Shakespeare Illuminated

Even though the works of William Shakespeare are easily found in books and taught in English classes, his plays are primarily meant to be interpreted through performance. Since they originated in a day when the recording of performances was impossible, there is no record to indicate what messages Shakespeare’s plays were originally intended to convey. Because of this, it has become a rewarding exercise for artists of every kind to create their own interpretations of Shakespeare’s works, combining what is known of the playwright and the world in which he lived with modern-day sensibilities. My own interpretation of Shakespeare and a handful of his plays entitled, Shakespeare Illuminated (see figure 1), combines my interest in ancient illuminated manuscripts like The Book of Kells, and what the plays mean to me.

Figure 1 – Shakespeare Illuminated, by Dennis West

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