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English

31May2016
ShakespeareNotes
HistoriansdontknowWilliamShakespearesrealbirthday,buttheydoknowhewas
baptizedonApril26,1564inStratforduponAvon,England.Peopleweregenerallybaptized
threedaysaftertheywerebornbackthen,sohistoriansbelieveWilliamShakespearewasborn
onoraroundApril23,1564.ShakespearesparentswereJohnShakespeareandMaryArden.He
hadtwooldersistersandthreeyoungerbrothers.ThereisntmuchrecordofWilliam
Shakespeare'schildhood,andevenlessinformationabouthiseducation.Scholarshavedecided
thathemostlikelyattendedtheKingsNewSchool.
WilliamShakespeare,onNovember28,1582,marriedAnneHathawayinWorcester,in
CanterburyProvince.WilliamShakespearewasonly18yearsoldatthetime.Theyhadthree
kids:Susanna,andthetwins,JudithandHamnet.Aftertheyhadtheirtwins,therewasaseven
yearperiodwherethewasnorecordofWilliamShakespeare.Therearemanydifferenttheories
ofwhytherewasthisgap.Oneofthetheoriesisthathewentintohidingbecausehepoached
gamebelongingtoalocallandlord.Anothertheoryisthathewasworkingasanassistant
schoolmasterinLancashire.
Therewasevidencein1592thatWilliamShakespearehadbecomeanactoranda
playwrightinLondonandcouldhavehadmanyplayspublished.Therearedocumentsthatshow
thatShakespearewasapartnerinTheLordChamberlainsMenintheearly1590s.TheLord
ChamberlainsMenwasanactingcompanyinLondon.AfterJamesIwascrowned,thecompany
changeditsnametotheKingsMen.Theircompanywasverypopular,andthereisevidencethat

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Shakespearehadworkspublishedandsoldaspopularliterature.Theaterculturewasntexactly
popularinthe16thcenturytothosepeopleofahigherrate,butmanyofthenobilitywerefriends
oftheactorsandsupportersoftheperformingarts.Shakespearewasnotonlyaverysuccessful
playwright,buteventuallybecameanoutstandingpoet.VenusandAdonis(1593)washisvery
firstpoempublished.
Shakespeareusedelaboratemetaphorsandrhetoricalphrasesthatdidntalwaysalign
withtheplotinhisplays.Shakespeareoftenusedblankversetocreatehisplays.Someofthe
passagesinhisplaysweresonnetsorotherformsofpoetry.Shakespearespoemswerecalled
sonnets.Theywere14lineseachiniambicpentameter(withtheexceptionofsonnet145),witha
rhymeschemeofABABCDCDEFEFGG,threequatrainsandacouplet.Manysoliloquiesshow
upinShakespearesplays.Shakespearemadehischaractersseemlikerealhumanbeingswith
flaws,insteadofstockcharacterswhichwascommonatthetimeandyearsbefore.
Shakespearealsowroteforeverytypeofperson,notjusttheupperorlowerclass.
Otherthan
RomeoandJuliet
,WilliamShakespearesfirstplayswerehistorieswrittenin
early1590s.Someexampleswere
RichardII
,
HenryVI
,and
HenryV
.Theseplaysdramatize
theterribleresultsofcorruptrulers.WilliamShakespearealsocreatedmanycomediesaround
thistime.Hehadromanticcomedieslike
AMidsummerNightsDream
and
MerchantofVenice
,
orcomedieswithwitandwordplaylikein
MuchAdoAboutNothing
.Hislaterworks(inthe
1600s)weremostlytragediesandtragicomedies.Hewrotethetragediesfirst,whichincludes
Hamlet
,
Othello
,
Macbeth
,and
KingLear
.Thesepaintthehumantraits,characteristics,and
flawsthatweseeeventoday.Themoralfailuresoftheprotagonistsintheseplayscreatetwists
andturnsintheplot,andendsupdestroyingtheheroandtheonesheloves.
RomeoandJuliet
alsofallsunderthetragedycategory,itwasjustoneofhisearlierplays.Thefinaltimeperiodof
Shakespearesplayswerehistragicomedies,whichincludes
Cymbeline
,
TheWintersTale
,and

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TheTempest
.Theseplayshaveagravertonethanhiscomediesandarentasdarkashis
tragediesbecausetheyendinforgivenessandreconciliation.
ManypeoplebelievethatShakespearediedonApril23,1616.Wedontknowthisfor
sure,butwedohaverecordofWilliamShakespearebeingplacedinatombatTrinityChurchon
April25,1616.TherehasbeenmuchcontroversytowhetherornotShakespearewasactuallythe
authoroftheseplays.ThankstotheStratfordgovernmentrecordandtheHolyTrinityChurch,
wehaveevidencethataWilliamShakespearelived,butnoneoftheseprovehewasaplaywright
oractor.Peoplehavemanytheoriestowhowrotetheseplays,buttheirmainargumentwasthat
Shakespearedidnthaveenougheducationortheliterarytrainingtowritetheplays.Although
thereareskeptics,themajorityofShakespeareanscholarsbelievethattheseweretheworksof
WilliamShakespeare.

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WorksCited
FreelanceWriting."TheWritingStyleofWilliamShakespeare."
FreelanceWriting
.N.p.,n.d.
Web.01June2016.

Mabillard,Amanda.
Shakespeare'sWritingStyle
.
ShakespeareOnline
.20Aug.2000.
May31,2016

"WilliamShakespeare."
Bio.com
.A&ENetworksTelevision,n.d.Web.01June2016.

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