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Transcript of William Shakespeare
As one of the greatest poet
and playwright in the English
history, Shakespeare awakens
in me a curiosity and
fascination: what is his history?
When did he starts to become
so famous? Why is his works valued so highly? What are they like? Below will be a summary on his general information along with his works.
William Shakespeare was the eldest surviving son of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden, both of landowning farmer background. His birth is observed on 23 April, for it is later
on the day of his death and also
St.George's Day, while the actual
birth date is unknown. He was
educated in a free school in Stratford with intensive grammar training. At the age of 18, Shakespeare married the 26-year-old Anna Hathaway in 1582. She gave birth to two daughters and a son, but the latter died of unknown cause at the age of 11.
For plays, Shakespeare's most celebrated comedies are:
A Midsummer's Night Dream
The Merchant of Venice
The Taming of the Shrew
Much Ado About Nothing
As You Like It
For tragedies there are :
Romeo and Juliet
There are also the histories, which are plays based on a certain historic event, among them are the Henry cycle, and the King Richard cycle.
Shakespeare was a poet too, though his poems are slightly less popular, they are generally admired.
Later Years and Death
It is not known when Shakespeare started writing, but by 1592, he started being attacked in newspapers by established playwrights, mainly accusing him of trying to rise above his rank. At first, his plays
were performed by the Lord Chamberlain's
Men, which soon became the leading
play company in London. They built
their own theater called the Globe by the river Thames in 1599. In 1603 King James I awarded it a royal patent and changed its name to the King's Men. They then took over the Blackfriars indoor theater. Reports show that these investments made Shakespeare quite wealthy.
Shakespeare died on 23 April, 1616. His direct family line was ended since all of his grand children died without marrying. He was buried in the
Holy Trinity Church, with a curse
against the moving of his bones. Monuments were built all over England to commemorate his contribution to the English literature.
Style and Influence
Shakespeare often used poetic blank verse, which though seldomly rhymes, is usually very fluent and
beautiful. He influenced
the English language,
theater, and general characterization greatly. For example, until Romeo and Juliet, romance was not considered a worthy topic for tragedies.
As You Like It
Oliver, the eldest son of the dead Sir Roland, decided to murder his younger brother, Orlando, who fled to the forest. Meanwhile, Duke Frederick decided to banish Rosalind, the daughter of his
already banned brother, Duke Elder. So she ran off with
her best friend, the Duke's own daughter, Celia, and they
left disguised as a young man named Ganymede and a
shepherdess. Duke Frederick ordered Oliver to find Celia
or never return. They all met in the forest unknowingly, and while Orlando confessed to Ganymede his passion for Rosalind, Oliver and Celia fell in love. Therefore the two girls revealed their true identity, and returned to civilization to marry.
The Merchant of Venice
Bassanio asked his friend Antonio for money so he can court Portia. Antonio, whose own money was invested on ships, went to a Jewish money lender, Shylock. Because of
a long-held grudge against Antonio, Shylock
precautioned that if the money was unpaid,
Antonio will need to pay with a pound of his
own flesh. After Portia and Bassanio resolved
to marry, they heard rumors that Antonio's
ships had wrecked and Shylock is asking for his pay. Portia, disguised as a lawyer, told Shylock that though he can take the pound of flesh, he must not shed any blood. Therefore Shylock had to give up upon his scheme. The play ended with Bassanio and Portia marrying, while news came that Antonio's ships had safely arrived.
Much Ado About Nothing
Claudio, a young nobleman, fell in love with Hero, and they decided to marry. But Don John, a bitter, illegitimate son, wanted to ruin their happiness and told his servant Borachio to make love with Hero's servant at her window
one night, and brought Claudio to watch. The
latter revenged by telling everybody of Hero's
supposed adultery on their wedding ceremony,
and abandoned her at the altar. Fortunately, the night watchman caught Borachio bragging about the scheme, and Hero was innocent again. The play ended with the lovers marrying.
Hamlet , Prince of Denmark, was visited by his dead father, telling him the now King Claudius, Hamlet's uncle, has murdered him. Hamlet decided to revenge, but his thoughtful nature delayed him, causing him to enter into deep melancholy and even apparent madness. Then a group of actors came, and Hamlet wanted to test his uncle's guilt by telling the actors to perform the murder of a king. During this King Claudius left abruptly. Hamlet followed to murder him, but on finding him praying, decided to avenge another time. The King, now fearing Hamlet, resolved to send him to England and be killed there. Hamlet, seeing through the scheme, went to confront his mother, and murdered the Lord Chamberlain Polonius by accident, thinking he is King Claudius. His daughter Ophelia, with whom Hamlet has fallen in love with, went mad with grief and was drowned in a river. Ophelia's brother Laertes came home from France, and challenged Hamlet to fence. Under the encouragement of King Claudius, he poisoned his sword blade, while the king poisoned a cup of wine he intends to give to Hamlet if he striked first. It turned out Hamlet did, but before he could drink, his mother took a sip and died. After which Hamlet was wounded by the sword but did not die immediately. He wounded Laertes with the same poisoned blade, and discovering the poison in the cup, murdered his uncle before dying himself.
Romeo and Juliet
Both were from two feuding noble families: Capulet and Montague, but because they were in love, they married secretly. Unfortunately when Romeo killed Tybalt, a Capulet, in a duel, he was banished from the kingdom. After which Juliet's parents wished her to be married to a noble lord named Paris. The girl drank a potion which would make her appear as if dead, and her conspirator, the frere, then delivered a letter to Romeo, explaining and telling him to come so they can ran off together. But before the letter arrived, Romeo heard from his page that Juliet is dead, and hurried back. Seeing his love in the crypt and without realizing she's in the spell of the potion, he first murdered Paris in a duel, then suicided. Juliet woke up from the trance, and finding Romeo dead, proceeded to kill herself. The play ended with the Montagues and Capulets repenting their past wrongs to each other.
"A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool"
"If you prick us shall we not bleed? If you tickle us shall we not laugh? If you poison us shall we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?"
"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages."
"To be or not to be, that is the question."