SHAKESPEARE THE SCREENWRITER
Perhaps the reason that Shakespeare so often successfully translates to screen (certainly more successfully than his contemporaries, even Marlowe: there is yet to be a great screen Faustus or Tamburlaine) is that he was, arguably, the first screenwriter. For all his complex poetry and linguistic dexterity, Shakespeare often writes visually – in word-pictures. When we think of Hamlet, we think of the skull he holds; with Macbeth, the air-borne dagger; with Othello, the “green-eyed monster”. Perhaps that is why his 400-year-old plays provided such remarkable source material for cinema, the 20th century’s greatest art form, and continue to be explored and developed, even amid the multiplicity of 21st century screens.