William Shakespeare (1564–1616)Presentation Transcript
William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
`The Bard of Avon', English poet
The world's most performed and admired playwright.
'Shakespeare' by Gerard Soest, c. 1650-60.
For all his fame and celebration, William Shakespeare remains a mysterious figure with regards to personal history.
There are just two primary sources for information on the Bard: his works, and various legal and church documents that have survived from Elizabethan times.
Naturally, there are many gaps in this body of information, which tells us little about Shakespeare the man.
born in April, 1564 (no exact day) in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, about 100 miles northwest of London.
According to the records of Stratford's Holy Trinity Church, he was baptized on April 26, since it was customary to baptize infants within days of birth,
Since April 23 is St. George's day, the patron saint of England, it has become traditional to assign the birth day of England's most famous poet to April 23. As with most sixteenth century births, the actual day is not recorded.
William was the third child and the first son.
Parents & Family
His father, John, married Mary Arden , the daughter of Robert Arden, a farmer from the nearby village of Wilmcote.
John and Mary set up home in Henley Street, Stratford, in the house now known as Shakespeare's Birthplace .
John Shakespeare, the son of Richard Shakespeare, was a prominent citizen, serving on the town council for many years and becoming Bailiff, or Mayor, in 1568.
He served in Stratford government successively as a member of the Council (1557), constable (1558), chamberlain (1561), alderman (1565) and finally high bailiff (1568)--the equivalent of town mayor.
John, was a whittawer (a maker, worker and seller of leather goods such as purses, belts and gloves) and a dealer in agricultural commodities.
Besides his craft as a glover, he traded as a wool dealer and was also involved in money-lending.
He was a solid, middle class citizen at the time of William's birth, and a man on the rise.
About 1577 John Shakespeare's fortunes began to decline for unknown reasons. There are records of debts.
In 1586 he was replaced as alderman for shirking responsibilities, and in 1592 was reprimanded for not coming to church for fear of process of debt.
Mary, the daughter of Robert Arden, had in all eight children with John Shakespeare.
John and Mary lost two children before William was born. They had five more children, another of whom died young.
As the son of a leading townsman, around the age of eleven Shakespeare probably entered the grammar school of Stratford, King's New School, where he would have studied theatre and acting, as well as Latin literature and history.
The grammar school's curriculum was geared to teaching pupils Latin, both spoken and written.
There is great conjecture about Shakespeare's childhood years, especially regarding his education.
It is surmised by scholars that Shakespeare attended the free grammar school in Stratford,
The classical writers studied in the classroom influenced Shakespeare's plays and poetry; for example, some of his ideas for plots and characters came from Ovid's tales, the plays of Terence and Plautus, and Roman history.
While there are no records extant to prove this claim, Shakespeare's knowledge of Latin and Classical Greek would tend to support this theory.
In addition, Shakespeare's first biographer, Nicholas Rowe, wrote that John Shakespeare had placed William "for some time in a free school." John Shakespeare, as a Stratford official, would have been granted a waiver of tuition for his son. As the records do not exist, we do not know how long William attended the school, but certainly the literary quality of his works suggest a solid education.
What is certain is that William Shakespeare never proceeded to university schooling, which has stirred some of the debate concerning the authorship of his works.
When he finished school he might have apprenticed for a time with his father, but there is also mention of his being a school teacher.
Wife & Children
At the time of their marriage, William was 18 and Anne was 26—and pregnant
Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway (November 28, 1582) married in the village of Temple Grafton.
Baptisms of three children at Holy Trinity were recorded;
Susanna (May 26,1583-1649), who went on to marry noted physician John Hall,
Twins Judith (February 2,1585-1662) who married Richard Quiney, and
Hamnet (1585-1596) his only son and heir who died at the age of eleven on August 11, 1596.
Most of the Shakespearean Sonnets were written in the 1590s, some printed at this time as well. Others were written or revised right before being printed.
154 sonnets and "A Lover's Complaint" were published by Thomas Thorpe as Shake-speares Sonnets in 1609.
The order, dates, and authorship of the Sonnets have been much debated with no conclusive findings.
Many have claimed autobiographical details from them, including sonnet number 145 in reference to Anne.
The dedication to "Mr. W.H." is said to possibly represent the initials of the third earl of Pembroke William Herbert, or perhaps being a reversal of Henry Wriothesly's initials.
Regardless, there have been some unfortunate projections and interpretations of modern concepts onto centuries old works that, while a grasp of contextual historical information can certainly lend to their depth and meaning, can also be enjoyed as valuable poetical works that have transcended time and been surpassed by no other.
Evoking Petrarch's style and lyrically writing of beauty, mortality, and love with its moral anguish and worshipful adoration of a usually unattainable love, the first 126 sonnets are addressed to a young man,
sonnets 127-152 to a dark lady. Ever the dramatist Shakespeare created a profound intrigue to scholars and novices alike as to the identities of these people.
Shakespeare's reputation was established in London by 1592;
in that year another dramatist, Robert Greene, was envious of his success and called him 'an upstart crow'.
Shakespeare's earliest plays included the three parts of Henry VI , The Two Gentlemen of Verona , and Titus Andronicus .
Shakespeare's first printed works were two long poems, Venus and Adonis (1593) and The Rape of Lucrece (1594).
These were both dedicated to the Earl of Southampton, a young courtier and favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, who had become Shakespeare's patron.
Most of the Sonnets were probably written about this time, too, although they were not published until 1609.
For seven years, William Shakespeare effectively disappears from all records, turning up in London circa 1592. This has sparked as much controversy about Shakepeare's life as any period.
We do not know when or why Shakespeare left Stratford for London, or what he was doing before becoming a professional actor and dramatist in the capital.
