William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare William Shakespeare, English playwright and poet recognized in much of the world as the greatest of all dramatists. Shakespeares plays communicate a profound knowledge of human behavior, revealed through portrayals of a wide variety of characters. His use of poetic and dramatic means to create a unified artistic effect out of several vocal expressions and actions is recognized as a singular achievement, and his use of poetry within his plays to express the deepest levels of human motivation in individual, social, and universal situations is considered one of the greatest accomplishments in literary history. William Shakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford-on-Avon. No knows the exact date of Williams birth, although we do know that he was baptized on Wednesday, April 26, 1564. His father was John Shakespeare, tanner, glover, dealer in grain, and town official of Stratford. Williams mother, Mary, was the daughter of Robert Arden, a prosperous gentleman.

On November 28, 1582, William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway entered into a marriage contract. The baptism of their eldest child, Susanna, took place in Stratford in May 1583. One year and nine months later their twins, Hamnet and Judith, were christened in the same church. In 1593, William found a patron, Henry Wriothgley, to sponsor him. During this time, he wrote two long poems.

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His first long poem, “Venus and Adonius”, was written in 1593. In 1594 he wrote his second long poem, “Rape of Lucrece”. In London, Shakespeare established himself as an actor who began to write many plays. Shakespeare worked “Lords Chamberlains Men” company which later became “The Kings Men” in 1603 after King James I took over. This company became the largest and most famous acting company, only because Shakespeare worked for them, writing all the plays they performed.

They performed these plays by Shakespeare in a well known theater which was called “The Globe” because of it s circular shape. Shakespeare left London in 1611 and retired. On March 25, 1616, Shakespeare made a will and, shortly after he died on April 23, 1616 at the age of 52. Many people believed that Shakespeare knew he was dying; however he didnt want anyone to know that he was. Certainly there are many things about Shakespeares genius and career which the most diligent scholars do not know and can not explain, but the facts which do exist are sufficient to establish Shakespeares identity as a man and his authorship of the thirty-seven plays which reputable critics acknowledge to be his. Since the 19th century, Shakespeares achievements have been more consistently recognized, and throughout the Western world he has come to be regarded as the greatest dramatist ever.

ACT I The plays opening lines signal a mood of tension, and they portend disaster for Egeon, a middle-aged merchant from the ancient city of Syracuse on the island of Sicily. The cities of Syracuse and Ephesus are openly hostile toward one another. Captured in Ephesus, Egeon has been condemned to death by the Duke, who urges him to tell the sad story of how he has come to this state. Along with his wife Emilia, identical twin sons both named Antipholus, and identical twin slaves both named Dromio, Egeon some years ago suffered a shipwreck. One son and slave survived with the father; the others, he hoped, survived with the mother.

Neither group knew of the others survival, however, nor of each others whereabouts, but when Antipholus of Syracuse turned eighteen, his father gave him permission to search for his brother. The worried Egeon then set out after his second son, and after five years of fruitless wandering, he came to Ephesus. Moved by this tale of sadness, the Duke of Ephesus gave Egeon a day, within which time Egeon must raise a thousand marks ransom money. Antipholus of Syracuse takes his leave of a friendly merchant and tells his servant Dromio of Syracuse to take the 1,000 marks he has with him to their lodging for safekeeping. Meanwhile, he tells Dromio hes going to look around the town. Soon Dromio of Ephesus, an exact look-alike of the other Dromio, enters and tells Antipholus of Syracuse, thinking he is Antipholus of Ephesus, to come home for dinner that his wife has been waiting. In no mood for joking around with the servant, Antipholus hits the uncomprehending Dromio on the head, as he walks off.

Antipholus then groans with the thought that a bondsman has just cheated him out of 1,000 marks. ACT II Antipholus of Ephesus wife, Adriana, debates with her sister Luciana on the proper conduct of authority in marriage. Lucianas conventional wisdom that men are masters to their females and their lords. Dromio breaks up the conversation with the complaint that his master has just hit him and demanded the return of a nonexistent thousand marks. The servants report of his masters words ” I know no house, no wife, no mistress,” send Adriana into a fit of anger.

