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One in Eight Americans Recognizes 'to Be or Not to Be'

One in Eight Americans Recognizes 'to Be or Not to Be'

Happy birthday, William Shakespeare! In honor of The Bard's 450th birthday, YouGov Omnibus conducted a survey asking Americans whether they think Shakespeare is one of the greatest playwrights of all time. Results showed more than half (53 percent) of Americans surveyed believe Shakespeare is one of the best playwrights. 

According to the data, Americans have more than a fleeting awareness of the playwright. Nearly half of America (47 percent) has studied a play by Shakespeare in school or at college, and more than a quarter (27 percent) have seen the live performance of a play. 

Romeo and Juliet is the play most likely to have been studied by students (by 73 percent of those who had studied a play) and seen in performance (by 46 percent of those who had seen a live performance). The three most famous plays, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth, are known to at least three quarters of the population. One in eight (79 percent) had heard of the famous line "to be or not to be" and after four hundred years, 45 percent of those who recognized the line can correctly attribute it to Hamlet

Another well-known quote, "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo," was recognized by 79 percent. "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" was recognized by 58 percent, and "Beware the Ides of March" was recognized by 54 percent. The 96 percent who recognized "Romeo, Romeo..." as a Shakespearian quote managed to attribute it to Romeo and Juliet, and 66 percent correctly identified "Beware the Ides of March" as a quote from Julius Caesar

 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

 

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