William Shakespeare Essay, Research Paper
This paper shall discuss those facts that qualify,
William Shakespeare, as a major contribution to our national
heritage. William Shakespeare is very world-widely known
because he is a famous English playwright and poet from the
1600?s. Events in William Shakespeare?s life played a major
role in shaping his attitude and writing skills for his
future profession. Certain people in his personal life also
played a major role by influencing his attitude and
writings. Romeo and Juliet, is a fine example of two
things; his understanding of real people and his talents for
writing. Shakespeare?s sonnets also show the wide scope of
his interests and talents. There are several reasons why
Shakespeare is enjoyed today, the use of real people as
characters and the way he chooses his topics to write about.
William Shakespeare?s life and lifestyle influenced his
writings and attitude. William Shakespeare?s birth date is
unknown because when he was born they didn?t record actual
birthdates but only the baptizing dates, and William Shake?
speare was baptized on April 26, 1564, in the Church of Holy
Trinity. The church where he was baptized was in
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, where he also lived for a
good portion of his childhood.
Shakespeare was the oldest son of John Shakespeare and
Mary Arden. Although, he was the third of eight children
born from this marriage. His siblings names, from oldest
to youngest, are Joan(1558-infancy), Margaret(1564-1563),
Gilbert(1566-1612), Joan(1569-1646), Anne(1571-1579),
Richard(1574-1613), and lastly Edmond(1569-1607). It is
unrecorded but highly possible that William Shakespeare and
family were all educated at the local grammar school, but as
the oldest son he ordinarily would have been apprenticed to
his father?s shop so that he could learn how to run it so
someday he could take it over. In the grammar school they
were to study Latin grammar, the study of logic, rhetoric,
composition, oration, versification, and monuments of roman
literature. Yet, he was supposedly apprenticed to a
butcher because of his father?s financial situation.
In 1582, William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway.
Shakespeare and Hathaway have been know to have left Strat?
ford after Shakespeare was caught poaching (back then
poaching was a local justice of the peace). They had a
daughter named Susanna in 1583, and boy/girl twins, Hamnet
and Judith in 1585. Hamnet unfortunately did not survive
for very long.
Shakespeare and his family arrived in London in about
1588, and by 1592 he had received success as an actor and
playwright. While in London, Shakespeare published two
erotic narrative poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of
Lucrece, and some of many sonnets. These few poems estab?
lished his reputation as the ?gifted and popular poet of the
Renaissance?. His ?professional? life in London was identi?
fied by the number of financial advantages he had received.
After about 1608, his dramatic production lessened and
he seemed to spend more time in his home-town,
Stratford-upon-Avon. By returning to Stratford, he was
relieving his family of their financial embarrassment.
Before his death he had become a locally known citizen.
William Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616, but at least
while carrying the name of ?world?s most popular author?.
As part of Shakespeare?s early education and influences
the Warwickshire country side cannot be ignored. Shake?
speare?s plays and poetry are full of images taken from
nature, gardening, farming, pursuits, and country folk?
lore. In Henry V, there is this description of the land:
Her vine, the merry cheerer of the heart,
Unpruned dies; her hedges even-pleach?d,
Like prisoners wildly overgrown with hair,
Put forth disorder?d twigs; her fallow leas
The darnel, hemlock, and rank fumitory,
Do root upon, while to coulter rusts,
That should deracinate such savagery;
The even mead, that erst brought sweetly forth
The freckled cowslip, burnet, and green clover,
Wanting the scyth, all uncorrected, rank,
Conceives by idleness, and nothing teems
But hateful docks, rough thistles, kecksies, burrs,
Losing both beauty and utility.
This type of learning was not out of books, but it could
only be taught by nature itself.
William Shakespeare supposedly wrote 38 plays, (in one
source it says 37), in the four periods of his dramatic
career. Shakespeare?s first period was one of experimen?
tation. His writings mostly consisted of the use of an
obvious contruction, and by stylized verse. A popular genre
of this period was the chronicle history plays. The plays
that dramatize the English civil strife of the 15th century
are Shakespeare?s earliest dramatic works. Shakespeare?s
earliest dramatic works are the plays; Henry VI, Parts I and
II, and III, and Richard III. In style, they relate to
medieval drama and partly to the works of earlier Elizabe?
William Shakespeare also wrote some comedies during
this period. They are; The Comedy of Errors, a classical
Roman comedy, The Taming of the Shrew, a comedy of
character, The two Gentlemen of Verona, romantic love, and
lastly in this period was a romantic and scientific comedy
called, Love?s Labour?s Lost.
During the second period Shakespeare?s style and
approach became more of himself. This period includes his
most important plays which concerned with English history,
people called them his Joyous Comedies. The second periods
historical plays include; Richard II, Henry IV, Parts I and
II, and Henry V. Richard II is about a weak, sensitive,
self-dramatizing but sympathetic monarch who loses his king?
dom to Henry IV.
A lot of Shakespeare?s works were written and published
during this period. The poem, A Midsummer Night?s Dream, is
also found in the tragi-comedy area. Some names of works
done in this period are; The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado
About Nothing, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, The Merry
Wives of Windsor, Romeo and Juliet, and Julius Caesar.
Probably the most famous one out of all of these would have
to be Romeo and Juliet, it is famous for its poetic treat?
ment of the ecstasy of youthful love. Romeo and Juliet is
about the fate of two lovers victimized by the feuds and
misunderstandings of their elders and by their own hasty
The third period of William Shakespeare?s dramatic
career includes his greatest tragedies and his so-called
dark or bitter comedies. The comedies of this period are
said to be considered the most profound of his works, so
far. A conclusion that you can make from this is that his
works have gotten better each period. Hamlet, Othello, King
Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, Macbeth, Troilu and Cressida,
Coriolanus, Timon of Athens, All?s Well That Ends Well, and
Measure for Measure, are all plays that have come out of the
The final period of William Shakespeare?s work includes
his principal romantic tragi-comedies. Toward the end of
his career, Shakespeare created several plays that, through
the obstruction of magic, art, compassion, or grace, often
suggested redemptory hope for the human condition. These
plays are written with a grave quality that is very differ?
ent than Shakespeare?s earlier comedies, and these ones end
happily with reunions or get-togethers. Some examples of
the plays that are in the fourth period are; Pericles,
Prince of Tyre, Cymbeline, The Winter?s Tale, The Tempest,
Henry VIII and The Two Noble Kinsmen. One beautiful,
lyrical play that shows how Shakespeare?s poetic power
reached greater heights is, The Tempest.
Until the 18th century, Shakespeare was generally
thought to have been no more than a rough and untutored
genius. Rumor had it that his plays had actually been
written by someone more educated, perhaps statesman and
philosopher Sir Francis Bacon or the Earl of Southampton.
Some people still believe this rumor and therefore it is
still under debate now.22 Since the 19th century, Shake?
speare?s achievements have been more recognized, and
throughout the world he is has been known as the greatest