William Shakespeare’s Life, Plays and Sonnets

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Did you know that William Shakespeare wrote nearly 40 known plays, covering comedies, tragedies, historical plays, tragicomedies, and romances, and more than 150 sonnets? William Shakespeare was born in April of 1564 and passed away from an unknown cause in April 23, 1616. He was the oldest surviving child of John and Mary Shakespeare. While he was growing up, he was the big brother of five younger siblings three of them being brothers, Gilbert, Richard, and Edmund, and two of them being his sisters, Anne – who died at seven years old and Joan.

His father, Mr. Shakespeare worked as a leatherworker, specialized in the soft white leather used for gloves and similar items. William was a son of a leading Stratford citizen, almost certainly attended Stratford’s Grammar School. SGS, Stratford’s Grammar School’s curriculum consisted of an intense emphasis on the Latin classics, including memorization, writing, and acting classic Latin plays. Shakespeare attended school until he was fifteen years old.

When he was only 18 years old, in late 1582, he married Anne Hathaway. With it being a common situation for that time, Anne was already pregnant with their first-born child, Susanna. When they were ready to get married, William was eighteen years old while his bride was twenty-six years old. In early 1585, the couple had twins, Judith and Hamnet, completing their family along with their oldest, Susanna. Shakespeare’s only son, Hamnet, died in 1596 at the age of 11. Susanna, his oldest daughter married a well-to-do Stratford doctor, John Hall. William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright who is considered one of the greatest writers to ever use the English language. He is also the most famous playwright in the world, with his plays being translated in over 50 languages and performed across the globe for audiences of all ages.

Known colloquially as ‘The Bard’ or ‘The Bard of Avon,’ Shakespeare was also an actor and the creator of the Globe Theatre, a historical theatre, and company that is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. All of Shakespeare’s plays were near or in London, England around the time of 1590. William Shakespeare has written a lot of plays and poems including “A Midsummer Nights Dream” and “The Merry Wives of Windsor” The most famous top 10 tragedies are “Hamlet”, “Othello”, and “King Lear”. Shakespeare’s best-known poems are “The Sonnets”, were first published in 1609. In 1594, all of Shakespeare’s plays were starting to be printed.

His first printed play was “Titus Andromicos” because it appeared as a small, cheap pamphlet called a quarto because of the way it was printed. Only eighteen of his plays had appeared in quarto editions by the time of his death in 1616. In 1642, more than three plays were printed in quarto. By 1623, an expensive folio volume, which is a book or pamphlet made up of one or more full sheets of paper, thirty-six plays by Shakespeare was printed which most of those printed in quarto. Scholars have worked closely with these editions for more than 350 years, trying to establish what Shakespeare originally wrote.. He created his plays between about 1590 and 1614, and they began to be printed in cheap quarto editions in 1594.

Eighteen of Shakespeare’s plays had appeared in quarto by the year of his death, 1616. In 1623, Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies appeared in an expensive folio volume. This contained 36 plays and is now universally referred to as the First Folio. The quartos and the First Folio ensured that Shakespeare’s plays survived when they were no longer performed. These printed editions have been used since the 17th century by actors and directors to return Shakespeare’s plays to the stage. There is much debate among scholars about how the printed texts represent Shakespeare’s original plays.

Between about 1592 and 1604, Shakespeare wrote four poems as well as creating a collection of sonnets. These were printed in quarto editions between 1593 and 1609. Scholarly debate about the printed editions of the poems has focussed particularly on The Sonnets. William Shakespeare first made his appearance on the London stage, where his plays would be written and performed, around 1592, although the exact date is unknown. He was, however, well known enough to be attacked by critics in newspapers, and thus was considered to be already an established playwright. After the year 1594, Shakespeare’s plays were solely performed by a company owned by a group of actors known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, which became London’s leading company.

After Queen Elizabeth’s death in 1603, the company was given a royal patent that renamed it the King’s Men, named so after King James I. Shakespeare, along with a group of players that acted in his play, created his own theatre on the River Thames in 1599 and named it the Globe Theatre. After that, a record of property purchases and investments made by Shakespeare showed the playwright had become a very wealthy man, so much so that he bought properties in London and Stratford for himself and his family, as he spent most of his time in London. William Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays that scholars know of, with most of them labeled is comedies, histories, or tragedies. The earliest play that is directly attributed to Shakespeare is the trilogy of ‘King Henry VI,’ with Richard III also being written around the same time, between 1589 and 1591.

