Greek Mythology and William Shakespeare

The aim of this article was to investigate what influence Greek mythology has had on Western society, more specifically regarding literature, while discussing the Ancient Greek writers, myths, and stories and how it was used by William Shakespeare. The thesis analyzes the British Renaissance and how William Shakespeare utilized classical writings to create his dramas, comedies, and sonnets and what techniques he used to do so (allusions, symbolism, plot-rewriting). The major part of the paper presents the impact of Greek mythology and Homer’s “Iliad” on Shakespeare’s less-known play “Troilus and Cressida”. The epic poem and the satirical tragedy are compared by the method of textual/literary analysis. A conclusion is made that, despite the similarity in topics and plot and partial coincidence of the major characters, Shakespeare’s masterpiece is a very different view on the same events.   

Keywords: Greek mythology, Shakespeare, allusions, symbolism