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Sample essay topic, essay writing: William Shakespeares Life - 1091 words
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William Shakespeare's LifeBy Paul Bleier William Shakespeare was a supreme English poet and playwright,universally recognized as the greatest of all the dramatists.A complete, authoritative account of Shakespeare's life is lacking; muchsupposition surrounds relatively few facts. His day of birth is traditionallyheld on April 23, and he was baptized on April 24, 1564. He was the third ofeight children, and was the eldest son of John Shakespeare. He was probablyeducated in a local grammar school. As the eldest son, Shakespeare would oftaken over his father's business, but according to one account, he became abutcher because of reverses in his father's financial situation. According toanother account, he became a school master.
That Shakespeare was allowedconsiderable leisure time in his youth is suggested by the fact that his playsshow more knowledge of hunting and hawking than do those of other dramatists.In 1582, he married Anne Hathaway. He is supposed to have left Stratford afterhe was caught poaching in a deer park.Shakespeare apparently arrived in London about 1588 and by 1592 hadattained success as a playwright. The publication of Venus and Adonis, The Rapeof Lucrece and of his Sonnets established his reputation as a poet in theRenaissance manner. Shakespeare's modern reputation is based mainly on the 38plays he wrote, modified, or collaborated on.Shakespeare's professional life in London was marked by a number offinancially advantageous arrangements that permitted him to share in the profitsof his acting company, the Chamberlain's Men, and its two theaters, the Globeand the Blackfriars. His plays were given special presentation at the courts ofQueen Elizabeth I and King James I. After about 1608, Shakespeare's dramaticproduction lessened and he spent more time in Stratford
There he established afamily in and imposing house, the New Place, and became a leading local citizen.He died on April 23, 1616, and was buried in the Stratford church.Although the precise date of many of Shakespeare's plays is in doubt, hisdramatic career is divided into four periods: (1) the period up to 1594, (2)the years from 1594 to 1600, (3) the years from 1600 to 1608, (4) the periodafter 1608. In all periods, the plots of his plays were frequently drawn fromchronicles, histories, or earlier fiction.Shakespeare's first period was one of experimentation. His early plays arecharacterized to a degree of superficial construction and verse. Some of theplays from the first period my be no more than retouchings of earlier works byothers. Four plays dramatizing the English civil strife of the 15th century arepossibly Shakespeare's earliest dramatic works. These plays, Henry VI, Parts I,II, III, and Richard III, deal with the evil results of weak leadership.Shakespeare's comedies of the first period represent a wide range. The Comedyof Errors depends on its appeal on the mistakes in identity between two sets oftwins involved in romance and war.
The Taming of the Shrew, The Two Gentlemen ofVerona, and Love's Labour's Lost are all comedies and satires.Next, Shakespeare's second period includes his most important plays aboutEnglish history. The second period historical plays include Richard II, HenryIV, Parts I and II, and Henry V. These plays deal with English kings who losetheir power to their successors. Outstanding among the comedies of the secondperiod is A Midsummer Night's Dream. It is fantasy filled and is achieved by theinterweaving of several plots involving two pairs noble lovers, a group ofbumbling townspeople, and members of the fantasy realm. Another comedy is TheMerchant of Venice which is characterized by friendship and romantic love. Thewitty comedy Much Ado About Nothing is marred by an insensitive treatment of itsmain character. Shakespeare's most mature comedies, As You Like It, and TwelfthNight, are characterized by a hilarious and kindly charm that depends upon theattraction of lovely heroines. The Merry Wives of Windsor is a comedy aboutmiddle-class life which contains a comic victim of the middle-class. One of thetwo tragedies of this period is Romeo and Juliet.
It is famous for its poetictreatment of youthful love, and dramatizes the fate of two lovers victimized byfeuds of their elders. The other, Julius Caesar, is a serious tragedy ofpolitical rivalries.Shakespeare's third period includes his greatest tragedy and his dark orbitter comedies. The tragedies of this period are the most profound of hisworks. Hamlet goes far beyond other tragedies of revenge in picturing themingled sordidness and glory of the human condition. Othello the growth ofunjustified jealously in the protagonist.
King Lear deals with the consequencesof the irresponsibility and misjudgment of an early ruler of Britain and hiscouncillor. The tragic outcome is the result of their giving power to their eviloffspring rather that their good offspring. Antony and Cleopatra with adifferent type of love, namely, the middle-aged passion of the Roman generalMark Antony for the Egyptian queen Cleopatra. In Macbeth, Shakespeare depictsthe tragedy of a basically good man, who led on by others, succumbs to ambition.In getting and retaining the Scottish throne, Macbeth dulls his humanity to thepoint where he becomes capable of committing any enormity. Three other plays ofthis period suggest a bitterness lacking in these tragedies because theprotagonists do not seem to possess greatness or tragic stature.
In Troilus andCressida The gulf between the ideal and the real, both individually andpolitically, is evoked. In Coriolanus, the Roman hero is portrayed as unable tobring himself either to woo the Roman masses or to crush them by force. Timonof Athens is a similarly bitter play about a character reduced to nothing byingratification. The two comedies of this period are also dark in mood. Ofthese, All's Well That Ends Well is less significant that Measure for Measurewhich suggests a picture f morality in Christian terms.Finally, the fourth period of Shakespeare's work comprises his principlestragedies.
Toward the end of his career, Shakespeare created several playssuggestive of a mood of final resignation in the human lot. These plays differgreatly than his other comedies, but ending happily with a reunion or finalreconciliation. The romantic tragicomedy Pericles, Prince of Tyre concerns thecharacter's painful loss of his wife and the persecution of his daughter. Aftermany adventures, Pericles is reunited with his loved ones. In Cymbeline and TheWinter's Tale, domestic complication are resolved by restoring loved ones.
Themost successful product of his creativity is his last complete play, The Tempest,in which the resolution suggests the beneficial effects of the union of wisdomand power. Two final plays include a historical drama, Henry VIII, and The TwoNoble Kinsmen, a story of two noble friends for one woman.Hence, from a poor family, Shakespeare emerged as a great playwright. Theodds were against him, but he rose to the occasion and wrote over 38 plays whichmade him famous throughout the world. He is still considered to be the bestplaywright that ever lived.
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