How did Shakespeare spell his last name?

The spelling of William Shakespeare's surname was not fixed until well into the 20th Century. There are supposedly 80 different ways to spell the bard's name including 'Shappere' and Shaxberd'. The standard spelling of his surname as "Shakespeare" was the most common published and printed signature on his earliest works. However, it was not the one used in his own handwritten signatures.  It was, however, the spelling used as a printed signature to the dedications of the first editions of his poems Venus and Adonis in 1593 and The Rape of Lucrece in 1594. It is also the spelling used in the First Folio, the definitive collection of his plays published in 1623, after his death.

The spelling of the name was later modernised, "Shakespear" gaining popular usage in the 18th century, which was largely replaced by "Shakspeare" from the late 18th through the early 19th century. In the Romantic and Victorian eras the spelling "Shakspere", as used in the poet's own signature, became more widely adopted in the belief that this was the most authentic version. From the mid-19th to the early 20th century, a wide variety of spellings were used for various reasons; although, following the publication of the Cambridge and Globe editions of Shakespeare in the 1860s, "Shakespeare" began to gain ascendancy. It later became a habit of writers who believed that someone else wrote the plays to use different spellings when they were referring to the "real" playwright and to the man from Stratford upon Avon. With rare exceptions, the spelling is now standardised in English-speaking countries as "Shakespeare".

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How has Shakespeare inspired movies?


           Thousands of films have taken inspiration from Shakespeare. Akira Kurosawa, renowned Japanese filmmaker, directed Throne of Blood, which is an adaptation of Macbeth. His Ran, directed in 1985, is inspired by King Lear. My Own Private Idaho, by Gus Van Sant, is influenced by Shakespeare’s Henry IV. Laurence Olivier is probably the most famous filmmaker and actor who have successfully adapted Shakespeare’s play. His Henry V, Hamlet and Richard III are popular films.

           Shakespeare has wielded his influence in India too. Vishal Bharadwaj’s Omkara, Maqbool and Haider have been both popular and critical successes. Jayaraj’s Kannaki, Kaliyattam and Veeram are popular Shakespeare adaptations from Kerala.

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Have Shakespeare’s plays been adapted?


      Shakespeare has been a perennial inspiration for writer for centuries. Innumerable novels, stories and films have been born out of Shakespearean literature. Many films that you have watched may have unacknowledged, uncanny similarities with Shakespearean plots.

      Many of Shakespeare’s plays have been written as short stories and novels without changing their names. Many modern novels are inspired by him. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville is said to be inspired by Macbeth and King Lear.

      Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World has its roots in The Tempest. The same play is the inspiration for Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed. E. K Johnston’s Exit, Pursued by a Bear is inspired by the famous line from Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.

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The Two Gentlemen of Verona by William Shakespeare

      Some scholars think that The Two Gentlemen of Verona is Shakespeare’s first play; and therefore, it is not as promising as his later plays.

      The play is centred on the love, perseverance and determination of a young girl named Julia who went to extremes to win over her love. Valentine and Proteus were close friends. Valentine set out on a journey and Proteus did not follow him because he had fallen in love with Julia. However, when Proteus went to meet Valentine, he met Valentine’s lover Silvia and fell in love with her at first sight.

      He forgot about Julia completely. Now, the play takes the viewer through many events, in which adventure, luck and velour become prominent themes. Julia, in order to win back Proteus, disguised herself as a man and followed him around. Finally, Proteus, realizing his mistakes, apologized to Valentine and everything ended on a happy note.

      One of the most controversial episodes in Shakespearean plays appears in this play. Convinced of Proteus’ repentance, Valentine appears to hand his love, Silvia, to Proteus.

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Love’s Labour’s Lost by William Shakespeare

      What would happen if someone decides that he would have nothing to do with women and no women would be allowed within one mile of his home? Love’s Labour’s Lost, one of Shakespeare’s early comedies, has misogyny as its central theme.

      Ferdinand, the King of Navarre, and his friends decided that women were not allowed inside their palace for three years, because they wanted to devote their time and energy to learning and research. However, their plans were thwarted when the Princess of France and her ladies arrived for a diplomatic mission to the Court. The Princess, insulted without an entry to the palace, camped outside the court. In the events that ensued, the King fell in love with the beautiful princess and his friends with other women. They eventually relinquished the vow and realized that the ultimate knowledge was the knowledge of love and understanding.

      As the play ends, the marriages are planned and they would take place in a year’s time.

      This is one of Shakespeare’s original plays. Scholars opine that he has not consulted sources that he used for his other plays. Abounding in sophisticated wordplay, the play contains lines such as: ‘Love is a familiar; love is a devil. There is no evil angel but love’.

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