Usually when we think of Shakespeare, plays like ‘Romeo and Juliet’ or ‘Hamlet’ come to mind. Let me suggest the masterpiece that is ‘Twelfth Night.’
You don’t need to be a Classics major or an expert in Ancient Mediterranean Cultures to appreciate Classical Myth. When I say Classical Myth, I don’t mean just Greek Myth – although it did make the biggest contribution. Classical Myth however, is Greek, Roman, Sumerian, and even Egyptian Myth, all of which shared Indo-European origins. These Ancient cultures and their myths have set the stepping stones for modern literature and storytelling as we know it today. Almost every trope, every story, every plot twist know to humanity has somehow – consciously or unconsciously – been inspired by Classical Myth. There is no such thing as a “new” idea; every story in fiction today is, in a way, an extension or a retelling of an older one. Ideas don’t just appear out of thin air, they’re slowly formed and executed.
Maggie O’Farrell is the twenty fifth recipient of the Women’s Fiction Prize for her novel, Hamnet, a fictional narrative of the life of William Shakespeare’s son.