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William Shakespeare Essay, Research Paper

This paper shall discuss those facts that qualify,

William Shakespeare, as a major contribution to our national

heritage. William Shakespeare is very world-widely known

because he is a famous English playwright and poet from the

1600?s. Events in William Shakespeare?s life played a major

role in shaping his attitude and writing skills for his

future profession. Certain people in his personal life also

played a major role by influencing his attitude and

writings. Romeo and Juliet, is a fine example of two

things; his understanding of real people and his talents for

writing. Shakespeare?s sonnets also show the wide scope of

his interests and talents. There are several reasons why

Shakespeare is enjoyed today, the use of real people as

characters and the way he chooses his topics to write about.

William Shakespeare?s life and lifestyle influenced his

writings and attitude. William Shakespeare?s birth date is

unknown because when he was born they didn?t record actual

birthdates but only the baptizing dates, and William Shake?

speare was baptized on April 26, 1564, in the Church of Holy

Trinity. The church where he was baptized was in

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, where he also lived for a

good portion of his childhood.

Shakespeare was the oldest son of John Shakespeare and

Mary Arden. Although, he was the third of eight children

born from this marriage. His siblings names, from oldest

to youngest, are Joan(1558-infancy), Margaret(1564-1563),

Gilbert(1566-1612), Joan(1569-1646), Anne(1571-1579),

Richard(1574-1613), and lastly Edmond(1569-1607). It is

unrecorded but highly possible that William Shakespeare and

family were all educated at the local grammar school, but as

the oldest son he ordinarily would have been apprenticed to

his father?s shop so that he could learn how to run it so

someday he could take it over. In the grammar school they

were to study Latin grammar, the study of logic, rhetoric,

composition, oration, versification, and monuments of roman

literature. Yet, he was supposedly apprenticed to a

butcher because of his father?s financial situation.

In 1582, William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway.

Shakespeare and Hathaway have been know to have left Strat?

ford after Shakespeare was caught poaching (back then

poaching was a local justice of the peace). They had a

daughter named Susanna in 1583, and boy/girl twins, Hamnet

and Judith in 1585. Hamnet unfortunately did not survive

for very long.

Shakespeare and his family arrived in London in about

1588, and by 1592 he had received success as an actor and

playwright. While in London, Shakespeare published two

erotic narrative poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of

Lucrece, and some of many sonnets. These few poems estab?

lished his reputation as the ?gifted and popular poet of the

Renaissance?. His ?professional? life in London was identi?

fied by the number of financial advantages he had received.

After about 1608, his dramatic production lessened and

he seemed to spend more time in his home-town,

Stratford-upon-Avon. By returning to Stratford, he was

relieving his family of their financial embarrassment.

Before his death he had become a locally known citizen.

William Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616, but at least

while carrying the name of ?world?s most popular author?.

As part of Shakespeare?s early education and influences

the Warwickshire country side cannot be ignored. Shake?

speare?s plays and poetry are full of images taken from

nature, gardening, farming, pursuits, and country folk?

lore. In Henry V, there is this description of the land:

Her vine, the merry cheerer of the heart,

Unpruned dies; her hedges even-pleach?d,

Like prisoners wildly overgrown with hair,

Put forth disorder?d twigs; her fallow leas

The darnel, hemlock, and rank fumitory,

Do root upon, while to coulter rusts,

That should deracinate such savagery;

The even mead, that erst brought sweetly forth

The freckled cowslip, burnet, and green clover,

Wanting the scyth, all uncorrected, rank,

Conceives by idleness, and nothing teems

But hateful docks, rough thistles, kecksies, burrs,

Losing both beauty and utility.

This type of learning was not out of books, but it could

only be taught by nature itself.

William Shakespeare supposedly wrote 38 plays, (in one

source it says 37), in the four periods of his dramatic

career. Shakespeare?s first period was one of experimen?

tation. His writings mostly consisted of the use of an

obvious contruction, and by stylized verse. A popular genre

of this period was the chronicle history plays. The plays

that dramatize the English civil strife of the 15th century

are Shakespeare?s earliest dramatic works. Shakespeare?s

earliest dramatic works are the plays; Henry VI, Parts I and

II, and III, and Richard III. In style, they relate to

medieval drama and partly to the works of earlier Elizabe?

than writers.

William Shakespeare also wrote some comedies during

this period. They are; The Comedy of Errors, a classical

Roman comedy, The Taming of the Shrew, a comedy of

character, The two Gentlemen of Verona, romantic love, and

lastly in this period was a romantic and scientific comedy

called, Love?s Labour?s Lost.

During the second period Shakespeare?s style and

approach became more of himself. This period includes his

most important plays which concerned with English history,

people called them his Joyous Comedies. The second periods

historical plays include; Richard II, Henry IV, Parts I and

II, and Henry V. Richard II is about a weak, sensitive,

self-dramatizing but sympathetic monarch who loses his king?

dom to Henry IV.

A lot of Shakespeare?s works were written and published

during this period. The poem, A Midsummer Night?s Dream, is

also found in the tragi-comedy area. Some names of works

done in this period are; The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado

About Nothing, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, The Merry

Wives of Windsor, Romeo and Juliet, and Julius Caesar.

Probably the most famous one out of all of these would have

to be Romeo and Juliet, it is famous for its poetic treat?

ment of the ecstasy of youthful love. Romeo and Juliet is

about the fate of two lovers victimized by the feuds and

misunderstandings of their elders and by their own hasty


The third period of William Shakespeare?s dramatic

career includes his greatest tragedies and his so-called

dark or bitter comedies. The comedies of this period are

said to be considered the most profound of his works, so

far. A conclusion that you can make from this is that his

works have gotten better each period. Hamlet, Othello, King

Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, Macbeth, Troilu and Cressida,

Coriolanus, Timon of Athens, All?s Well That Ends Well, and

Measure for Measure, are all plays that have come out of the

third period.

The final period of William Shakespeare?s work includes

his principal romantic tragi-comedies. Toward the end of

his career, Shakespeare created several plays that, through

the obstruction of magic, art, compassion, or grace, often

suggested redemptory hope for the human condition. These

plays are written with a grave quality that is very differ?

ent than Shakespeare?s earlier comedies, and these ones end

happily with reunions or get-togethers. Some examples of

the plays that are in the fourth period are; Pericles,

Prince of Tyre, Cymbeline, The Winter?s Tale, The Tempest,

Henry VIII and The Two Noble Kinsmen. One beautiful,

lyrical play that shows how Shakespeare?s poetic power

reached greater heights is, The Tempest.

Until the 18th century, Shakespeare was generally

thought to have been no more than a rough and untutored

genius. Rumor had it that his plays had actually been

written by someone more educated, perhaps statesman and

philosopher Sir Francis Bacon or the Earl of Southampton.

Some people still believe this rumor and therefore it is

still under debate now.22 Since the 19th century, Shake?

speare?s achievements have been more recognized, and

throughout the world he is has been known as the greatest

dramatist ever.

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