Here's an example.
Politician #1: "Martin Luther King had a dream that one day people wouldn't be judged by their race. I'd like to help make that dream a reality."
Politician #2: "I can't believe my opponent is comparing himself to Martin Luther King."
It doesn't take a genius level IQ to realize that politician #2 is being a dishonest jerk by employing a strawman argument. I hereby call this particular variant the "comparison strawman". Once you see it, you'll see it everywhere.
e.g. "Mutti" is to Merkel as "Iron Lady" is to ______
My suggestion was only to make the analogy tighter (nicknames of the first women leaders of major European nations, both long-serving and politically steadfast. In fact Merkel is sometimes also called 'Iron Chancellor').
Altho the 'teflon president' Reagan nickname doesn't have such as strong link as 'iron chancellor' to thatcher.
Shakespeare has become iconic, as a shorthand for literature, in the same way the Mona Lisa has become a shorthand for painting.
There is no Shakespeare without countless others before him. The plot for Romeo and Juliet he (brilliantly) adapted from Ovid. The use of blank verse he got from Marlowe. Theater was invented by Greeks.
That's not knocking Shakespeare in any way: every author is influenced by other, borrows, adapts, makes his own, and, if he's good, adds to it and inspires others in turn.
As for Thatcher, our views on her really have nothing to do with whether she should be in this quiz.
As for Shakespeare, the fact that many people might say something does not make it true. His perceived uniqueness today has probably more to do with Hollywood hegemony than with what he actually wrote. I'm willing to bet that there's a higher percentage of people who think he's the "most important of all time" among those who haven't read a single line he wrote than among those who did.
As for other cultures. Are you sure that the Italians would agree that Shakespeare is more important than Dante? That the French would agree he's more important than Molière or Hugo? That the Germans would put him above Goethe or Schiller? That the Greeks would put him above Homer? That the Russians value him above Tolstoi or Dostoievsky? Those are just some cultures I happen to know about.
I think the whole idea of "ranking" authors according to significance is flawed, and has some unpalatable undertones of colonialism to it (not that you meant it that way).
I think we more or less agree on a lot of points. In any case, it's been very interesting!
I will fully admit that I don't so much object to Shakespeare than to this idea that whole fields of art can be reduced to just one icon that is both the epitome and embodiement of the whole field, as if they could have existed without everyone else before and after them. The reduction of art to icons, where "Shakespeare" is often used as a shorthand for all literature, just as the Mona Lisa is used to signify "all art".
Neither you nor vomitingdiamonds have done this - but I've seen it often enough that I sometimes react to people who aren't even there ;-).