William Shakespeare - Wikipedia, William shakespeare biography essay

William shakespeare biography essay

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While it’s difficult to determine the exact chronology of William 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.

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Sources from William Shakespeare’s lifetime spell his last name in more than 80 different ways, ranging from “Shappere” to “Shaxberd.” In the handful of signatures that have survived, the Bard never spelled his own name “William Shakespeare,” using variations or abbreviations such as “Willm Shakp,” “Willm Shakspere” and “William Shakspeare” instead. However it’s spelled, Shakespeare is thought to derive from the Old English words “schakken” (“to brandish”) and “speer” (“spear”), and probably referred to a confrontational or argumentative person.

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Although the amount of factual knowledge available about Shakespeare is surprisingly large for one of his station in life, many find it a little disappointing, for it is mostly gleaned from documents of an official character. Dates of baptisms , marriages , deaths , and burials ; wills , conveyances , legal processes, and payments by the court—these are the dusty details. There are, however, many contemporary allusions to him as a writer, and these add a reasonable amount of flesh and blood to the biographical skeleton.

When Shakespeare was a teenager, his family fell on hard times. His father stopped attending town council meetings in 1577, and the family’s fortunes began to decline. Matters were not improved in 1582 when Shakespeare, at the age of eighteen, hastily married Anne Hathaway, the twenty-six-year-old daughter of a farmer from the nearby village of Shottery. She presented him with a daughter, named Susanna, approximately five months later. In 1585, the couple also became the parents of twins, Hamnet and Judith. As was then customary, the young couple probably lived in his parents’ home, which must have seemed increasingly crowded.

Since the Romantic period the frank sexuality of Shakespeare’s Venus has held less appeal for literary critics and scholars than it had to Elizabethan and Jacobean readers. Lewis concludes in English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, Excluding Drama (1954) that “if the poem is not meant to arouse disgust it was very foolishly written.” In more recent years a combination of feminism, cultural studies, renewed interest in rhetoric, and a return to traditional archival research has begun to reclaim Venus and Adonis from such prejudice.

Shakespeare's early plays were mainly comedies and histories , genres he raised to the peak of sophistication by the end of the sixteenth century. In his following phase he wrote mainly tragedies , including Hamlet , King Lear , and Macbeth , Othello. The plays are often regarded as the summit of Shakespeare's art and among the greatest tragedies ever written. In 1623, two of his former theatrical colleagues published the First Folio, a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognized as Shakespeare's.

Town records indicate that William Shakespeare was John and Mary's third child. His birth is unregistered, but legend pins the date as April 23, 1564, possibly because it is known that he died on the same date 52 years later. In any event, William's baptism was registered with the town of Stratford on April 26, 1564. Little is known about his childhood, although it is generally assumed that he attended the local grammar school, the King's New School. The school was staffed by Oxford-educated faculty who taught the students mathematics, natural sciences, logic, Christian ethics, and classical languages and literature.

In his poems and plays, Shakespeare invented thousands of words, often combining or contorting Latin, French, and native roots. His impressive expansion of the English language, according to the Oxford English Dictionary , includes such words as: arch-villain, birthplace, bloodsucking, courtship, dewdrop, downstairs, fanged, heartsore, hunchbacked, leapfrog, misquote, pageantry, radiance, schoolboy, stillborn, watchdog, and zany.

In the second period Shakespeare wrote a number of comedies where he moved away from farce towards romance. In the third period, after 1600, appeared his major tragedies - "Hamlet", "Othello". They presented a clear opposition of order to chaos, good to evil.

Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime. However, in 1623 John Heminges and Henry Condell , two friends and fellow actors of Shakespeare, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio , a posthumous collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare's. [13] It was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson , in which Shakespeare is hailed, presciently, as "not of an age, but for all time". [13]

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William shakespeare biography essay

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william shakespeare biography essay
william shakespeare biography essay

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