"The Merchant of Venice" is a play written by the famous playwright William Shakespeare. It is currently believed to have been written between 1596 and 1599. The earliest recorded performance of the play took place at the court of King James in 1605. The next recorded performance, however, was not until 1701, when … [Read more...] about The Merchant of Venice
Born the son of a glove maker and a rich landowner in 1564, William Shakespeare did not grow up in poverty. He attended good schools and learned all the basics a well rounded young man of means required. But, studying all the great play wrights led to the stage. He was one of eight children and the oldest surviving son, so turning to a career in the theater would not have been what was expected of a well brought up Englishmen, but, Shakespeare was a bit of a rebel.
At the age of 18 he suddenly married 26 year old Anne Hathaway. Six months later they became parents of their first daughter, Susanna. Later they had twins, Judith and Hamnet, but young Hamnet died at the age of 11. Most scholars feel their marriage might not have been very happy. In his will, written days before his death, Shakespeare only left his wife his "second best bed". Whether his marriage was ideal, or not, his career as a playwright, director, producer and actor of plays was auspicious.
By the age of 28, in 1592, Shakespeare had already advanced enough in his career to get billing at a London theater. Only two years later, 1594, his plays were only performed by "Lord Chamberlain's Men", a troupe on the rise in London. Until her death in 1603 Queen Elizabeth I was his patron. She was a great fan of his work, and although she never visited his theater, he and his troupe gave private performances for her at the palace. After her death her heir King James I became his patron, and the troupe's name was then changed to "The King's Men". "Lord Chamberlain's Men" and later, "The King's Men" were very popular and successful. In 1599 they built the "Globe Theater" by the River Thames (which was destroyed by fire in 1613 and rebuilt in 1614) and in 1608 went on to take over the "Blackfriars Theater". Both theaters were closed in 1642 due to the start of the English Civil War.
Although some scholars question the complete authenticity of Shakespeare's plays, he is responsible for some of the greatest plays in history, including, but no where near limited to, "The Comedy of Errors", "Richard III", "The Taming of the Shrew", "As You Like It", "Romeo and Juliet", and "Julius Caesar" (rumored to be based on a Plutarch's Parallel Lives, translated by Sir Thomas North in 1579).
As an actor, Shakespeare often took to the stage to perform in his plays. He is said to have played the ghost of Hamlet's father and the part of Adam in "As You Like It." In plays by Ben Johnson, he is also listed on the cast lists for "Every Man in His Humor" and "Sejanus His Fall," among others.
The theater was Shakespeare's life. He had a hand in every aspect of it, from designing the building to choosing props. Even during the years of frequent outbreaks of Bubonic Plague in London between 1603 and 1610, when the theaters were often closed, he kept writing and working. Then on the 23rd of April in 1603, purportedly after a drinking binge, the world lost one of the greatest playwrights of all time. He was only 52 years old and had signed his will only a month prior. He was survived by two married daughters and a wife. Most of his estate was left to his oldest daughter, Susanna, with the stipulation that it be given to the 'first son of her body'. She had three children who all died without marrying, and his daughter, Judith one child who never had children, either. So, Shakespeare's (legitimate) line ended. But, not his legacy.
To this day, the plays of Shakespeare have been and are being performed all over the world. His plays are one of the most unifying forces throughout history. Dictators, saints, scholars and dunces can almost all recite at least one line from his plays. Admirers tour his grave sight in Holy Trinity Church to read his epitaph or curse, depending on how it's viewed, "Good Friend, For Jesus' sake Forbear/ To dig the dust enclosed here./ Blessed be the man that spares these stones,/ And cursed be he that moves my bones". When the restoration of the church was performed in 2008, his grave was not touched.
On Candlemas in 1602 Shakespeare's Troupe, "Lord Chamberlain's Men," performed the "Twelth Night or, What You Will". The next year brought on the death of Queen Elizabeth I and the reign of King James I when they became the King's Men. It was included in the First Folio and published in 1623. The play is a comedy of … [Read more...] about Twelth Night: Or, What You Will
William Shakespeare wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets. Amongst of his most famous tragedies is also Shakespeare's shortest tragedy "Macbeth". The plot follows up with the main character Macbeth, a strong and brave Scotland fighter who received many titles from the king. One day he met three witches who claimed he would … [Read more...] about Macbeth
The tragedy "Romeo and Juliet" is one of the most famous plays written by the English author, William Shakespeare. It's one of the most famous love-themed tragedies ever. It was the first tragedy ever written by Shakespeare. He wrote it in 1593 after completing his two comedies, which are less known nowadays. The piece … [Read more...] about Romeo and Juliet
"Much Ado About Nothing" is a play written by the revered English author William Shakespeare. The play is believed to have been written between 1598 and 1599 towards the middle of Shakespeare's career. It was first published in 1623 and has been regularly performed on stage since the 1600's. It has seen countless … [Read more...] about Much Ado About Nothing
William Shakespeare found his inspiration for his work in a lost play by Thomas Kyd. The plot is set in the castle Elsinore in Denmark, and it has 5 acts. The real meaning of "Hamlet" isn’t in the tragic destiny of the main character but meaningless of everything because Hamlet keeps on getting the readers to … [Read more...] about Hamlet
"The Tragedy of Julius Caesar" is play written in 1599 by the famous playwright William Shakespeare. The play is one of Shakespeare's most famous tragedies and is based on true events from Roman history. The story of the play is the story of the death of the Roman statesman and general Julius Caesar in 44 BC. The … [Read more...] about The Tragedy of Julius Caesar
"The Taming of the Shrew" was written by William Shakespeare about 1590 to 1592. The story begins with a ruse played on a drunk named Christopher Sly. Some hunters come across him passed out in the alley and decide to put him in a beautiful home and convince him his life as a bum was a dream and this is his real life. … [Read more...] about Taming of the Shrew
"King Lear" is a tragic play written by William Shakespeare in 1605. It is based off on a mythological story about a pre-Roman Celtic King named Leir of Britain. The play was performed for the first time on St. Stephen's Day in 1606. The ending was changed to be less tragic after the English Restoration of … [Read more...] about King Lear
"Othello" is a play, better said a tragedy, in which the main theme it Othello’s jealousy and revenge and the main motives are racism, love, jealousy, betrayal and fraud in the main conflict between Othello and Cassio. The plot is settled in Cyprus between 1489 and 1570. The objective narrator is in the third … [Read more...] about Othello