Antipholus of Syracuse beats Dromio of Syracuse, this time, for his former ignorance, and warning him in the future to be sure precisely when the time is right for joking around. Dromio takes the beating completely dumbfounded about the reason for it. Then shortly after Adriana and Luciana see Antipholus of Syracuse and take him for Antipholus of Ephesus. The Syracusian Antipholus and Syracusian Dromio begin to doubt their senses. Their bewilderment follows quickly upon Adrianas long forgiving speech to her husband. Antipholus of Syracuse correctly explains that he has only been in Ephesus for two hours, and therefore he does not know who Adriana is. When Luciana recounts having sent Dromio to fetch him to dinner.

Antipholus of Syracuse becomes further confused, suspecting that his servant is in on a practical joke. By the end of the scene, however, both master and servant simply agree to play along with the rather pleasant madness of going to dinner with a beautiful women who thinks she is wife and mistress to them. ACT III Antipholus of Ephesus, together with his servant, a goldsmith, and the merchant Balthazar, try to gain entrance to his home but refused entry by Dromio of Syracuse. At balthazars warning that too much yelling outside his home may endanger his wifes honor into question. Antipholus is determined to get even with his wife so he walks over to the Inn where he knows of a lady of excellent discourse. Later in the house, Luciana entreats Antipholus of Syracuse to be kind to his wife even if he must be a hypocrite in the process.

He shocks Luciana by his response, that he likes Adriana but, is deeply in love with her. When Luciana runs off, Dromio of Syracuse enters to explain that he too is having problems with a member of the opposite sex. Master and servant, truly worried that witchcraft is involved, determine to set forth on the first available ship. Compounding matters at the end of the scene is Angelo the goldsmith, who delivers a gold chain to Antipholus of Syracuse, which he ordered for his wife. Antipholus of Syracuse refuses payment saying that he could settle it later.

Act IV A merchant anxious to go on a business voyage entreats Angelo to pay a debt he owes, but Agelo cannot pay until five Oclock when Antipholus is to give him the money for his gold chain. At that moment Antipholus of Ephesus enters with his servant, Dromio, whom he discharges to go buy a whip with which he plans to beat his wife with. Antipholus of Ephesus had ordered the gold chain, but as we saw in the previous scene it was Antipholus of Syracuse who received it. With the merchant anxious to depart tempers rise at the confusion. The upshot is two arrests: Angelo for non-payment of debt, and Antipholus for refusal to pay for his gold chain.

Adding further to the lunacy is Dromio of Syracuse, who arrives to tell Antipholus of Ephesus that he has booked passage for himself and his master on a ship scheduled to leave shortly. This naturally costs further suspicion onto Antipholus of Ephesus. Dromio of Syracuse then thinks his master is mad …

William shakespeare

William Shakespeare
The English dramatist and poet William Shakespeare was the author of the most widely
admired and influential body of literature by any individual in the history of Western
civilization. His work includes 36 plays, 154 sonnets, and 2 narrative poems. Knowledge
of Shakespeare is derived from two sources: his works and those remains of legal and
church records and contemporary allusions through which scholars can trace the external
facts of his life.


