‘As the 400th anniversary of his death approaches, why should we bother celebrating Shakespeare? After all, he was only a playwright. And we don’t take to the streets to whoop it up for Chaucer, Jonson or Bacon.
Shakespeare has a reputation as being the preserve of the trite middle classes who like to shoehorn a misquote or two into ordinary conversation. Or students swotting over King Lear for their GCSEs.
Indoctrination (his work is compulsory on the National Curriculum for English) and a fear of appearing uncultured may lead people to keep quiet about their antipathy or indifference, leaving the way clear for “bardolators” to indulge.
Yes, he was a talented chap – but how did Shakespeare become the “fifth greatest Briton” of all time?’