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 Shakespeare did not want to attend a University so at the age of fourteen he was withdrawn from school.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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Hamlet Essay

In Shakespeare's Hamlet, the reader gets to know what has been called the "two Hamlets in the play," the first who is considered to be the sensitive intellectual who is able to express himself through poetry and who comes across as being dedicated to truth. The other, barbaric side of Hamlet who treats Ophelia so cruelly with no empathy, slays Polonius and speaks of dragging his guts into another room, and who sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to their deaths without any remorse. However, most interpreters of Hamlet see him as a "tragic hero" with a clear and sacred obligation to kill Claudius but due to his being a victim of great external difficulties, is unable to do so right away. Shakespeare purposely makes Hamlet out to be a procrastinator for one very important reason, if Hamlet would have quickly pursued this revenge, Gertrude, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Laertes, and of course Hamlet himself would have survived and Shakespeare would not have achieved tragedy in this play. There are many explanations for Hamlet's long delay, some of which include the physical act of being unable to commit the murder and what held him back, the fear of what would happen, the moral dilemma of taking the life of his uncle, his disbelief in the ghost, and his fascination with death.

The most important reason being that which physically held him back from committing the act. If Hamlet were to carry out what the Ghost told him and carried out immediate revenge, how would Hamlet have been able to convince the people that he justifiably executed an act of revenge. Another reason Hamlet procrastinates is that his psychological feelings confuse his ability to "confront his destiny." Hamlet's dilemma has little to do with what decisions he should take, but rather whether he will be able to make any decisions at all. Perhaps due to his excessive melancholy Hamlet became morally weakened and therefor lost his desire for revenge. As Hamlet states "my weakness and my melancholy"(II.ii.630) and his "wild and whirling words"(I.v.133) his mood shifts from deep depression to elation, which might explain his indecisiveness throughout the play. Hamlet is a man of talk.

He is imply unable to carry out actions which he wants to. In his own words, ". . .the native hue of resolution Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought."(III.i.84-85) Here it becomes clear that when Hamlet thinks he has finally made a decision, thinking about it causes him to change his mind or simply put it off. The one time Hamlet has the opportunity to kill Claudius and achieve his revenge is when Claudius is confessing his sins. Here, Hamlet does not kill him because if Claudius were to die right then, he would have gone to heaven. Something which Hamlet does not want to see happen. Of course, there are also moral roadblocks which prevent Hamlet from immediately acting upon the

Ghost's orders. According to Goethe's interpretation of Hamlet, he is "lovely, pure, and moral nature, without the strength of nerve which forms a hero." However, Goethe's compatriot, Schleger sees Hamlet having "no firm belief either in himself or in anything else, in the resolutions which he so often embraces and always leaves unexecuted, his weakness is too apparent.

His far fetched scruples are often mere pretexts to cover his want of determination. . .." Hamlet becomes the "creature of mere mediation" because of his overbalanced cognition. Hamlet always finds a way out of what he was about to do because he ends up thinking about it for too long. This leads him being known as a character whom is full of purpose, but lacks the quality required to accomplish that purpose. Most of these issues are simply due to Hamlet's over analyzation of morals. When Hamlet sees how promptly

Pyrrhus acted towards the death of his father in scene II, he promptly denounces himself as a coward and cries out for vengeance: Bloody, bawdy villain!

Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain! O, vengeance!(II.ii.608-610) it is at this point where Hamlet reveals his plan to "catch the conscience of the King." Again, however, even though he vows to sweep to his revenge, weeks pass and he has not even made an attempt.

Perhaps it is because of Hamlet's disbelief in the honesty of the Ghost which causes such hesitation in Hamlet's actions. Hamlet is called upon to execute private vengeance, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, even though this is contrary to all Christian teachings. Hamlet therefor, gets erratic because he is a man that believes in heaven and hell and whose ideals tell him that any man who defies divine ordinance ultimately must face judgement. Also, according to

Shakespeare, a Ghost is "a spirit damn'd" which would lead tot he idea that Hamlet should not take vengeance into his own hands. When Hamlet does accept what the Ghost tells him to be true, he ponders his thought for a long period of time, expecting to do the deed immediately, but instead drags it on until the end of the play. In the stress of powerful emotion, Hamlet makes a positive identification of the Ghost as "King, father; royal

Dane."(I.iv.45) Hamlet's hasty decision to accept the Ghost as his father, give him second doubts later on in the play. Hamlet's fascination with death played a large role in the delay of the death of Claudius. In act I scene ii, when Hamlet is alone he expresses his innermost thoughts and were it not against

God's law, he would commit suicide, because according to him, his world has become "weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable," but not only because he has just lost a king and a father, but because his mother has just married a man much inferior to King Hamlet, who got married less than two month after his death. In Hamlet's famous soliloquy he discusses how death would be the brave thing to do; To die; to sleep;- To sleep? Perchance to dream! . . .(III.i.64-68)

Yet at the same time Hamlet makes it sound almost like a fear; But that the dread of something after death, The undiscover'd country from whose bourn No traveller returns, puzzles the will . . ..(III.i.78-80) Then again if Hamlet has talked to the Ghost who has told him of the necessary purgatory why does he question it? Or perhaps, if Hamlet truly believes that death is an escape, he does not want to let Claudius escape, instead forcing him to live with himself and what he has done. Hamlet's fear does not play a vital role in the procrastination of taking revenge. The only major fear in Hamlet is that of being discovered. For this reason he plays the role of a madman so that whatever words flow from his lips will be easily disregarded. He must even convince

Ophelia of his insanity in order to make sure nothing is foretold. You should not have believ'd me, for virtue cannot So innoculate our old stock but we shall relish it. I loved you not.(III.i.118-120) Hamlet's fear drives him to explain how all of man is corrupted. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, no one can escape corruption. This fear drives him to obtain what he feels must be obtained; revenge. Fear is also what prevents him from acting upon the Ghost's wishes. He is afraid that if he acts too quickly, he will be unable to obtain enough evidence that he has justifiably acted upon revenge.

Warning!!! This is just a sample Hamlet essay (Hamlet essay example) which cannot be used as your own paper. You can contact our custom essay writing service which provides college and university students with high-quality custom written essays, term papers, research papers, thesis papers and dissertations on Hamlet topics.

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