The poetry of the English Renaissance between 1580 and 1660 was the result of
a remarkable burst of energy. It is, however, the drama of the same period that stands
highest in popular estimation. The works of its greatest author, William Shakespeare,
have achieved worldwide renown. In the earlier Middle English period there had been,
within the church, a gradual spread of dramatic representation of such important events
as the angel’s announcement of the resurrection to the women at the tomb of Christ.The
Renaissance drama proper rose from this late medieval base by a number of different
stages ending about 1580. A large number of comedies, tragedies, and examples of
intermediate types were produced for London theaters between that year and 1642,
when the London theaters were closed by order of the Puritan Parliament. Like so much
nondramatic literature of the Renaissance, most of these plays were written in an
elaborate verse style and under the influence of classical examples, but the popular taste,
to which drama was especially susceptible, required a flamboyance and sensationalism
largely alien to the spirit of Greek and Roman literature. Only the Roman tragedian
Lucius Annaeus Seneca could provide a model for the earliest popular tragedy of blood
and revenge, The Spanish Tragedy (1594) of Thomas Kyd. Kyd’s skillfully managed,
complicated, but sensational plot influenced in turn later, psychologically more
sophisticated revenge tragedies, among them Shakespeare’s Hamlet. A few years later
Christopher Marlowe, in the tragedies Tamburlaine, Part I (1590), and Edward II
(1594), began the tradition of the chronicle play of the fatal deeds of kings and
potentates. Marlowe’s plays, such as Dr. Faustus (1604) and The Jew of Malta (1633),
are remarkable primarily for their daring depictions of world-shattering characters who
strive to go beyond the normal human limitations as the Christian medieval ethos had
conceived them; these works are written in a poetic style worthy in many ways of
comparison to Shakespeare’s.

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Elizabethan tragedy and comedy alike reached their true flowering in
Shakespeare’s works. Beyond his art, his rich style, and his complex plots, all of which
surpass by far the work of other Elizabethan dramatists in the same field, and beyond his
unrivaled projection of character, Shakespeare’s compassionate understanding of the
human lot has perpetuated his greatness and made him the representative figure of
English literature for the whole world. His comedies, of which perhaps the best are As
You Like It (1599?) and Twelfth Night (1600?), depict the endearing as well as the
ridiculous sides of human nature. His great tragedies— Hamlet (1601?), Othello
(1604?), King Lear (1605?), Macbeth (1606?), and Antony and Cleopatra
(1606?)—look deeply into the springs of action in the human soul. His earlier dark
tragedies were imitated in style and feeling by the tragedy author John Webster in The
White Devil (1612) and The Duchess of Malfi (1613-1614). In Shakespeare’s last plays,
the so-called dramatic romances, including The Tempest (1611?), he sets a mood of
quiet acceptance and ultimate reconciliation that was a fitting close for his literary
career. These plays, by virtue of their mysterious, exotic atmosphere and their quick,
surprising alternations of bad and good fortune, come close also to the tone of the
drama of the succeeding age.

The publication of Shakespeare’s two fashionably erotic narrative poems Venus
and Adonis (1593) and The Rape of Lucrece (1594) and of his Sonnets (published 1609,
but circulated previously in manuscript form) established his reputation as a gifted and
popular poet of the Renaissance (14th century to 17th century). The Sonnets describe
the devotion of a character, often identified as the poet himself, to a young man whose
beauty and virtue he praises and to a mysterious and faithless dark lady with whom the
poet is infatuated. The ensuing triangular situation, resulting from the attraction of the
poet’s friend to the dark lady, is treated with passionate intensity and psychological
insight. Shakespeare’s modern reputation, however, is based primarily on the 38 plays
that he apparently wrote, modified, or collaborated on. Although generally popular in his
time, these plays were frequently little esteemed by his educated contemporaries, who
considered English plays of their own day to be only vulgar entertainment.

Shakespeare’s professional life in London was marked by a number of financially
advantageous arrangements that permitted him to share in the profits of his acting
company, the Chamberlain’s Men, later called the King’s Men, and its two theaters, the
Globe Theatre and the Blackfriars. His plays were given special presentation at the
courts of Queen Elizabeth I and King James I more frequently than those of any other
contemporary dramatist. It is known that he risked losing royal favor only once, in 1599,
when his company performed “the play of the deposing and killing of King Richard II”
at the request of a group of conspirators against Elizabeth. In the subsequent inquiry,
Shakespeare’s company was absolved of complicity in the conspiracy.

After about 1608, Shakespeare’s dramatic production lessened and it seems that he
spent more time in Stratford, where he had established his family in an imposing house
called New Place and had become a leading local citizen. He died in 1616, and was buried
in the Stratford church.


