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The Legacy of William Shakespeare Commonlit Answers

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  • 7th Grade
  • Lexile: 1000

Source: The Legacy of William Shakespeare by Mia Hodorovich

Assessment Answers

QuestionAnswer
PART A: Which statement best expresses the central idea of the text?Shakespeare’s influence continues to be felt today because of his contributions to English and his timeless stories that can easily be re-envisioned for modern times.
Part B: Which detail from the text best supports the answer to Part A?“Not only has Shakespeare shaped the English language but he’s also had a hand in almost every form of popular culture. From books to music to modern theatre, Shakespeare has served as an inspiration.” (Paragraph 7)
How do paragraphs 4-5 contribute to the author’s depiction of Shakespeare’s writing?They emphasize the wide variety of Shakespeare’s work and the extent of his skills.
How does the author’s discussion of certain popular phrases and television shows help us understand Shakespeare’s influence?It shows that Shakespeare’s work is influential enough to still affect the language we use and the shows that we watch.

What is the relationship between Shakespeare’s work and popular films and television shows today? Use details from the text in your answer.

The relationship between Shakespeare’s work and popular films and television shows today, as detailed in the text “The Legacy of William Shakespeare and Contributions to Society,” is one of direct inspiration and thematic influence.

Shakespeare’s work serves as a foundational element in contemporary storytelling, influencing not just the narratives of films and television shows but also their thematic depth and character development.

The text explicitly mentions that popular TV series like “Breaking Bad” are inspired by Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” highlighting themes of ambition, power, and downfall. Similarly, “House of Cards” takes cues from “Richard III,” showcasing political manipulation and the pursuit of power, while “Empire” has been compared to “King Lear,” focusing on family dynamics, legacy, and betrayal.

These examples show that Shakespeare’s themes are not only timeless but also adaptable, resonating with modern audiences and fitting seamlessly into contemporary settings.

Furthermore, the text discusses how many films have been inspired by Shakespeare, mentioning “The Lion King” as an adaptation of “Hamlet,” and “10 Things I Hate About You,” which reimagines “The Taming of the Shrew” for a modern audience.

These adaptations and inspirations illustrate the versatility of Shakespeare’s stories and their ability to be re-envisioned in diverse contexts, from animated films to teen comedies.

This relationship underscores the adaptability of Shakespeare’s themes—such as forbidden romance, political intrigue, murder, and revenge—to modern contexts, proving that his work is not confined to the past but continues to be a vital part of contemporary cultural expression.

The enduring popularity of his themes in films and television shows attests to his genius in capturing the essence of the human condition, which remains relevant across centuries.

In summary, Shakespeare’s work and popular films and television shows today are intricately connected through direct inspiration, thematic influence, and the timeless relevance of his stories.

This relationship highlights Shakespeare’s lasting impact on storytelling and his unparalleled contribution to the narrative arts, demonstrating that his legacy continues to shape and enrich modern entertainment.

Discussion Answers

In the text, the author discusses the legacy of William Shakespeare and how his influence can still be felt today What do you think are Shakespeare’s most important contributions to modern day? Can you think of other writers from the past whose work has had a significant impact on popular culture today? If so, which ones?

The text on “The Legacy of William Shakespeare” underscores his profound impact on modern-day literature, language, and popular culture. Shakespeare’s most important contributions include:

  1. Innovation in the English Language: Shakespeare’s introduction of over 1,700 words and countless phrases to the English language has enriched modern English, making it more expressive and versatile. Phrases such as “break the ice,” “heart of gold,” and “wild goose chase” continue to be widely used.
  2. Exploration of Universal Themes: Shakespeare’s exploration of themes like love, power, betrayal, and existential inquiry remains relevant, resonating with audiences across generations. His ability to delve into the human psyche has influenced not only literature but also psychology and philosophy.
  3. Influence on Narrative and Storytelling: His plots and character archetypes have become blueprints for countless stories in modern literature, film, and television. Works like “Hamlet,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and “Macbeth” have been adapted in numerous cultures, reflecting their universal appeal.
  4. Contribution to Literary Techniques: Shakespeare’s use of soliloquies, asides, and mixed genres has influenced narrative techniques and dramatic structure in modern literature and theater.
  5. Impact on Education and Popular Culture: His works are studied worldwide, shaping the curriculum in schools and universities and influencing popular culture through adaptations in movies, TV shows, and theater productions.

Other Writers With Significant Impact:

  • Homer: Ancient Greek author of “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey,” whose epic tales of heroes, gods, and human nature have influenced Western literary tradition, inspiring countless adaptations and references in literature, film, and art.
  • Jane Austen: Her novels, including “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility,” have had a lasting impact on literature, exploring themes of marriage, social status, and womanhood. Austen’s works continue to be adapted into films and TV shows, influencing modern romantic comedies and dramas.
  • Charles Dickens: Known for his vivid characters and detailed portrayal of Victorian England, Dickens’ works like “A Christmas Carol” and “Great Expectations” have influenced social consciousness and been adapted into numerous movies, plays, and television specials.
  • George Orwell: His dystopian novels, “1984” and “Animal Farm,” have had a profound impact on popular culture and political discourse, introducing terms like “Big Brother” and “Orwellian” into everyday language to describe intrusive government and manipulative practices.
  • Mary Shelley: Her novel “Frankenstein” has become a cornerstone of gothic literature and science fiction, exploring themes of creation, responsibility, and humanity. It has inspired countless adaptations and ignited discussions on science, ethics, and identity.

These authors, like Shakespeare, have left indelible marks on literature and popular culture, demonstrating the power of written word to transcend time and influence future generations.


In the text, the author discusses some of the films and television shows that have been inspired by William Shakespeare’s work. Are you familiar with any of these shows? What themes do they address that you would consider universal or timeless?

Yeah, the text talked about how Shakespeare’s stories are still popping up in movies and TV shows we watch today, which is pretty cool. Like, they mentioned “The Lion King,” and I’ve seen that movie a bunch of times. It’s basically “Hamlet” but with lions, and it’s about Simba dealing with his uncle Scar, who’s super jealous and does some really bad stuff to become king.

It’s all about power struggles, family drama, and finding your place in the world, which I guess are things that everyone, even adults, can relate to.

Then there’s “10 Things I Hate About You,” which I haven’t seen but heard about. It’s supposed to be like Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” It’s a high school story about dating and dealing with people’s expectations, which sounds pretty universal because, like, who doesn’t have problems with friends or dating at some point?

And they talked about TV shows like “Breaking Bad” being inspired by “Macbeth.” I’m not allowed to watch “Breaking Bad” yet, but my older cousin says it’s about this guy who starts breaking bad (duh) for his family but gets caught up in power and makes a ton of mistakes. It’s like how Macbeth gets all power-hungry and messes up everything.

So, it’s about how chasing power can really mess you up, which is a big deal no matter when you live, I guess.

So, these themes like power, family, and figuring out who you are seem pretty universal because they keep showing up in stories today, and people still get them and feel them, just like they did back in Shakespeare’s time. It’s kinda wild to think that stuff he wrote 400 years ago is still showing up in our movies and shows.

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