|Sir William Shakespeare|
Sir William Shakespeare
|Died||23 April 1616
|Occupation||Playwright, poet, actor, politician|
|Known for||Plays and poetry|
|Relatives||Sir Richard Shakespeare I (grandfather), Sir John Shakespeare I (great-grandfather), Sir Thomas Shakespeare (great-great-grandfather)|
Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
The course of true love never did run smooth.
William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 (baptised) – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet, and actor. He wrote 37 plays (with about half of them considered comedies) and two long poems in his lifetime. He lived in Stratford-upon-Avon, in Warwickshire, England. His plays are still performed today. He is often quoted in modern writing.
By 1594 he was an actor in The Chamberlain's Men acting company.
His plays are of different kinds, or genres. There are histories, tragedies and comedies. These plays are among the best known in English literature and are studied in schools around the world. Shakespeare wrote his works between about 1590 and 1613. He is considered the first writer who wrote a tragicomedy. (A tragicomedy is a play that has features from comedies and tragedies, there are hazards and difficulties, but the heroes are able to overcome all the difficulties that they face and the play ends happily.
Shakespeare's plays are written in poetic language. Many of the plays were set in places that would have seemed exotic to London audiences. His plays are still popular today for many reasons. His characters (the people in his plays) are interesting and talk about interesting ideas.
The stories he tells in his plays are often exciting, very funny (in the comedies), or very sad (in the tragedies) and make people want to know what happens to his characters. He says much about things that are still important today, like love, sadness, hope, pride, hatred, jealousy, and foolishness.
Life[change | change source]
He married Anne Hathaway, a woman eight years older than he was. He had three children, Susanna (married John Hall), Hamnet Shakespeare (died at the age of 11 due to unknown reasons) and Judith (married Thomas Quiney). By 1592 he had become an actor and was becoming well known as a writer of plays. At the time of his death in 1616, only some of his plays had been published in single editions. The plays were collected and published in 1623, seven years after he died. There is proof that people in Shakespeare's time thought highly of him. After his death, even his rival Ben Jonson said,
- "Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show,
- To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe.
- He was not of an age, but for all time!"
He was involved in the building of the Globe Theatre in 1599. It burned down a few years later. His plays are performed at a new Globe built nearby in 1997.
Marriage and sexuality[change | change source]
Although Shakespeare was married to a woman and fathered three children, Susanna, Hamnet and Judith, people have debated his sexuality. Some people, such as Peter Holland of the Shakespeare Institute at Birmingham University, have argued that Shakespeare was possibly bisexual because of some of the sonnets he wrote that were directed towards young men.
Who wrote "Shakespeare"?[change | change source]
About 150 years after Shakespeare died, some writers began to say that the work called "Shakespeare" were not really written by William Shakespeare. They had various reasons for saying this. For example, the person who wrote "Shakespeare" knew a lot about other countries (especially Italy and France), but William Shakespeare never left England. Several other writers of "Shakespeare" have been suggested, such as Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, and Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. Most scholars believe that William Shakespeare did write the works that bear his name. 
List of Shakespeare's plays[change | change source]
Shakespeare's tragedies[change | change source]
- Romeo and Juliet
- King Lear
- Titus Andronicus
- Julius Caesar
- Antony and Cleopatra
- Troilus and Cressida
- Timon of Athens
Shakespeare's comedies[change | change source]
- The Comedy of Errors
- All's Well That Ends Well
- As You Like It
- A Midsummer Night's Dream
- Much Ado About Nothing
- Measure for Measure
- The Tempest
- Taming of the Shrew
- Twelfth Night or What You Will
- The Merchant of Venice
- The Merry Wives of Windsor
- Love's Labour's Lost
- The Two Gentlemen of Verona
- Pericles Prince of Tyre
- The Winter's Tale
Shakespeare's histories[change | change source]
- King John (play)
- Richard II
- Richard III
- Henry IV, part 1
- Henry IV, part 2
- Henry V
- Henry VI, part 1
- Henry VI, part 2
- Henry VI, part 3
- Henry VIII
Lost plays[change | change source]
Shakespeare's tragicomedies[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
- "When was Shakespeare born?". Shakespeare Birthplace Trus. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/william-shakespeare-born.
- "William Shakespeare". poets.org. 2013. http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/122. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
- Vernon, Jennifer (April 22, 2004). "Shakespeare's Coined Words Now Common Currency". news.nationalgeographic.com. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/04/0419_040419_shakespeare.html. Retrieved March 27, 2011.
- Jonson, Ben 1996. "To the memory of my beloued, The AVTHOR MR. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE: AND what he hath left vs", in Shakespeare, William; Hinman, Charlton (ed.); Blayney, The First Folio of Shakespeare. 2nd ed, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, ISBN 0393039854
- "BBC News | ARTS | Painting sparks bard sexuality debate". BBC News (London: BBC). April 22, 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/1943632.stm. Retrieved March 27, 2011.
- Montagne, Renee (July 3, 2008). "Who wrote Shakespeare's plays? Debate goes on". Minnesota Public Radio. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/features/npr.php?id=92142217. Retrieved April 14, 2011.
Other websites[change | change source]
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