Blame your English teacher!
If you are reading this, chances are, you had were taught by someone who got William Shakespeare and passed on his genius.
I was 13 years old when I was introduced to Puck and Helena and Hermia and that dips**t Lysander. 14 when I met Shylock (who remains my most admired hero - If you prick us, do we not bleed?
15 when, one winter's day (which meant rain and rain and rain in Northland in June), in the school hall, I watched Zeffrelli's Romeo and Juliet and fell in love with love and decided then and there that Romeo was a dick (a view I have never shifted from).
16 when I discovered Ms Herbert in the toilets during half time of the court theatre's production of Macbeth and realized even an adult felt - FELT - what I did: despair and sadness.
The only 'Shakespeare' I did at university was Antony and Cleopatra. Thought both characters idiots - confirmed when, in the early 2000s I put on a production at my local school. The only characters redeemable were the servants. The best line of the play which I quote often now in my dotage: my salad days, when I was green in judgement.
I began teaching in 1989. Since then I've directed so many productions of Shakespeare's plays (including the 15 minute versions of mine and Tom Stoppard's making) I've lost count.
From a declle two school to a decile ten school, I've done it. The kids get him. They get him if you reveal him in a way they can see him. And, when they do - they love him.
This year, my 13 year olds produced A Midsummer Night's Dream (as much in the 1950s as we could); In previous years, with various schools, I have directed said play set in the Cook Islands in the 19th Century; The Merchant of Venice in Wall STreet, 12th Night in the roaring 20s, Macbeth in a shearing shed....
And it is not just his plays but his poetry which nabs our teens. Sonnet 18. Shall I compare thee et al...
Hamlet. Othello. Lear. Richard the third. Much Ado..... I could go on but it doesn't matter because he covered it better than I ever could.
The man was a genius.