Titles influenced by Shakespeare. There are a number of books, novels and collections whose titles were directly taken from some of Shakespeare’s lines from his plays or poems. Islam (2010), a Bangladeshi author, wrote an article about works titles by being influenced by Shakespeare. He has identified some writers like Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Somerset Maugham, Tom Stoppard, John Steinbeck, Aldous Huxley, William Faulkner, Pearl S Buck, Agatha Christie and others writers who have openly admitted to being influenced by Shakespeare.

O’Reilly (2014) had also written an article that explores novels that take the idea or plot from Shakespeare plays. The authors identified in this article are Herman Melville, Josephine Tey, Patricia Highsmith, Iris Murdoch, Fredrick Forsyth, Angela Carter, Amanda Craig and Jane Smiley. Islam (2010) has identified the lines from the plays or poems he has not commented whether the plots and themes have been indirectly taken from that play or poem or not.

He has only identified that Tom Stoppard had directly borrowed both the title and theme of his play ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead’ from Hamlet in which both characters were friends with Hamlet. Other than ‘Hamlet’, plays like ‘As you like it’, ‘King John’, ‘The Tempest’, ‘King Lear’, ’Richard III’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘Twelfth night’, ‘Love’s Labour Lost’, ‘A Midsummers Night Dream’, ‘Anthony and Cleopatra’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet’ have been used to form titles using lines/quotes present in them. While (Islam. 2010) did that O’Reilly (2014) identified the titles in this article are used for plays, collections, and short stories.

The author has also written the Shakespearian play that the ideas or plot has been taken from and the changes or twists present in that novel. It only gives information of a few novels and the plays used are much the same as identified in (Islam. 2010). Both these articles are exploring Shakespeare’s influence on the mentioned writers clearly and commenting to an extent on them also.

Films based on Shakespeare plays. Many of Shakespeare’s plays have been turned into films using the same title as the originals. The most common to date would have to be ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Peitzman. (2014) explores movies that are based on Shakespeare but with modern twists and titles. These movies were filmed from the nineteen fifties till two thousand thirteen so many of these would be hard to find nowadays.

The author has identified in the article the original play and the title given to the film. Many of the films in this article show that the setting has been changed to fit the criteria. In some of these films, the gender of the characters has also been reversed to meet the requirements while the storyline remains the same as the original with a few changes. Some situations are changed also to move away from the original story a bit for example ‘Ran 1985’ which is based on Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’.

The plays like the ‘The Tempest’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘Hamlet’, ‘The comedy of errors’, ‘Henry IV and V’, ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, ‘A Midsummers Night Dream’ and ‘Twelfth Night’ has been identified that were used to form the plots for these films.

Fallon. (2015) has discussed seven movies for teenagers which are again based on Shakespearian plays. The author has critically analyzed the films included in the article. The original play has been identified again and has separated her analysis into two parts, good and bad, and written how she feels about the movie. She has included sarcasm where she feels the need for it while commenting on the films.

This analysis highlights many points in the films that, while being watched, could be missed or overlooked. The author has given honest opinions and brought the problems on the forefront which might really have made Shakespeare roll over in his grave as is the title of the article. The films follow the original plot with a few modern additions.

Other areas influenced by Shakespeare. We are all aware that Shakespeare was a poet and a play write. He had influenced and inspired many great writers after him to write amazing novels some of which was also later adapted into films. What people would not be aware of is that other than inspiring writers, Shakespeare has also been an inspiration for musicians. “With his mastery of meter and an indisputable way with words, it’s no surprise that musicians flock to William Shakespeare for inspiration.

Greats ranging from Lou Reed to Bob Dylan have drawn from the writer as an influence, and new blood like Titus Andronicus have even taken their name from one of his works.”(Kane. 2012). He has explored a few famous songs which are inspired by Shakespearian quotes from his plays or poems. Even some of these song titles are using inspiration from quotes while some lyrics are directly taken from the Bards quotes.

The author has identified the quotes and what inspired the musician to use those quotes in the song. While the author has written the quotes he has not written the play or poem names which is not troublesome as it checks out from the internet with reliable sources. Another article was written by Kinos-Goodin. (2014) also explores some songs inspired by Shakespeare.

The writer has given the quotes from the Bards original plays and the play that had inspired the songs. The plays used are ‘Richard III’, ‘King Lear’, ‘Henry VI’, ‘As you like it’, ‘Merchant of Venice’, ‘Hamlet’, ‘Much Ado about Nothing’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Henry IV’ and ‘Sonnet 29’ which were almost the same songs explored by (Kane, T. 2012) in his article.

Matthews. (2014) had written an article about the different writers who had retold some of Shakespeare’s plays for young children. All the titles are simple and easy to understand and clearly state that these are related to the Bard. The writers explore the different ways the plays are retold by each author of the book.

Some of these authors have made Shakespeare the main character, others have altered some of the plays so that children are not negatively influenced. An author has also made the plays into a comic book strip in order to change things up a bit. The books mentioned are not all written by a single author but a collection made with the help of various authors also. These are some interesting reads for young or advanced students as well.


Fallon, C. (2015, April 23). 7 Teen Movies Based On Shakespeare That Would Make Him Roll Over In His Grave. Retrieved from The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/23/shakespeare-movie-adaptations_n_7120510.html

Islam, M. S. (2010, April 25). Writers who have been influenced by Shakespeare. Retrieved from The Brunei Times: http://www.bt.com.bn/books-reviews/2010/04/25/writers-who-have-been-influenced-shakespeare

Kane, T. (2012, April 23). 10 Great Shakespeare-Inspired Songs. Retrieved from Paste Magazine: http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2012/04/10-great-shakespeare-inspired-songs.html

Kinos-Goodin, J. (2014, April 25). Popular songs inspired by Shakespeare. Retrieved from CBC Music: http://music.cbc.ca/#!/blogs/2014/4/Popular-songs-inspired-by-Shakespeare

Matthews, A. (2014, April 22). Top 10 Shakespeare books for children. Retrieved from The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2014/apr/22/top-10-andrew-matthews-shakespeare-books

O’Reilly, S. (2014, April 30). Top 10 novels inspired by Shakespeare. Retrieved from The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/apr/30/top-10-novels-inspired-shakespeare-herman-melville-patricia-highsmith

Peitzman, L. (2014, April 24). 15 Movies You Might Not Know Were Based On Shakespeare Plays. Retrieved from BuzzFeed Entertainment: https://www.buzzfeed.com/louispeitzman/movies-you-might-not-know-were-based-on-shakespeare-plays?utm_term=.ujOvjDExJk#.bu29A6mbNg

author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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