William Shakespeare is regarded as one of the greatest (if not, THE greatest) writers in the history of the English language, contributing some of the greatest plays and sonnets in all of human history. Despite living almost five hundred years ago, his work is still read by students in classrooms around the world and his plays have been translated into every major language. In honor of the Ides of March, which is mentioned in one of the most famous lines of his tragedy "Julius Caesar," we've collected tattoos from five of his most prolific plays and shared our thoughts on the legacy of each story. Take a look at the tattoos in the gallery below and let us know your thoughts on this story on social media.
"Romeo and Juliet"
In 1597, William Shakespeare's best known play debuted, "Romeo and Juliet." In this tragedy, two star-crossed lovers from feuding families from Verona, Italy meet, fall in love and ultimately end their lives, which in the end brings their families together. Over the years, the play has inspired a number of songs, ballets and of course, the treasured 1997 film "Romeo + Juliet" starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes as the titular characters.
In 1601, Shakespeare premiered his tragedy "Hamlet," which was his longest play at 30,557 words. The story is set in Denmark and follows the story of Prince Hamlet, who seeks revenge on his Uncle who murdered his father in order to obtain the throne. It contains one of the most quoted lines in all of Shakespeare's collective works, which is "Alas, poor Yorick!" which draws on one of the play writer's central themes: corruption.
Shakespeare took plenty of inspiration from true events for his plays, such as his 1599 tragedy "Julius Caesar." This play takes place in 44 BC and follows Brutus, who plots the murder of Julius Caesar, in order to prevent him from becoming dictator of Rome. The Ides of March directly correlates with this play, as March 15th is the date Caesar was assassinated and in the play, a fortune teller says to him "Beware the Ides of March."
In 1606, Shakespeare's "Macbeth" premiered and told the story of a Scottish general named Macbeth who was given the prophecy that he'd be King of Scotland one day by three witches. After being pursued by his wife, he murders the king and takes the throne. However, the guilt and power soon overwhelm him and he descends into madness. One of the most notable film adaptations of "Macbeth" hit theaters in 1971 and was Roman Polanski's first film after the murder of his wife, Sharon Tate.
Antony and Cleopatra
One of the last tragedies that Shakespeare wrote was "Antony and Cleopatra," which tells the tale of the epic romance between Roman general Mark Antony and Queen of Egypt Cleopatra, beginning with the Sicilian revolt and ending with Cleopatra's suicide by the bite of an Egyptian cobra. One of the most famous dramatic retellings of Cleopatra's story premiered in 1963 and starred Elizabeth Taylor as the titular character. The film features actor Richard Burton as Antony, who also played the protagonist in Broadway's 1964 run of "Hamlet."