- Introduction and birth
- Shakespeare’s Lost years
- Career and his works
- Writing style
- His famous quotes
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and the one man in his time plays many parts.”
William Shakespeare was an English poet mystery, playwright and actor of the Renaissance era who is considered one of the greatest writers to ever use the English language. He was an important member of the King’s Men company of theatrical players from roughly 1594 onward. He is also the most famous playwright in the world, with his plays being translated in over 50 languages and performed across the globe for audiences of all ages known colloquially as“The Bard” or “The Bard of Avon,” Shakespeare was also an actor and the creator of the Globe Theatre, a historical theatre, and company that is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. Shakespeare’s writings capture the range of human emotion and conflict and have been celebrated for more than 400 years.
His birth records does not exist, but an old church record indicates that a William Shakespeare was baptized at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon on April 26, 1564. Shakespeare was educated at the King’s New School, a free chartered grammar school that was located in Stratford. There he studied the basic Latin text and grammar, much of which was standardized across the country by Royal decree. He was also known to partake in the theatre while at the school . As a commoner, Shakespeare’s education was thought to finish at the grammar school level as there is no record of him attending university, which was a luxury reserved for upper-class families.
Shakespeare’s Lost years –
In 1582, an 18-year-old Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway. After the birth of his twins in 1585, Shakespeare disappeared from public record until 1592, when his works began appearing on the London stage. These seven years are known as “Shakespeare’s Lost Years,” and have been the source of various stories that remain unverified, including a salacious story involving Shakespeare escaping Stratford prosecution for deer poaching.
William Shakespeare first made his appearance on the London stage, where his plays would be written and performed, around 1592. He was, however, well known enough to be attacked by critics in newspapers, and thus was considered to be already an established playwright.
After the year 1594, Shakespeare’s plays were solely performed by a company owned by a group of actors known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, which became London’s leading company.
Between about 1590 and 1613, Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays and collaborated on several more. His 17 comedies include The Merchant of Venice and Much Ado About Nothing. The most famous among his tragedies are Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth. Shakespeare also wrote 4 poems, and a famous collection of Sonnets which was first published in 1609.
Early Works and after 1600: Histories and Comedies –
- Henry VI (Parts I, II and III), Richard II and Henry V – Shakespeare’s first plays were mostly histories.
- Tragic love story Romeo and Juliet.
- Julius Caesar portrays upheaval in Roman politics that may have resonated with viewers at a time when England’s aging monarch, Queen Elizabeth I, had no legitimate heir.
- Comedies – the whimsical A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the romantic Merchant of Venice,the wit and wordplay of Much Ado About Nothing and the charming As You Like It and Twelfth Night.
- Other plays before 1600 include Titus Andronicus, The Comedy of Errors, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Taming of the Shrew, Love’s Labour’s Lost, King John, The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry V.
- After 1600: Tragedies and Tragicomedies- Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth. In these, Shakespeare’s characters present vivid impressions of human temperament that are timeless and universal.
- In Shakespeare’s final period, he wrote several tragicomedies – Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest.
- Other plays written during this period include All’s Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure, Timon of Athens, Coriolanus, Pericles and Henry VIII.
Writing Styles –
Shakespeare’s early plays were written in the conventional style of the day, with elaborate metaphors and rhetorical phrases that didn’t always align naturally with the story’s plot or characters.
However, Shakespeare was very innovative, adapting the traditional style to his own purposes and creating a free flow of words.
With only small degrees of variation, Shakespeare primarily used a metrical pattern consisting of lines of unrhymed or blank verse, to compose his plays. At the same time, there are passages in all the plays that deviate from this and use forms of poetry or simple prose.
While it’s difficult to determine the exact chronology of Shakespeare’s plays, over the course of two decades, from about 1590 to 1613, he wrote a total of 37 plays revolving around several main themes: histories, tragedies, comedies and tragicomedies.
Today, his plays are highly popular and constantly studied and reinterpreted in performances with diverse cultural and political contexts. The genius of Shakespeare’s characters and plots are that they present real human beings in a wide range of emotions and conflicts that transcend their origins in Elizabethan England.
Various famous quotes of william Shakespeare–
“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”
“A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool”.
“The empty vessel makes the loudest sound”.
“We are time’s subjects, and time bids be gone”.