Because of the difficulty of dating Shakespeare’s plays and the lack of conclusive
facts about his writings, these dates are approximate and can be used only as a
convenient framework in which to discuss his development. In all periods, the plots of
his plays were frequently drawn from chronicles, histories, or earlier fiction, as were the
plays of other contemporary dramatists.


First Period
Shakespeare’s first period was one of experimentation. His early plays, unlike his
more mature work, are characterized to a degree by formal and rather obvious
construction and by stylized verse.

Chronicle history plays were a popular genre of the time, and four plays
dramatizing the English civil strife of the 15th century are possibly Shakespeare’s earliest
dramatic works (see England: The Lancastrian and Yorkist Kings). These plays, Henry
VI, Parts I, II, and III (1590?-1592?) and Richard III (1593?), deal with evil resulting
from weak leadership and from national disunity fostered for selfish ends. The four-play
cycle closes with the death of Richard III and the ascent to the throne of Henry VII, the
founder of the Tudor dynasty, to which Elizabeth belonged. In style and structure, these
plays are related partly to medieval drama and partly to the works of earlier Elizabethan
dramatists, especially Christopher Marlowe. Either indirectly (through such dramatists)
or directly, the influence of the classical Roman dramatist Seneca is also reflected in the
organization of these four plays, especially in the bloodiness of many of their scenes and
in their highly colored, bombastic language. The influence of Seneca, exerted by way of
the earlier English dramatist Thomas Kyd, is particularly obvious in Titus Andronicus
(1594?), a tragedy of righteous revenge for heinous and bloody acts, which are staged in
sensational detail.

Shakespeare’s comedies of the first period represent a wide range. The Comedy
of Errors (1592?), a farce in imitation of classical Roman comedy, depends for its appeal
on mistaken identities in two sets of twins involved in romance and war. Farce is not as
strongly emphasized in The Taming of the Shrew (1593?), a comedy of character. The
Two Gentlemen of Verona (1594?) concerns romantic love. Love’s Labour’s Lost
(1594?) satirizes the loves of its main male characters as well as the fashionable devotion
to studious pursuits by which these noblemen had first sought to avoid romantic and
worldly ensnarement. The dialogue in which many of the characters voice their
pretensions ridicules the artificially ornate, courtly style typified by the works of English
novelist and dramatist John Lyly, the court conventions of the time, and perhaps the
scientific discussions of Sir Walter Raleigh and his colleagues.


Second Period
Shakespeare’s second period includes his most important plays concerned with
English history, his so-called joyous comedies, and two of his major tragedies. In this
period, his style and approach became highly individualized. The second-period
historical plays include Richard II (1595?), Henry IV, Parts I and II (1597?), and Henry
V (1598?). They encompass the years immediately before those portrayed in the Henry
VI plays. Richard II is a study of a weak, sensitive, self-dramatizing but sympathetic
monarch who loses his kingdom to his forceful successor, Henry IV. In the two parts of
Henry IV, Henry recognizes his own guilt. His fears for his own son, later Henry V,
prove unfounded, as the young prince displays a responsible attitude toward the duties
of kingship. In an alternation of masterful comic and serious scenes, the fat knight
Falstaff and the rebel Hotspur reveal contrasting excesses between which the prince
finds his proper position. The mingling of the tragic and the comic to suggest a broad
range of humanity subsequently became one of Shakespeare’s favorite devices.

Outstanding among the comedies of the second period is A Midsummer Night’s
Dream (1595?), which interweaves several plots involving two pairs of noble lovers, a
group of bumbling and unconsciously comic townspeople, and members of the fairy
realm, notably Puck, King Oberon, and Queen Titania. Subtle evocation of atmosphere,
of the sort that characterizes this play, is also found in the tragicomedy The Merchant of
Venice (1596?). In this play, the Renaissance motifs of masculine friendship and
romantic love are portrayed in opposition to the bitter inhumanity of a usurer named
Shylock, whose own misfortunes are presented so as to arouse understanding and
sympathy. The character of the quick-witted, warm, and responsive young woman,
exemplified in this play by Portia, reappears in the joyous comedies of the second period.

