William was born at Strattford upon Avon in April 1564. He was the third child of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden. His father was one of the most prosperous men of Strattford and William attended the local grammar school. In December 1583, Shakespeare married Ann Hathaway, daughter of a farmer. Their first child Susanna was baptized in 1583 and twins Hamnet and Judith in 1585. Hamnet died at the age of 11.
Little of Shakespeare’s life is known until 1592 when he came to London and joined a group of actors known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, which became the King’s Men under the patronage of James I. In 1599 he bought the Globe Theatre. First he helped adapt of rewrite older plays but later he started to write his own plays and he was very successful. Both the Queen Elizabeth I and James I liked him very much. His plays were first published in 1623. After acting and writing he went back to Strattford and lived a quiet life with his family. He made fortune so he could buy a new fine house in Strattford. He died on the same day as he was born (23rd April). The legend says that he died after a louder and noisier birthday celebration with his friends. He is buried at local Trinity Church. There are only two portraits of Shakespeare, which are authentic, and one of them is the bust in Strattford at Trinity Church.
Shakespeare wrote 37 plays and beautiful sonnets. His mastery lies in his human vision which recognize the complexity of moral questions and in the richness of his language. He wrote comedies, history plays and tragedies.
Comedies: The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer-Night’s Dream, As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew, The Comedy of Errors.
History plays: Henry IV, Henry V, Richard III
Tragedies: Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello
Romeo and Juliet
is about unhappy love and death of Romeo and Juliet, the only children of two powerful houses of Verona – the House of Montague and the House of Capulet. These two houses hate each other and Romeo Montague meets Juliet at the ball. He fells in love with her although he knows she is Capulet. They love each other very much and ask Friar Laurence to marry them. Their love and marriage are secret and by an unfortunate coincidence Romeo kills Tybalt who is Juliet’s cousin. Prince of Verona sends Romeo to the exile outside Verona and young Juliet is forced to get married to a young nobleman called Paris. She asks Friar Laurence for help again and he gives her magic drops after which she fells asleep for several hours and looks as if she was dead. Romeo learns about Juliet’s death but he doesn’t know about the trick and kills himself. Soon after that Juliet wakes up and when she sees Romeo dead, she kills herself too. Both Montague and Capulet Houses reconcile only after the death of their beloved children.
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20, William Shakespeare
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616)
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