As plays were reassessed by scholars, the canon of Shakespearean adaptations grew exponentially. Reinventions made the plays live anew in other media. Romeo and Juliet inspired the composers Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, and later Leonard Bernstein’s musical West Side Story. Macbeth, Othello and The Merry Wives of Windsor gave Verdi the plots for his operas. The song “Who is Sylvia” from Two Gentlemen of Verona was arranged by Franz Schubert.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream has inspired paintings, music, ballets, operas and films. This also happened at the level of character. In the 17th century, Henry IV was often called Falstaff.
OF COURSE, I HAVE MY OWN VERDI OPERA AND I’VE BECOME A TYPOLOGICAL FIGURE.
As Gary Taylor notes: “In this cultural environment Shakespeare’s artistic supremacy had ceased to be debated; it was simply assumed.” It has also inspired significant research into the 16th-century staging of Shakespearean plays.