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William Shakespeare biography

William Shakespeare was an English dramatist and poet, his work comprises 37 plays, 154 beatiful sonnets and 2 narrative poems. He is considered to be the greatest of all dramatists all over the world

٭ He was born on 23. 4. 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. He was baptized in the Holy Trinity Church on 26. 4. 1564.
† He died on 23. 4. 1616 on the same place. He is buried in the Holy Trinity Church,
Stratford-upon-Avon, where a memorial records his death.

His mother Mary was the daughter of Robert Arden of Wilmcote, near Stratford. His Father John was a glover and leather merchant and he dealed with wool. He was well-respected in his native town. William was their youngest son (he had one sister and one brother) Shakespeare probably attended Strarford´s excellent free Grammar scholl, although no record of the fact exists. He married Anne Hathaway of the neighboring village of Shottery, when the church authorities gave permission for him to marry her on 28. 11. 1582. He was 18 years old and she was 26 and probably she was pregnant. On 26. 5. 1583 their daughter Susanna was baptized in Holy Trinity Church. Twins named Hamnet and Judith were baptized on 2. 2. 1585. Later he left Stratford and came to London.

Shakespeare was an actor as well as a writer and he was associated with a group of other actors that included the day´s leading comedian Will Kempe and a leading tragedian Richard Burbage. They were known, after their nominal patron, as the Chamberlain´s Men and after 1603 as the King´s Men. By the year 1592 Shakespeare was acting exclusively for this company. Shakespeare was part of a consorcium that in 1599 built and owned its home theater – the Globe Theatre. First he helped re-write older plays but later he started to write his own plays and he was very succesful. He wrote his plays exclusively for this company at the rate of about two per year. In 1611 Shakespeare went back to Stratford buying a large house where he lived with his daughter and his son-in-law until his death in 1616.

In the years 1593 – 1594 Shakespeare published two narrative poems – “Venus and Adonis” and “The Rape of Lucrece”. And there was and unauthorized publication the “Sonnets of Shakespeare” in the year 1609.

Shakespeare wrote his plays for performance, not publication and apparently took no part in their printing. Nineteen plays appeared in individual quarto volumes before appearing in the Firs Folio.

The First Folio is a collection of his plays – comedies, histories and tragedies that were published in the year 1623 by his colleagues John Heminge and Henry Condeil. Some of his plays were printed from texts reconstructed form the memories of the actors, other were supplied to the printer by the company. Shakespeare´s indifference to publication creates poblems in dating and establishing accurate texts for the plays. Shakespeare´s earliest plays performed between the years 1588 and 1593 already show the range of his formal dramatic interests. His first tragedy was “Titus Andronicus” (c. 1592 – 1594) For the tree parts of “Henry VI” (c. 1588) and for “Richard III” (c. 1593) he drew on histories of England by Edward Hall (1548) and Raphael Holinshed (1587). Shakespeare returned to this material between the years 1595 and 1600 to write four plays: “Richard II” (1595), “Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2” (1597 and 1598) and “Henry V” (1599) – that tell and earlier part of the history.
Shakespeare´s English history plays reflect the age´s horror at the idea of civil war and explore the responsibilities of divinely authorized kingship, pointing forward by implication to the reign of Elizabeth I. Shakespeare continued to alternate the writing of comedy (as he had an excellent sense of humour) and tragedy (he was a master of dramatic construction and language), although comedy is relatively more prominent in the last decade of the 16th century.
COMEDIES: The Comedy of Errors (c. 1588 – 1593), Love´s Labor´s Lost (1594),
The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night´s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing,
As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Two Gentlemen of Verone, The Taming of the Shrew
He presented the themes of love, friendship, human harmony and joy of life.
His greatest period was between 1600 – 1607 during which he wrote his most remarkable tragedies.
TRAGEDIES: Romeo and Juliet (c. 1595), Julius Ceasar, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Anthony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus (c. 1608)
They are about morality, sensitivity in the insesitive world, about good and evil, true and false visions, self-knowledge, progress of evil in man and responsibility. Shakespeare´s interest in experimentation complicates this division and resulted in a group of plays (c. 1601 – 1604) thath do not fit neatly inot either category:
“Troilus and Cressida”, “All´s Well That Ends Well” and “Measure for Measure”. These plays – and in some critical accounts, others, including “Hamlet” or “The Merchant of Venice” – have been called problem plays. Near the end of his career he experimented further in four plays now often called the romances: “Pericles”
( c.

1608), “Cymbeline” (1609 – 1610), “The Winter´s Tale” (1610 – 1611) and “The Tempest”. In them, psychological realism is subordinated to an interest in mythic patterns that incoporate both tragedy´s deaths and comedy´s wondrous reunions. He uses magic, mythology, folklore, symbols.

The richness of Shakespeare´s imagination and the subtetly with which he revealed the implications of thought and action, have made his plays endlessly amenable to reinterpretation by succeeding generations. The history of Shakespeare critism and of Shakespeare in the theater is therefore an important part of the cultural history of the modern world. During the early 17th century he was apprecited as a great entertainer. The 18th century there is a period in which the first attempts to establish good printed texts were made. During the 19th century, romantic poets and critics were especially attracted to Shakespeare´s psychologically complex characters. No one school of thought dominates 20th century Shakespeare critism, but interest in Shakespeare as a poet, which leads to close study of his language, complements interest in his plays as living works for the stage. William Shakespeare died on the same day as he was born and the legend says that he died after a louder and noisier birthparty celebration with his friends.

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