Shakespeare, William (1564-1616), the English poet and playwright, recognised in much of the world as the greatest of all dramatists.
His day of birth is traditionally held to be April 23; it is known he was baptised on April 24, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon. He died on April 23, 1616, and was buried in the Stratford church.
Although the precise date of many of Shakespeare's plays is in doubt, his dramatic career is generally divided into four periods: (1) the period up to 1594, (2) the years from 1594 to 1600, (3) the years from 1600 to 1608, and (4) the period after 1608. Shakespeare's first period was one of experimentation. His early plays are characterised to a degree by formal and rather obvious construction and often-stylised verse. Four plays dramatising the English civil strife of the 15th century are possibly Shakespeare's earliest dramatic works. This plays, Henry VI., Parts I., II., and III., and Richard III., deal with the evil results of weak leadership and of national disunity fostered for selfish ends. The Comedy of Errors, an uproarious farce in imitation of classical Roman comedy, depends for its appeal on the mistakes in identity between two sets of twins involved in romance and war. Farce is not so strongly emphasised in The Taming of the Shrew, a comedy of character. The Two Gentlemen of Verona depends on the appeal of romantic love. In contrast, Love's Labour's Lost satirises the loves of its main male characters. Shakespeare's second period includes his most important plays concerned with English history, his so-called joyous comedies, and two major tragedies. In this period, his style became highly individualised. The second-period historical plays include Richard II., Henry IV. Parts I. and II., and Henry V. Outstanding among the comedies of the second period is A Midsummer Night's Dream. Its fantasy-filled insouciance is achieved by the interweaving of several plots involving two pairs of noble lovers, a group of bumbling and unconsciously comic townspeople, and members of the fairy realm, notably Puck, King Oberon, and Queen Titania. The Merchant of Venice - The Renaissance motifs of masculine friendship and romantic love in this play are portrayed in opposition to the bitter inhumanity of a usurer named Shylock, whose own misfortunes are presented so as to arouse understanding and sympathy.
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William Shakespeare biography
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