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William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Greatest playwright and writer of English language

Who was William Shakespeare?

Literature without Shakespeare is like an aquarium without fishes. Though it would have all the adoration and kinds, a look at it would tell you that it is lifeless and dead. The world’s greatest playwright and writer of English language, William Shakespeare has been conferred with the honour of being England’s national poet and ‘Bard of Avon’. An author of 38 plays and 154 sonnets, his work was much more appreciated by the world after his lifetime. Plays written by Shakespeare have been translated into every major language of the world and have been performed extensively than those of any other playwright. Interestingly, such a power profile of a prolific writer went under the knife many a times after his death. Since there is no substantial information regarding the birth, life and death of Shakespeare, his education and his ‘supposed’ literary connection, critics raised a controversy number of times as to whether or not he is the ‘real’ author behind the works, most of them believing that the work was written by someone else. Across his career, this literary genius has touched various genres of playwriting including comedy, romance, tragedy and history. A respected poet and playwright, it was only in the 19th century that Shakespeare’s reputation rose astronomically. While the Romantic considered him genius, the Victorians revered him. Even in the present 21st century, Shakespeare’s works are being studied and performed in various cultures. Without a doubt, he is the most prodigious and cherished contributor to the world of literature!

Who was William Shakespeare?

Literature without Shakespeare is like an aquarium without fishes. Though it would have all the adoration and kinds, a look at it would tell you that it is lifeless and dead. The world’s greatest playwright and writer of English language, William Shakespeare has been conferred with the honour of being England’s national poet and ‘Bard of Avon’. An author of 38 plays and 154 sonnets, his work was much more appreciated by the world after his lifetime. Plays written by Shakespeare have been translated into every major language of the world and have been performed extensively than those of any other playwright. Interestingly, such a power profile of a prolific writer went under the knife many a times after his death. Since there is no substantial information regarding the birth, life and death of Shakespeare, his education and his ‘supposed’ literary connection, critics raised a controversy number of times as to whether or not he is the ‘real’ author behind the works, most of them believing that the work was written by someone else. Across his career, this literary genius has touched various genres of playwriting including comedy, romance, tragedy and history. A respected poet and playwright, it was only in the 19th century that Shakespeare’s reputation rose astronomically. While the Romantic considered him genius, the Victorians revered him. Even in the present 21st century, Shakespeare’s works are being studied and performed in various cultures. Without a doubt, he is the most prodigious and cherished contributor to the world of literature!

Theatrical Beginnings

Before records which state the commencement of Shakespeare’s theatrical career, there is a period of seven years from 1585 until 1592, of which little or no information is known. While some speculate his involvement at the poaching game, others estimate his taking up the job of an assistant schoolmaster.

Though it’s not exactly known as to when did Shakespeare begin his writing career, records of performances show that his plays started to feature on the London stage by 1592.

A famous man by then, Shakespeare attracted the attention of both critics and fans alike. Robert Greene is one of the earliest critics of Shakespeare who was irked by Shakespeare’s attempt to match university-educated writers

Since 1594, almost all of Shakespeare plays were performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. The group, in no time, reached to the topmost position and became a leading playing company in London so much so that they bought their own theatre in 1599 and named it Globe.

Meanwhile, Shakespeare’s reputation as a playwright and actor grew by leaps and bounds to the extent that his name itself had become a strong selling point. The success of the company strengthened the financial stability of Shakespeare as well.

Post the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, James I awarded the company with a royal patent and changed its name to King’s Men. The group became immensely popular thereafter with several of Shakespeare plays published and sold as popular literature.

Shakespeare acted in numerous plays written by him and others, some of which include ‘Every Man in His Humour’, ‘Sejanus His Fall’, ‘The First Folio’, ‘As You Like It’, ‘Hamlet’ and ‘Henry VI’.

Stint At Poetry

The closure of the theatres during 1593 and 1594 due to plague led Shakespeare to try his hand at writing poetry. He came up with two poems during this time, ‘Venus and Adonis’ and ‘The Rape of Lucrece’, both of which were dedicated to Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton.

While ‘Venus and Adonis’ depicted the sexual advancement of Venus and eventual rejection of Adnois, ‘The Rape of Lucrece’, as the name suggests, presented the emotional turmoil of Lucrece who is raped by Tarquin. Both the poems gained extreme popularity and were often reprinted

Shakespeare then penned ‘A Lover's Complaint’ and ‘The Phoenix and the Turtle’. While the former gives a brief tale of a woman who is in anguish due to the attempts of seduction by her suitor, the latter mourns the death of phoenix and his lover.

Timeline

1593
Begins writing the Sonnets which were probably completed in 1597
1593
London Theatres close due to the Bubonic Plague (The Black Death)
September 3, 1592
Death of Robert Greene author of Groatsworth of Wit in which he complains about Shakespeare as an "upstart crow"
1592
Robert Greene's editor Henry Chettle made a public apology to Christopher Marlowe and Shakespeare for the Groatsworth of Wit
1592
Will leaves his home in Stratford upon Avon and starts to work in the emerging theatres
February 2, 1585
The baptism of Hamnet and Judith Shakespeare
May 26, 1583
The baptism of Susanna Shakespeare the first child of William and Anne born six months after their wedding
1583
Twins, Hamnet and Judith were born
1582
'William Shagspeare' as it was spelt on the marriage bond wed 'Anne Hathwey' - Anne Hathaway of Shottery, Stratford
April 26, 1564
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Patents

Further Resources

Title
Author
Link
Type
Date

BBC In Search of Shakespeare 1of4

Web

November 24, 2021

Documental: William Shakespeare biografía

Web

May 17, 2020

London in Shakespeare's time

Web

April 19, 2017

The King and the Playwright - Incertainties - Episode 1/3 - Shakespeare BBC Documentary

Web

April 10, 2021

The Life & Times of William Shakespeare

Web

December 18, 2019

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