The witty comedy Much Ado About Nothing (1599?) is marred, in the opinion of
some critics, by an insensitive treatment of its female characters. However,
Shakespeare’s most mature comedies, As You Like It (1599?) and Twelfth Night (1600?),
are characterized by lyricism, ambiguity, and beautiful, charming, and strong-minded
heroines like Beatrice. In As You Like It, the contrast between the manners of the
Elizabethan court and those current in the English countryside is drawn in a rich and
varied vein. Shakespeare constructed a complex orchestration between different
characters and between appearance and reality and used this pattern to comment on a
variety of human foibles. In that respect, As You Like It is similar to Twelfth Night, in
which the comical side of love is illustrated by the misadventures of two pairs of
romantic lovers and of a number of realistically conceived and clowning characters in the
subplot. Another comedy of the second period is The Merry Wives of Windsor (1599?),
a farce about middle-class life in which Falstaff reappears as the comic victim.

Two major tragedies, differing considerably in nature, mark the beginning and
the end of the second period. Romeo and Juliet (1595?), famous for its poetic treatment
of the ecstasy of youthful love, dramatizes the fate of two lovers victimized by the feuds
and misunderstandings of their elders and by their own hasty temperaments. Julius
Caesar (1599?), on the other hand, is a serious tragedy of political rivalries, but is less
intense in style than the tragic dramas that followed it.


Third Period
Shakespeare’s third period includes his greatest tragedies and his so-called dark
or bitter comedies. The tragedies of this period are considered the most profound of his
works. In them he used his poetic idiom as an extremely supple dramatic instrument,
capable of recording human thought and the many dimensions of given dramatic
situations. Hamlet (1601?), perhaps his most famous play, exceeds by far most other
tragedies of revenge in picturing the mingled sordidness and glory of the human
condition. Hamlet feels that he is living in a world of horror. Confirmed in this feeling by
the murder of his father and the sensuality of his mother, he exhibits tendencies toward
both crippling indecision and precipitous action. Interpretation of his motivation and
ambivalence continues to be a subject of considerable controversy.

Othello (1604?) portrays the growth of unjustified jealousy in the protagonist,
Othello, a Moor serving as a general in the Venetian army. The innocent object of his
jealousy is his wife, Desdemona. In this tragedy, Othello’s evil lieutenant Iago draws him
into mistaken jealousy in order to ruin him. King Lear (1605?), conceived on a more
epic scale, deals with the consequences of the irresponsibility and misjudgment of Lear,
a ruler of early Britain, and of his councilor, the Duke of Gloucester. The tragic
outcome is a result of their giving power to their evil children, rather than to their good
children. Lear’s daughter Cordelia displays a redeeming love that makes the tragic
conclusion a vindication of goodness. This conclusion is reinforced by the portrayal of
evil as self-defeating, as exemplified by the fates of Cordelia’s sisters and of Gloucester’s
opportunistic son. Antony and Cleopatra (1606?) is concerned with a different type of
love, namely the middle-aged passion of Roman general Mark Antony for Egyptian
queen Cleopatra. Their love is glorified by some of Shakespeare’s most sensuous poetry.

In Macbeth (1606?), Shakespeare depicts the tragedy of a man who, led on by others
and because of a defect in his own nature, succumbs to ambition. In securing the
Scottish throne, Macbeth dulls his humanity to the point where he becomes capable of
any amoral act.

Unlike these tragedies, three other plays of this period suggest a bitterness
stemming from the protagonists’ apparent lack of greatness or tragic stature. In Troilus
and Cressida (1602?), the most intellectually contrived of Shakespeare’s plays, the gulf
between the ideal and the real, both individual and political, is skillfully evoked. In
Coriolanus (1608?), another tragedy set in antiquity, the legendary Roman hero Gnaeus
Marcius Coriolanus is portrayed as unable to bring himself either to woo the Roman
masses or to crush them by force. Timon of Athens (1608?) is a similarly bitter play
about a character reduced to misanthropy by the ingratitude of his sycophants. Because
of the uneven quality of the writing, this tragedy is considered a collaboration, quite
possibly with English dramatist Thomas Middleton.

