By: Gabriela Yareliz
People leave different things behind after they die. Some leave furniture and clothes; some leave heartache; some leave a life of service; some leave money; some leave anger. After a life of service and love, I think one of the greatest things a person can leave behind are words– words that inspire; words that are timeless; words that provoke thought and emotion. What always attracted me to Shakespeare was: how old the writing was, the poetry and most of all, the timeless examination of the human heart and human condition. He was bold and wisely explored some of life’s greatest questions, themes and contradictions: love, destiny, truth, friendship, family and power.
I got into Shakespeare in junior high school. The first play I read was A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I was enthralled. My teacher, Mrs. King, noticed and gave me a special assignment. I gave a presentation on allusions in the play. I liked the fact that it made my little 7th grade brain stretch; it made me think. I loved his humor and wit.
In high school, I fell in deeper love with William. When you are in a British program, there is an appropriate heavy emphasis on Shakespeare from year one. My amazing freshman year English teacher gave us a paper with Romeo and Juliet quotes for our wallet (so we could bust out a Mercutio line when necessary). We read the play about three times, watched the movie, and then, we saw the play, live. I still remember thinking they should not have made Mercutio better looking than Romeo. Then came Macbeth, The Tempest, Julius Caesar, The Winter’s Tale, Hamlet, Othello, The Taming of the Shrew, etc. I was the girl checking out from the library “As you like it.”
Today is Shakespeare’s 450th birthday. I wanted to post, even though it almost seems cliché or silly, but Shakespeare means a lot to me. His plays and sonnets make my heart expand and soar. I think his philosophy really shaped my own in some respects, and so, today is my Shakespeare appreciation day. His hope, his illusion, his passion, still whisper something into the depth of my heart; sometimes acting like Cinderella’s fairy godmother’s wand, conjuring belief and emotion out of mere shattered pumpkins.
It’s masterful when someone can arrange words to express what seem to be the unspeakable emotions of the heart. It’s also masterful when someone can arrange words to express the most ordinary thoughts into poetry.
Even more, it’s masterful that his words and imagination from the 1500s can move the heart or humor of a young woman, as myself, in 2014.
William’s writing shows, that even after you are gone, you can remain.
“I don’t know how your story ended, but if what you felt then was true love, then it’s never too late. If it was true then, why wouldn’t it be true now? You only need the courage to follow your heart.
I don’t know what a love like Juliet’s feels like; a love to leave loved ones for, a love to cross oceans for, but I’d like to believe, if ever I were to feel it, that I’d have the courage to seize it. And Claire if you didn’t, I hope one day that you will.
All my love,
From “Letter’s To Juliet”