Shakespeare and Cervantes, Two Literary Styles

We all know that Shakespeare and Cervantes are two giant exponents of the universal pen, however, despite having been contemporaries, they come from very different cultural and historical contexts and their literary works reflect this.

Shakespeare V. Cervantes

Shakespeare is known for his treatment of human feelings and his ability to enter conflicts, his way of writing is unmistakable due to the depth of his characters and the complexity of his plots, because everything has a reason for being and nothing is left to chance. .
On the other hand, Cervantes is relevant because of his humor, his irony and his ability to create characters that conquer the reader from the first page, his sense of humor is bitter, mocking and always scathing.
Although Cervantes and Shakespeare led very different lives, they were contemporaries and died on the same date, April 22, 1616.
The Spaniard was born on September 29, 1547 in Alcalá de Henares, near Madrid, in a middle-class family, he had to go to war and as a soldier he was seriously wounded in the Battle of Lepanto, later, he was captured by Turkish pirates who they held him in captivity for five years.
On the other hand, the Englishman was born on April 26, 1564, in a wealthy family in Stratford-Upon-Avon, but he moved to London, to work as an actor and playwright from the age of twenty, in 1597 he had already published 15 of his works and in 1599 with his partners they built and opened the Globe Theatre.

Hamlet V. Don Quixote

Shakespeare in “Hamlet” creates a fascinating character in the figure of the Danish prince, who is immersed in an internal struggle after the death of his father, in this case the protagonist is trapped between revenge and mourning, logic and madness This makes him a very complex character, who represents the duality of the human mind, with a series of metaphors and images that convey the depth of the conflict that is being experienced.
On the other hand, Cervantes, in “Don Quixote de la Mancha”, describes an aristocrat who loses his mind after reading too many books of chivalry, with a degree of madness and innocence that leads him to believe that he is a knight-errant, undertaking all kinds of adventures. ridiculous. As we see Cervantes through Don Quixote, he shows us the ability of the mind to create alternative realities, as complex and profound as those of Hamlet.

Literary style

Shakespeare is characterized by using rhyme and verse to create a poetic effect on the reader, his characters speak in verse in dramatic moments, as can be seen in “Romeo and Juliet” or “Macbeth”, while Cervantes uses a language clear and direct, with humor and irony, which allows the reader to easily immerse themselves in the story, abounding in puns and cultural references that give his work a high level of depth.
There is no doubt that both writers had a great influence on their respective languages and left a lasting legacy in literature, despite the fact that their works are very different in terms of themes and styles. Cervantes with his satire and his ability to portray the Spanish society of his time, while Shakespeare with his tragedies and comedies that explore universal themes such as love, betrayal and power.


  • Cesar Leo Marcus

    Cesar Leo Marcus was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Doctor (PhD) in International Logistics and Foreign Trade, and Master (MBA) in Economic Sociology, he was professor of both chairs at the Universities of Madrid (Spain) and Cordoba (Argentina). A journalist, he publishes in newspapers in California, Miami, and New York. He is a writer, he published twelve books, and a literary editor, director of Windmills Editions. He currently resides in California.

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