The greatest single difference between the communicative methods of stage and cinema is that theatre is essentially a verbal medium foregrounding the spoken word, while film primarily communicates using visual techniques. Shakespeare has become the acknowledged leading playwright of English drama because his dramatic language, endowed as it so frequently is with imaginative verbal imagery, metaphor, and rhythmic word patterns, contributes powerfully to the creation and interaction of characters whose identities are often complex and rarely one-dimensional. Many people can enjoy reading a Shakespeare play for its literary qualities alone, just as one may gain pleasure from reading a novel or a poem. We now call those who write for the theatre ‘playwrights’, but in Shakespeare’s time, they were called ‘poets’.
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