William Shakespeare was a great English playwright, dramatistand poet who lived during the late sixteenth and early seventeenthcenturies. Shakespeare is considered to be the greatest playwright ofall time.
No other writer’s plays have been produced so many times orread so widely in so many countries as his. Shakespeare was born to middle class parents. His father, John,was a Stratford businessman. He was a glove maker who owned aleather shop. John Shakespeare was a well known and respected manin the town. He held several important local governmental positions.
William Shakespeare’s mother was Mary Arden. Though she was thedaughter of a local farmer, she was related to a family of considerablewealth and social standing. Mary Arden and John Shakespeare weremarried in 1557. William Shakespeare was born in Stratford in 1564. He was oneof eight children. The Shakespeare’s were well respected prominentpeople.
When William Shakespeare was about seven years old, heprobably began attending the Stratford Grammar School with otherboys of his social class. Students went to school year round attendingschool for nine hours a day. The teachers were strict disciplinarians. Though Shakespeare spent long hours at school, his boyhood wasprobably fascinating. Stratford was a lively town and during holidays,it was known to put on pageants and many popular shows.
It also heldseveral large fairs during the year. Stratford was a exciting place tolive. Stratford also had fields and woods surrounding it giving Williamthe opportunity to hunt and trap small game. The River Avon whichran through the town allowed him to fish also.
Shakespeare’s’ poemsand plays show his love of nature and rural life which reflects hischildhood. On November 28, 1582, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway ofthe neighboring village of Shottery. She was twenty-six, and he wasonly eighteen at the time. They had three children. Susana was theirfirst and then they had twins, Hamnet and Judith.
Hamnet,Shakespeare’s son, died in 1596. In 1607, his daughter Susana gotmarried. Shakespeare’s other daughter, Judith, got married in 1616. In London, Shakespeare’s career took off. It is believed that hemay have become well known in London theatrical life by 1592.
Bythat time, he had joined one of the city’s repertory theater companies. These companies were made up of a permanent cast of actors whopresented different plays week after week. The companies werecommercial organizations that depended on admission from theiraudience. Scholars know that Shakespeare belonged to one of the mostpopular acting companies in London called The Lord Chamberlain’sMen.
Shakespeare was a leading member of the group from 1594 forthe rest of his career. By 1594, at least six of Shakespeare’s plays hadbeen produced. During Shakespeare’s life, there were two monarchs who ruledEngland. They were Henry the eighth and Elizabeth the first.
Bothwere impressed with Shakespeare which made his name known. Thereis evidence that he was a member of a traveling theater group, and aschoolmaster. In 1594, he became an actor and playwright for LordChamberlain’s Men. In 1599, he became a part owner of theprosperous Globe Theater.
He also was a part owner of the BlackfriarsTheater as of 1609. Shakespeare retired to Stratford in 1613 where hewrote many of his excellent plays. There are many reasons as to why William Shakespeare is sofamous. He is generally considered to be both the greatest dramatistthe world has ever known as well as the finest poet who has written inthe English language.
Many reasons can be given for Shakespeare’senormous appeal. His fame basically is from his great understanding ofhuman nature. He was able to find universal human qualities and putthem in a dramatic situation creating characters that are timeless. Yethe had the ability to create characters that are highly individual humanbeings. Their struggles in life are universal. Sometimes they aresuccessful and sometimes their lives are full of pain, suffering, andfailure.
In addition to his understanding and realistic view of humannature, Shakespeare had a vast knowledge of a variety of subjects. These subjects include music, law, Bible, stage, art, politics, history,hunting, and sports. Shakespeare had a tremendous influence onculture and literature throughout the world. He contributed greatly tothe development of the English language. Many words and phrasesfrom Shakespeare’s plays and poems have become part of our speech. Shakespeare’s plays and poems have become a required part ofeducation in the United States.
Therefore, his ideas on subjects such asromantic love, heroism, comedy, and tragedy have helped shape theattitudes of millions of people. His portrayal of historical figures andevents have influenced our thinking more than what has been written inhistory books. The world has admired and respected many greatwriters, but only Shakespeare has generated such enormous continuinginterest. My source states explanations rather than opinions on whyShakespeare’s contributions to literature are so vast. My sourcedevoted thirty pages to William Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s plays are usually divided into three majorcategories.
These are comedy, tragedy, and history. Three plays whichare in the category of comedy are “The Comedy of Errors”, “TheTaming of the Shrew”, and “The Two Gentlemen of Verone”. Threeplays which are in the category of tragedy are “Romeo and Juliet”,”Titus Andronicus”, and “Julius Caesar”. In the category of history,three plays are “Henry V”, “Richard II”, and “Richard III”.