The two comedies of this period are also dark in mood and are sometimes called
problem plays because they do not fit into clear categories or present easy resolution.

All’s Well That Ends Well (1602?) and Measure for Measure (1604?) both question
accepted patterns of morality without offering solutions.


Fourth Period
The fourth period of Shakespeare’s work includes his principal romantic
tragicomedies. Toward the end of his career, Shakespeare created several plays that,
through the power of magic, art, compassion, or grace, often suggest hope for the
human condition. These plays are written with a grave quality differing considerably
from Shakespeare’s earlier comedies, but they end happily with reunions or final
reconciliations. The tragicomedies depend for part of their appeal upon the lure of a
distant time or place, and all seem more obviously symbolic than most of Shakespeare’s
earlier works. To many critics, the tragicomedies signify a final ripeness in Shakespeare’s
own outlook, but other authorities believe that the change reflects only a change in
fashion in the drama of the period.

The romantic tragicomedy Pericles, Prince of Tyre (1608?) concerns the painful
loss of the title character’s wife and the persecution of his daughter. After many exotic
adventures, Pericles is rreunited with his loved ones.In Cymbeline (1610?) and The
Winter’s Tale (1610?), characters suffer great loss and pain but are reunited. Perhaps the
most successful product of this particular vein of creativity, however, is what may be
Shakespeare’s last complete play, The Tempest (1611?), in which the resolution suggests
the beneficial effects of the union of wisdom and power. In this play a duke, deprived of
his dukedom and banished to an island, confounds his usurping brother by employing
magical powers and furthering a love match between his daughter and the usurper’s son.

Shakespeare’s poetic power reached great heights in this beautiful, lyrical play.

Two final plays, sometimes ascribed to Shakespeare, presumably are the
products of collaboration. A historical drama, Henry VIII (1613?) was probably written
with English dramatist John Fletcher (see Beaumont and Fletcher), as was The Two
Noble Kinsmen (1613?; published 1634), a story of the love of two friends for one
woman.

Until the 18th century, Shakespeare was generally thought to have been no more
than a rough and untutored genius. Theories were advanced that his plays had actually
been written by someone more educated, perhaps statesman and philosopher Sir Francis
Bacon or the Earl of Southampton, who was Shakespeare’s patron. However, he was
celebrated in his own time by English writer Ben Jonson and others who saw in him a
brilliance that would endure. Since the 19th century, Shakespeare’s achievements have
been more consistently recognized, and throughout the Western world he has come to
be regarded as the greatest dramatist ever.

William Shakespeare

.. ctions and consequences. In Northrop a point of fact is made; Caesar influences the whole play, for he appears after his death as a blood stained corpse and as a ghost before battle (Northrop 28). Both Brutes and Cassias dying are conscious of Caesar; both men even speak to Caesar as if he were present. In other ways Julius Caesar is shaped differently from the histories and tragedies that precede, as if in manner as in subject matter Shakespeare was making decisive changes (Northrop 33). The scene moves only from Rome to the battlefield, and with this new setting, language becomes more restrained, firmer and sharper.

Extensive descriptive images are few, and single words such as Roman, humor, love, friend, and proper names arerepeated as if to enforce contrasts and ironies (Northrop 33). This sharp verbal edge linked with commanding performances holds attention. For example, exciting debates, conspiracies and crises, which include mob violence and as well as personal antagonisms lead to battle and many times death holds the readers attention (Northrop 34). In contrast to Shakespeares tragedies are his comedic writings. Comedies written between 1596 and 1602 have much in common.

