing style. You mostly see it present during Shakespeare’s early works rather than his later works. It can be seen that Shakespeare’s writings have touched many lives during the Elizabethan Era and in today’s modern society. His famous plays and writings have been taught in schools and performed throughout the world. These writings are timeless because of Shakespeare’s imagery and writing style.


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