Here are 9 ways Shakespeare was right about family, relationships and society

If all that pie on Pi Day lifted your spirits, don’t worry — the Ides of March will bring it down.
Mar 15, 2016

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  • If all that pie on Pi Day lifted your spirits, don't worry - the Ides of March will bring it down.

  • Every March 15, the nation recognizes the Ides of March, a day that's basically popular because of your high school English class. It refers to the death of Roman dictator Julius Caesar, who was assassinated around the middle of March, according to the Springfield News-Sun.

  • But it was William Shakespeare who created the "holiday" in his play "Julius Caesar," in which a soothsayer says "beware the Ides of March." The soothsayer specifically predicted that Caeser would fall on March 15.

  • Of course in 2016, the day may mean something totally different. CNN recently rounded up a number of tweets that revealed a different side of the holiday, showing that it isn't exactly a day many people look on in disgust, but rather in comedy.

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  • But this year's Ides of March falls on a particularly interesting day, at least politically. It's Super Tuesday 2, or 2 Super 2 Tuesday, or however you want to pronounce it. It's a day where there are a lot of delegates at stake for this year's presidential candidates, and even a day when Republican candidates can stop GOP front-runner Donald Trump from taking the nomination.

  • "The Ides of March has long loomed large on the political calendar, but with all due respect to Julius Caesar, it's quite the killer date this year," according to The Baltimore Sun. "Not only are at least two of the remaining Republican presidential candidates on the verge of departure from the race (by the hands of their home states no less) but front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are poised to make potentially decisive gains in the all-important delegate tally."

  • So, yeah, Shakespeare totally understands society today. Here are nine other times that Shakespeare's words and stories totally resonated with us.

  • The "Romeo and Juliet" relationship

  • Ah, the classic love story. Boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl realize that they belong to warring families and can never be together. A tragedy, nonetheless, but one that has connections to our own lives, too.

  • Like Romeo and Juliet, modern American couples face complications with each other's parents. Women especially often have problems with their mothers-in-law, who are many times afraid to let another woman take care of their son, according to Time magazine.

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  • Love at first sight ... exists?

  • "Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?" (As You Like It, 3.5)

  • You can't beat this quote. Love at first sight was apparently an important thing for Shakespeare, and so too is it an important thing for people today. In fact, science has found within the last five years that our brains can be attracted to a new face that we see, which makes us feel emotions that are similar to those that we experience when we're in love, according to The Huffington Post.

  • "Much Ado About Nothing" shows a relationship we all know

  • You won't find a more complex romantic relationship than the one between Beatrice and Benedick as seen in the play "Much Ado About Nothing." The two clearly feel as though they've met before and that they're spiritually bound, but they often argue in moments in which they try to outwit each other. Still, they work together, and eventually fall in love toward the end of the play.

  • This is something we've seen across multiple relationships. Couples will often play-fight or argue, even though they're truly in love. During the courting process, potential partners may show ill-will or wit towards each other, but in reality they have deep feelings. Men especially will be mean to girls they have crushes on so that they can hide their emotions, according to Parent Society.

  • The vulnerability in "Macbeth"

  • In "Macbeth," a young man named Macbeth aims to climb to the top of the kingdom of Scotland alongside his wife, Lady Macbeth. The two find themselves in increasingly more troubling scenarios as they climb the ladder. And, as The Independent's Andy McSmith noted, MacBeth becomes increasingly more vulnerable after he becomes king.

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  • "Being king is not whatever he imagined it would be: it is a crashing disappointment carrying a scarcely bearable burden of guilt and vulnerability," according to McSmith.

  • This isn't an idea lost on today. In fact, many of the 2016 presidential candidates have tried to deal with the vulnerabilities they face from the media.

  • As NPR reported Tuesday, politicians have been especially troubled by BuzzFeed, a news site originally known for its viral videos and GIFs that has spent this election cycle looking for hidden videos of former candidates saying a variety of things. These videos have made it all the more difficult for these politicians to get by just based on their current political platforms, NPR reported.

  • "Now BuzzFeed is offering a new multimedia form of accountability journalism: repeatedly revealing the candidates' contradictions, hypocrisies, misstatements - and, at times, flat-out weirdness," NPR reported.

  • Crossroads are common, as in "Hamlet"

  • The story of "Hamlet" is one in which the main character is faced with choices. After his uncle murders his father, Hamlet receives word from the ghost of his father to take down his uncle or not. Hamlet is then faced with the choice about whether to continue on that path and stop his uncle. This is just the first of many choices Hamlet will face in the play.

  • Actor Paapa Essiedu, who plays Hamlet in the Royal Shakespeare Company's recent rendition, said that people today relate to Hamlet because he is often faced with choices, like we all are.

  • "Our lives are full of crossroads: should we or shouldn't we? Yes or no? It is magnified in Hamlet's case because the action is so enormous: whether to murder his uncle or not," he said.

  • In fact, it's the essential - and most known - question from Hamlet that really connects with us: "to be, or not to be?"

  • Essiedu said, "This is the question at the centre of all our lives. Should we act?"

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  • Love is enough for our lives

  • One of Shakespeare's most memorable quotes is as follows: "Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewel? Why, now let me die, for I have lived long enough." (The Merry Wives of Windsor, 3.3)

  • That is to say, the speaker feels as though they've lived long enough now that they know they have loved someone so special. We've seen this play out in the real world recently. Couples across the United States have passed away within minutes or hours of each other, which some have tied to broken-heart syndrome. There's also research that says our bodies sync up with our long-term partners, which is why we sometimes pass away at the same time, according to The Guardian.

  • Spend time with family, as seen in "King Lear"

  • OK, so, in King Lear, the main character - uh, King Lear - decides to spend more time with his daughters because he wants to bequeath the kingdom to one of them.

  • But Lear only shows attention to the daughters who pay him more attention or declare their love for him more frequently. That's not exactly the nicest way for a father to spend his time, but it does show the importance of family members needing to spend more time with their family.

  • This could not be a more important lesson in our current society, when people work nearly 47 hours a week and struggle to find work-life balance.

  • Perceptions of race in "Othello"

  • One of the main themes out of "Othello" centers around the perception of race. The character Iago often uses racial slurs against characters, especially when he learns that his young white daughter ran off and eloped with an older black man named Othello.

  • In 2016, race has become an important issue for many people, more so than it has been in recent years. FiveThirtyEight said race is one of the defining issues of the 2016 presidential election, and it's only increasingly become so with the recent protests in Chicago. The #BlackLivesMatter movement continues to spread throughout the country as well.

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  • Shakespeare created Valentine's Day

  • To all those people who think the Hallmark card company added romance to Valentine's Day, you may want to read these lyrics from "Hamlet."

  • "To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day, All in the morning betime, And I a maid at your window, To be your Valentine."

  • That's right. Shakespeare is the reason that Americans spent roughly $19.7 billion on Valentine's Day this year, according to the National Retail Federation. He's also the reason why so many couples find the February holiday to be an important cornerstone of a relationship.

  • According to The Huffington Post, Valentine's Day can help keep relationships fresh and romantic. Sounds like something Shakespeare would like for his characters.

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Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

Website: https://twitter.com/HerbScribner

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