Friends, Countrymen: It's Shakespeare's Birthday

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript

It's believed that William Shakespeare was born on this day 445 years ago. To mark the day, people in Chicago are being asked by Mayor Richard Daley to talk like Shakespeare.


There is no theatrical personality who's adapted better to changing times than William Shakespeare, which is why today we're celebrating his 445th birthday. And to mark the day, the Mayor of Chicago, a real theater town, is urging the city's citizens to talk like Shakespeare. The fact is, we talk like the bard all the time. Consider these expressions, tiny jewels from Shakespeare's plays that have worked their way into everyday language: one fell swoop, come what may, milk of human kindness - all thanks to "Macbeth." From "Othello": neither here nor there, and my heart upon my sleeve.

"Hamlet" offers language for a look within - say, in my heart of hearts, and in my mind's eye. And from "Cymbeline," a line near and dear to us here at MORNING EDITION: I have not slept one wink.

So we come full circle, as Shakespeare wrote in "King Lear," and bid you good morning. And as we know, along with "Romeo and Juliet," parting is such sweet sorrow.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.