Wednesday, July 8, 2009

William Shakespeare Essay

William Shakespeare was the greatest playwright the world has ever known. His talent with using the English language has never had any competition, not even today. With his wonderful talent he has produced thirty-seven plays. Although Shakespeare has died more than four hundred years ago he is still very famous around the world today.

William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in England. The people of England still celebrate his birthday today, it is known as the feast of St. George. He was the third child and the eldest boy of eight children. His parent’s names were John and Mary Arden Shakespeare. His mother came from a very wealthy family and his father was a glove maker and a tanner. At a time John Shakespeare became a mayor of Stratford, which allowed young William Shakespeare to attend a very good grammar school in his town. The school had highly qualified teachers who were very strict on disciplining the students. Students spent up to nine hours a day studying in school. During his grammar school years was when he got his first taste of what real plays were to look like. Shakespeare did not want to attend a University so at the age of fourteen he was withdrawn from school.

At the age of eighteen William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway who was almost ten years older than him. They got married on November 27, 1582. Together they had three children. The following year after their marriage their first baby girl, Susana, was born. Anne and William also had one set of twins; their names were Hamnet (boy) and Judith (girl). The twins were born on 1585. Hamnet only lived to be eleven years old because he was infected with the plague that was going around the city.

From the years of 1585 (after his twins were baptized) and 1592 not much is known about Shakespeare, these years are called “The Lost Years”. In 1592 Shakespeare left Stratford to London so he can pursue his career, which he was successful in doing so.

In 1592 was when he became well known by many people in London as an established playwright. Shakespeare was an actor, writer, director, and stockholder for a well-known theatrical company in London called Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Soon after he became known as a poet and a playwright and soon many theatres were calling upon him to write more plays. The company was very successful and popular simply because William Shakespeare was performing and working for them. He was the Company’s leading member. His company often performed plays for Queen Elizabeth and her court; they were always satisfied with the outstanding performances and scripts.

Shakespeare began to write poems when London authorities closed public theatres because of the fatal outbreaks of plague that were being exposed to everyone. During that time there was no need to write plays so he began writing poems that most Elizabethans considered more important that plays. In 1593 Shakespeare wrote his first long poem called, “Venus and Adonis”. The following year he wrote another poem called, “Rape of Lucrece”. Both poems were dedicated to Henry Wriothesley who was the Earl of Southampton, and they were both written at the time when theaters were closed because of the plague. The success of the poems did not lead Shakespeare into giving up writing plays. As soon as the Theatres reopened he began to write plays again.

Shakespeare also wrote sonnets, which gained some much popularity. His sonnets usually described the devotion of a character that was 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. All thirty-seven of Shakespeare’s plays have been divided up into separate categories, which are tragedies, comedies, and histories. By 1564 six if his plays had already been produced. In the late 1590’s was when many of Shakespeare’s plays were written. Although a lot of Shakesprear's sonnets are popular his reputation is primarily comes from his plays.

Shakespeare became fully involved in writing plays as soon as the theatres reopened. He wrote an average of two plays a year. During the years of 1594 and 1608 Shakespeare was London’s most popular playwright because of the number of times his plays were published and performed. The company that Shakespeare performed with, Lord Chamberlain’s Men who later became known as the King’s Men because they performed special presentations on a regular bases for King James I. He performed many times for him, more times that any other dramatist performed for him. They often performed in The Globe because it had barely been built. The play that was first performed in The Globe was the tragedy called, “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar”. After he produced that great tragedy many more were written. Some of his most famous tragedies are: “Hamlet”, “Othello”, “King Lear”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Macbeth”, and “Anthony and Cleopatra”. Many of which were performed for Queen Elizabeth after she had passed away. Some of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies are: “The Taming of the Shrew”, “The Comedy of Errors”, “As you Like it”, “Much Ado About Nothing”, and “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”.

Shakespeare referred to himself as a poet. After the Globe theatre was built Shakespeare began to really come out and started writing his best plays, which had new depth. He became a better observer, which also helped him to write his plays better. At one point William Shakespeare was granted a Coat of Arms from King James I. William Shakespeare was known as a gentleman and his plays showed a lot of violence and passion. The tragedies that he wrote gave insight to the way his life and thoughts really were. When he became more involved with his daughters it showed a lot in his plays and people were able to tell.

Many of Shakespeare’s plays and poems are based on the way life really is. Some of his themes were love, evil, war, heroes, and romance. Many of his characters also came from many different lives. Shakespeare had kings, generals, lovers, drunkards, and many other types of characters. Shakespeare understood people as few other artists have.

He was able to see in a specific dramatic situation the qualities that relate to all human beings. He created characters that had meaning beyond the time and place of his plays. All his characters are remarkable individuals. The all struggle just as people do in real life.

In 1608 Shakespeare’s productions lessened and he began to go back to Stratford to spend time with his family. The year of 1613 The Globe Theatre burned down during a performance of “Henry VIII”. The fire is what marked the end of Shakespeare’s career. Shakespeare retired as a wealthy man because his plays had brought him many riches. After he retired he bought a house for him and his family and called it the “New Place”, the house was huge.

Many people believe Shakespeare knew his death was near and it seems kind of obvious that he knew it was near because he wrote his will not even a month before he passed away. He wrote his will on March 25, 1616. The day of his birthday that same year was also the death of him, April 23, 1616. Shakespeare was buried at the chancel of the church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford, England. The cause of his death is unknown but some people believe that he attended a party and drank and ate too much and caught a fever. Seven years, in 1623, after his death William Shakespeare’s first portfolio was created. It contained all of his works, which were his 37 plays, 154 sonnets, and his two long poems. In 1939, the first Shakespearian play was made into a movie and several plays have been made into movies since then. Some of which are: “Romeo and Juliet” and “Hamlet”, but there are a lot more than that. William Shakespeare had passed away before and of his plays or poems were published or made into movies.

William Shakespeare is still known very well across the world. He is generally considered the greatest dramatist that has walked this earth. He is the world’s famous author and the finest poet ever to write in the English language. No other writes play’s have been produced so many times or translated in different languages to be read aloud in other countries, which explains why he is truly the most praised writer.
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