Shakespeare was both insane and a genius. My professor said it well “If you try to pin down a specific meaning for Shakespeare, you will go insane, and trust me, I’ve watched many scholars go down that road.” Shakespeare and a few other poets at the time mark a distinct shift in our culture, it is the movement of objective, fixed, tight reading for exact meaning, towards a more flexible, ambiguous, subjective reading where the reader is an active participant.
Shakespeare knew that language was a game. Shakespeare knew that language and meaning were not tightly connected, he knew that they were merely a human invention used as a means for communication. He knew that basically he could do whatever he wanted, so he did. Shakespeare invented over 1700 words and who knows how many sayings. Words that you say everyday, like addiction, cold-hearted, amazement, Shakespeare invented because he could, because he knew it was all a game and he could do whatever he wanted. It just so happens that people tagged along and began to realize the same thing he did, that it’s all a game.
Shakespeare knew that this game of language extended further than words, he knew that society, civilization, our houses, fashion etc. Was all merely human invention, and what we invented we could most certainly change. He knew that it was all an act. Now, that can be a pretty shell shocking realization, to wake up one day and realize that this world you live in is merely a human invention, but his answer to this problem is staggering. He invents his own reality. Through plays, through sonnets, through acting, Shakespeare moulds his own reality into what he wants it to be. This shift in literature is a precursor to events like the enlightenment and is largely responsible for the incredible individualized world we live in today. All it took was a few people to shift, to wake up and step out of normal bounds of human normalcy. What reality will you create for yourself?
Hustle it up!