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With the exception of The Merry Wives of Windsor all comedies are set in some imaginary country. A lioness, snakes, magic caskets, fairy spells, identical twins, concealment of sex, and the sudden conversion of a tyrannous duke or the defeat (off stage) of a treacherous brother can all change the course of the plot and bring the characters to a conclusion in which almost all are very happy and justice is found. Goddard states, Lovers are young and witty and almost always rich (Northrop 105). The action concerns wooing and its conclusion is marriage, beyond which the audience is scarcely concerned. In some ways these are intellectual plays with each comedy having a multiple plot and moves from one set of characters to another set. Shakespeare invites his audience to seekconnections and explanations.

Despite very different classes of people in different parts of the narrative, the plays are unified by Shakespears idealistic vision and by his implicit judgment of human relationships. Shakespeares characters are brought together with certain exceptions near the end of his writings. Perhaps the most extraordinary achievement of these comedies is the rapid changes in moods of his characters, from funny, then to dangerous, then sad and then a return to humor. Recurrent moments of lifelike feelings are expressed both eloquently in words and in actions that the audience shares. The idea that Shakespeares plays and poems were not actually written by William Shakespeare of Stratford has been the subject of many books and scholars, and this theory is widely regarded as at least an interesting possibility. Davidow said, The source of all doubts about the authorship of the plays rests in the disparity between the greatest Shakespeares literary achievement and his comparatively humble origin, the supposed inadequacy of his education, and the obscurity of his life (Davidow 57).

In Shakespeares writings, readers have claimed to discover a familiarity with language and literature, with such subjects as law, history,politics, and geography, include the manners and speech of courts. Opponents to the one-man theory of Shakespeares writings is regarded as inconceivable in a common player, the son of a provincial tradesman. The range of knowledge expected at that time period should have been created by a man with an extensive education, one familiar with royalty and nobles, as largely figure in Shakespeares works. Contemporary records have been regarded as incompatible with Shakespeares prominence and suggestive of a mystery (Zender 72), in that none of Shakespeares manuscripts has been evidential; they were destroyed to conceal the identity of the author. The first suggestion, that the author of Shakespeares plays might be Francis Bacon, Viscount of St. Albans, seems to have been made in the middle of the 19th Century, inquiry at first centering on textual comparison between Bacons known writings and plays.

Zender states, In the later 19th Century a search was made for ciphered messages embedded into the dramatic texts (Zender 74). Professional cryptographers of the 20th Century, however, have examined all the Baconian ciphers, have rejected them as invalid, and interest in the Shakespeare–Bacon controversy has diminished (Zender 76).Shakespeares popularity can be vividly noticed by his marked career as one of The Kings Men, and his gigantic success with dramas, comedies, and poetry. Let us not forget Shakespeares accomplished relationships as a husband, father, and friend. Shakespeares writings were meant for all to enjoy. However, if one lived during Shakespeares time and in that social structure, one might ask oneself about socially superior, inferior, or equal, since every aspect of ones behavior would be dependent upon social status.Nevertheless, there are all kinds of nuances in Shakespeares plays, tuning in on social distinctions that would take special effort to notice (Zender 23).

A safe assumption is that William Shakespeare was the most fascinating of Elizabethan authors whose works have graced and mesmerized stage and cinema throughout the centuries. Like most of Shakespeares contemporaries, he borrowed much from novels, older plays, history, mythology, and sources familiar surrounding this worldly writer. Shakespeares plays have been divided into three groups. His comedies represent a wide range of types, and time periods vary throughout individual plays. It was in tragedy that Shakespeare displayed his greatest genius, ROMEO and JULIET, HAMLET, MACBETH, OTHELLLO, and KINGLEAR must be ranked among the greatest tragedies ever written. For Shakespeares works have been read and played out for Kings and commoners alike. Yes, William Shakespeare was one of the most fascinating writers ever to be read throughout time (Davidow 26).WORKS CITEDDavidow, S Leonard.

The Comedies of Shakespeare. III: Chicago, 1955.Davidow, S Leonard. The Histories of Shakespeare. III: Chicago, 1955.Davidow, S Leonard. The Tragedies of Shakespeare.

