Life and Works of William Shakespeare

Life and Works of Shakespeare 



Life and works of Shakespeare


William Shakespeare was born of middle-class parents at Stratford-on-Avon, a provincial market town of some importance, at an uncertain date between April 24, 1563, and April 23, 1564. His parents were natives of Warwickshire. His father, John Shakespeare whose principal business was that of glover, rose high in civic life, becoming alderman in 1565 and bailiff in 1568, but later fell on evil days. His mother was Mary Arden. Shakespeare was educated at King Edward VI's Grammar School, Stratford, where he must have learnt a fair amount of Latin, if little or no Greek. He married in 1582 Anne Hathaway and his first child, Susanna, was baptized in May 1583, to be followed in February 1585 by twins, Hamnet and Judith. Susanna's daughter, Elizabeth was the poet's last direct descendant. 


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We have no certain information as to Shakespeare's life between 1584 and 1592. There is an early tradition that he stole deer from Sir T. Lucy of Charlecote. We know Shakespeare was in London by 1592 but not when he went there. During these years Shakespeare must have acquired the varied knowledge and experience of life shown in his plays.

The mention of Shakespeare in a death-bed letter of the play-wright Greene in September 1592 shows that as a writer for the stage, Shakespeare was just becoming a serious rival to the university wits- Marlowe, Peele, Nashe and Lodge. The years when the theatres were closed on account of plague gave time for the poems Venus and Adonis (1593) and Lucrece (1594), both dedicated to the Earl of Southampton. By March 1595 Shakespeare was a shareholder in the acting company of the Lord Chamberlain's men, who divided with the Admiral's men the command of the London stage from about 1594 to 1603. For this company, which later became the King's men, Shakespeare seems to have written during the rest of his career. After 1599 most of his plays were performed at the Globe Theatre. 

In 1596 Shakespeare obtained a grant of arms. In 1597 he bought New Place, a substantial house and garden at Stratford, but he is still found living in London in 1597, 1599 and 1604. Shakespeare occasionally appeared as an actor himself, chiefly before 1598.

About 1610 Shakespeare retired to Stratford, and he wrote no more after 1613. He took no part in civic life, and died on 23 April 1616. There is no reason to reject the report that he died of fever contracted from drinking too hard at a merry meeting with Drayton and Ben Jonson. The family is extinct. 

Shakespeare's Sonnets:

Shakespeare probably wrote his sonnets between 1595 and 1600, but they were not printed till 1609. Shakespeare is the greatest sonneteer in English literature not only of the Elizabethan Age but of all ages. Ben Jonson rightly says, "Shakespeare is not of an age, but of all ages, not of one country but of all countries." Dryden says, "He was the man, who of all modern, and perhaps ancient poets, had the largest and most comprehensive soul." In all he wrote one hundred and fifty-four sonnets. Of course, sonnets numbering from one to one hundred and twenty-six have been addressed to his friend and patron, perhaps Earl of Southampton, sonnets numbering one hundred and twenty-seven to one hundred and fifty-two have been addressed to a dark lady, perhaps Mary Fitton and sonnets numbering one hundred and fifty-three to one hundred and fifty-four have been addressed to Cupid, the God of love. Now, in all these sonnets, we notice excellent imageries which the poet has used to express his thought clearly. 

Shakespeare's Plays:

Comedies:

● All's Well That Ends Well (1602-03)  ● As You Like It (1599 - 1600)  ● Comedy of Errors (1592 - 93)  ● Love's Labour's Lost (1594 - 95)  ● Measure for Measure (1604 - 05)  ● The Merchant of Venice (1596 - 97)  ● Merry Wives of Windsor (1600 - 01)  ● A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595 - 96)  ● Much Ado About Nothing (1598 - 99)  ● Taming of the Strew (1593 - 94)  ● Tempest (1611 - 12)  ● Twelfth Night (1599 - 1600)  ● Two Gentlemen of Verona (1594 - 95)  ● Winter's Tale (1610 - 11)

Histories:

● Henry IV (Part I)  ● Henry IV (Part II) (1597- 98)  ● Henry V (1598 - 99)  ● Henry VI (Part I)  ● Henry VI (Part II)  ● Henry VI (Part III) (1590 - 92)  ● Henry VIII (1612 -13)  ● King John (1596 - 97)  ● Pericles (1608 - 09)  ● Richard II (1595 - 96)  ● Richard III (1592 - 93)

Tragedies:

● Antony and Cleopatra (1606 - 07)  ● Coriolanus (1607 - 08)  ● Cymbeline (1609 - 10)  ● Hamlet (1600 - 01)  ● Julius Caesar (1599 - 1600)  ● King Lear (1605 - 05)  ● Macbeth (1605 - 06)  ● Othello (1604 - 05)  ● Romeo and Juliet (1594 - 95)  ● Timon of Athens (1607 - 08)  ● Titus Andronicus (1593 - 94)  ● Troilus and Cressida (1601 - 02)

Shakespeare's Poems:

● Lover's Complaint (1609)  ● Passionate Pilgrim (1598)  ● Phoenix and the Turtle (1601)  ● The Rape of Lucrece (1594)  ● Venus and Adonis (1593)


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