The last play was a collaboration, assumed to be with John Fletcher, known as ‘The Two Noble Kinsmen.’ Shakespeare often wrote play in a genre that was in vogue at the time, with his plays beginning with the histories, including the above-mentioned works as well as ‘Pericles,’ ‘King John,’ the dual volumes of both ‘Henry IV’ and Henry V, which were written at later dates. Shakespeare’s influence on art, literature, language and the vast array of the creative arts has long been known and documented. He is the most-read playwright in the Western Hemisphere, and the English language is littered with quotes and phrases the originated from his works. He is also the inventor of the iambic pentameter, a form of poetry that is still widely used today. Very little is known about William Shakespeare’s early years. In fact, his actual date of birth remains a mystery to this day! But it’s believed he had a good upbringing, attended a good school and enjoyed playing outdoors a lot. The types of themes of the plays are Macbeth. ambition, evil, order and disorder, appearance and reality, violence and tyranny, guilt and conscience, witchcraft and magic.

Romeo and Juliet. love and hate, fate and free will, life and death, youth against age, fortune. His most well-known works include Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth and Hamlet. Many people believe William Shakespeare is the best British writer of all time. His many works are about life, love, death, revenge, grief, jealousy, murder, magic and mystery. He wrote the blockbuster plays of his day – some of his most famous are Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet. Shakespeare’s plays portray recognizable people in situations that all of us experience at one time or another in our lives—love, marriage, death, mourning, guilt, the need to make difficult choices, separation, reunion and reconciliation among them. They do so with great humanity, tolerance, and wisdom. They help us to understand what it is to be human, and to cope with the problems of being so.

One hundred and fifty four sonnets are included in the volume Shakespeare’s Sonnets published in 1609. ‘A Lover’s Complaint’ first appeared in that same volume, after the Sonnets. Shakespeare published two long poems, among his earliest successes: ‘Venus and Adonis’ in 1593 and ‘The Rape of Lucrece’ in 1594. ‘The Phoenix and Turtle’ was commissioned to be included in a collection by Robert Chester called Love’s Martyr (1601). The Oxford edition of the complete works (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988) also includes as Shakespeare’s various poems including some songs (‘Shall I die, Shall I fly’) and epitaphs. Even though William Shakespeare wrote over 400 years ago, we continue to use words and phrases found in his sonnets and plays. You could be quoting Shakespeare without knowing it. Read on to learn more phrases that we attribute to Shakespeare’s plays.

The word ‘bard’ means poet. Shakespeare is called ‘The Bard’ because he is widely recognized as one of the greatest poets the world has ever known. In fact, he has come rather to symbolize poetry and writing internationally. In 1769 the actor David Garrick wrote ‘For the bard of all bards was a Warwickshire Bard’. This may well be the quote that started the nickname. The Plays of William Shakespeare. William Shakespeare, also known as the Bard, is responsible for some of the best plays and poetry ever written in the English language. His most well-known works include “Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth and Hamlet.”

To pay for it, they shared the lease with the five partners (called actor-sharers) in the Lord Chamberlain’s company, including Shakespeare. The Globe, which opened in 1599, became the playhouse where audiences first saw some of Shakespeare’s best-known plays. Shakespeare retired from public life in 1610, right after the bubonic plague began to subside its attack on London. This act was unusual for the time, but he was by no means less active. In fact, the playwright continued to make frequent trips to London to collaborate with other playwrights, such as John Fletcher, and to spend time with his son-in-law John Hall, who married his elder daughter Susanna in 1607. The playwright was an active dramatist and writer up until 1613 when the last of his great works was finished. From then on, Shakespeare spent most of his time in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he had purchased the second-largest home in town for his family.

William Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616, and was buried at the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford two days later, with a curse written on his tombstone to ward off those who would disturb his bones. He was 52 years old at the time of his death and was survived by his wife, Anna, and their two daughters. There are no direct descendants from Shakespeare’s line, as both daughters had children who did not make it to adulthood. Shakespeare was noted both for poetry and plays, with both mediums serving different needs; the plays were related to the theatrical fashion that was on trend while his poetry served to provide storytelling in erotic or romantic ways, culminating in a canon of work that is as diverse in language as the issues of human nature that the works portray.

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William Shakespeare’s Life, Plays and Sonnets. (2021, Mar 23). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/william-shakespeares-life-plays-and-sonnets/

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