III: Chicago, 1955.Goddard, C Harold. The Meaning of Shakespeare. III: Chicago, 1951.Groiler INC. Encyclopedia America. 1991 Ed.Northrop, Frye. Shakespeare.

Ontario: Markham, 1986.Zender, Thomas. Williams Shakespeare; the Facts. NY: New York 1966. Shakespeare Essays.

William Shakespeare

We know very little about Shakespeare’s life during two major spans of
time, commonly referred to as the “lost years”. The lost years fall into
two periods: 1578-82 and 1585-92. The first period covers the time after
Shakespeare left grammar school until his marriage to Anne Hathaway in
November of 1582. The second period covers the seven years of Shakespeare’s
life in which he must have been perfecting his dramatic skills and
collecting sources for the plots of his plays. “What could such a genius
accomplish in this direction during six or eight years? The histories alone
must have required unending hours of labour to gather facts for the plots
and counter-plots of these stories. When we think of the time he must have
spent in reading about the pre-Tudor dynasties, we are at a loss to
estimate what a day’s work meant to him. Perhaps he was one of those
singular geniuses who absorbs books. George Douglas Brown, when discussing
Shakespeare, often used to say he knew how to ‘pluck the guts’ out of a
tome” (Neilson 45). No one knows for certain how Shakespeare first started
his career in the theatre, although several London players would visit
Stratford regularly, and so, sometime between 1585 and 1592, it is probable
that young Shakespeare could have been recruited by the Leicester’s or
Queen’s men. Whether an acting troupe recruited Shakespeare in his hometown
or he was forced on his own to travel to London to begin his career, he was
nevertheless an established actor in the great city by the end of 1592. In
this year came the first reference to Shakespeare in the world of the
theatre. The dramatist Robert Greene declared in his death-bed
autobiography that “There is an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers,
that with his Tygers heart wrapt in a Players hide supposes he is as well
able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you; and, being an
absolute Johannes Factotum, is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a
country.” After Green’s death, his editor, Henry Chettle, publicly
apologized to Shakespeare in the Preface to his Kind-Heart’s Dream:
About three months since died M. Robert Greene, leaving many papers in
sundry booksellers’ hands, among other his Groatsworth of Wit, in which a
letter written to divers play-makers is offensively by one or two of them
taken, and because on the dead they cannot be avenged, they wilfully forge
in their conceits a living author….With neither of them that take offence
was I acquainted, and with one of them I care not if I never be. The other,
whom at that time I did not so much spare as since I wish I had, for that,
as I have moderated the heat of living writers and might have used my own
discretion (especially in such a case, the author being dead), that I did
not I am as sorry as if the original fault had been my fault, because
myself have seen his demeanour no less civil than he excellent in the
quality he professes. Besides, the diver of worship has reported his
uprightness of dealing, which argues his honesty and his facetious grace in
writing that approves his art.

Such an apology indicates that Shakespeare was already a respected player
in London with influential friends and connections. Records also tell us
that several of Shakespeare’s plays were popular by this time, including
Henry VI, The Comedy of Errors, and Titus Andronicus. The company that
staged most of the early productions of these plays was Pembroke’s Men,
sponsored by the Earl of Pembroke, Henry Herbert. The troupe was very
popular and performed regularly at the court of Queen Elizabeth. Most
critics conclude that Shakespeare spent time as both a writer and an actor
for Pembroke’s Men before 1592. The turning point in Shakespeare’s career
came in 1593.

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The theatres had been closed since 1592 due to an outbreak of the plague
and, although it is possible that Shakespeare toured the outlying areas of
London with acting companies like Pembroke’s Men or Lord Strange’s Men, it
seems more likely that he left the theatre entirely during this time to
work on his non-dramatic poetry. The hard work paid off, for by the end of
1593, Shakespeare had caught the attention of the Earl of Southampton.

Southampton became Shakespeare’s patron, and on April 18, 1593, Venus and
Adonis was entered for publication. Shakespeare had made his formal debut
as a poet. The dedication Shakespeare wrote to Southampton at the beginning
of the poem is

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