Many people are familiar with the writer and director Joss Whedon. And most of you have (hopefully) heard of poet and playwright William Shakespeare. He is widely considered the greatest writer in history. He is certainly widely studied in schools, and generally held as the paragon of not just theatre, but all written language. However, during his time, his work was for the masses. Poor and uneducated people paid one penny to come stand next to the stage and see his works performed. Although now, because of the differences in dialect between the English of our time and that of his writings, his works are associated with a highly educated class, and are certainly not considered mainstream entertainment, this was clearly not always the case.
As I was reading King Lear, a tragedy of misplaced faith and dramatic irony, I thought about how if this was considered essentially “pop culture” then and is now studied in Universities, then surely there’s a modern counterpart. It seems weird to think like this, but imagine high schoolers in 400 years dutifully opening a copy of a work from our century. It would likely seem as strange to them as Shakespeare does to us, yet they would continue to study it because of its value which transcends time period. Based on this, it is fun to think today about what works from today might fit that category. It is tempting to consider more “literary” works of today, but remember that Shakespeare was not considered “high-class” or “inaccessible” in his time.
Based on this, I have thought about Joss Whedon as a modern-day Shakespeare.