It is difficult to overstate Shakespeare’s influence on language and popular culture. After a while it becomes hard to tune him out; he’s on screen, in political speeches, in marketing campaigns, on The Simpsons. You try to escape, slither back into your pre-Shakespearean world for a moment; huddle up in front of a Disney film. Then someone pipes up, ‘Did you know The Lion King is based on Hamlet?’ This man, it seems, single-handedly changed the course of Western popular imagination. He gave us new words with which to express ourselves; characters that have proven immortal; thoughts on love and death that remain relevant.