There are various traditions and stories about the so-called 'lost years' between 1585 and 1592, a period for which there is virtually no evidence concerning his life.
One tale tells how he was caught poaching deer in Charlecote Park, near Stratford, and went off to London to avoid prosecution. A plausible early tradition claims Shakespeare was a schoolmaster for some years. When he was growing up, drama was a significant part of Stratford's social life. Not only did local people put on amateur shows, but the town was visited regularly by London-based companies of actors and Shakespeare may have joined one of them. He probably arrived in London around 1586/7.
His plays generally fall into four categories:
Pre-1594 ( Richard III , The Comedy of Errors )
1594-1600 ( Henry V , Midsummer Night's Dream )
1600-1608 ( Macbeth , King Lear )
Post-1608 ( Cymbeline , The Tempest )
King Henry VI Part 1 1592 (printed in 1594);
King Henry VI Part 2 1592-93 (1594);
King Henry VI Part 3 1592-93 (1623);
King John 1596-97 (1623);
King Henry IV Part 1 1597-98 (1598);
King Henry IV Part 2 1597-98 (1600);
King Henry V 1598-99 (1600);
Richard II 1600-01 (1597);
Richard III 1601 (1597); and
King Henry VIII 1612-13 (1623)
Shakespeare's series of historical dramas, based on the English Kings from John to Henry VIII were a tremendous undertaking to dramatize the lives and rule of kings and the changing political events of his time. No other playwright had attempted such an ambitious body of work. Some were printed on their own or in the First Folio (1623).
Titus Andronicus first performed in 1594 (printed in 1594),
R omeo and Juliet 1594-95 (1597),
H amlet 1600-01 (1603),
Julius Caesar 1600-01 (1623),
Othello 1604-05 (1622),
Antony and Cleopatra 1606-07 (1623),
King Lear 1606 (1608),
Coriolanus 1607-08 (1623), derived from Plutarch
Timon of Athens 1607-08 (1623), and
M acbeth 1611-1612 (1623).
Troilus and Cressida
Taming of the Shrew first performed 1593-94 (1623),
Comedy of Errors 1594 (1623),
Two Gentlemen of Verona 1594-95 (1623),
Love's Labour's Lost 1594-95 (1598),
Midsummer Night's Dream 1595-96 (1600),
Merchant of Venice 1596-1597 (1600),
Much Ado About Nothing 1598-1599 (1600),
As You Like It 1599-00 (1623),
Merry Wives of Windsor 1600-01 (1602),
Troilus and Cressida 1602 (1609),
Twelfth Night 1602 (1623),
All's Well That Ends Well 1602-03 (1623),
Measure for Measure 1604 (1623),
Pericles, Prince of Tyre 1608-09 (1609),
Cymbeline 1611-12 (1623),
Winter's Tale 1611-12 (1623).
Evidently, Shakespeare garnered envy early on for his talent,
Robert Greene, a London playwright, in 1592 critically attacked Shakespeare:
"...an upstart crow , beautified with our feathers, that with his Tiger's heart wrapped in a player's hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you: and being an absolute Johannes fac totum , is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country."
Greene's bombast notwithstanding, Shakespeare must have shown considerable promise. Shakespeare's success is apparent when studied against other playwrights of this age.
By 1594, he was not only acting and writing for the Lord Chamberlain's Men (called the King's Men after the ascension of James I in 1603), but was a managing partner in the operation as well.
With Will Kempe, a master comedian, and Richard Burbage, a leading tragic actor of the day, the Lord Chamberlain's Men became a favorite London troupe, patronized by royalty and made popular by the theatre-going public.
When the plague forced theatre closings in the mid-1590s, Shakespeare and his company made plans for the Globe Theatre in the Bankside district, which was across the river from London proper.
His company was the most successful in London in his day. He had plays published and sold in octavo editions, or "penny-copies" to the more literate of his audiences.
It is noted that never before had a playwright enjoyed sufficient acclaim to see his works published and sold as popular literature in the midst of his career. While Shakespeare could not be accounted wealthy, by London standards, his success allowed him to purchase New House and retire in comfort to Stratford in 1611.
Queen Elizabeth Ruler of England during the Renaissance Reign-1599-1613
The Globe Theater
William Shakespeare's plays were first performed at the Globe theater some 400 years ago. The original Globe was destroyed by fire and when it was rebuilt, William Shakespeare became a partner in the theatre company as well as its most famous playwright. Closed by the Puritans in 1642, the Globe was eventually torn down and lost to history.
The Globe Theater
A replica of the Globe was completed in 1994 by the Shakespeare Globe Playhouse Trust.
Latest Globe Theater New Globe Theater New York, USA, 2003 The design for the New Globe Theater will create a world-class performance venue on Governors Island in New York Harbour. Housed in the early nineteenth-century Castle Williams - the design preserves this decaying national monument while revitalizing Governors Island with a contemporary and accessible cultural hub.
William Shakespeare wrote his will in 1611,
bequeathing his properties to his daughter Susanna (married in 1607 to Dr. John Hall).
To his surviving daughter Judith, he left £300,
to his wife Anne left "my second best bed
" William Shakespeare allegedly died on his birthday, April 23, 1616.
This is probably more of a romantic myth than reality, but Shakespeare was interred at Holy Trinity in Stratford on April 25.
In 1623, two working companions of Shakespeare from the Lord Chamberlain's Men, John Heminges and Henry Condell, printed the First Folio edition of the Collected Works, of which half the plays contained therein were previously unpublished. The First Folio also contained Shakespeare's sonnets.
William Shakespeare's legacy is a body of work that will never again be equaled in Western civilization. His words have endured for 400 years, and still reach across the centuries as powerfully as ever. Even in death, he leaves a final piece of verse as his epitaph:
“ Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbeare To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he that moves my bones.”