William Shakespeare was born on
April 23, 1564, in Stratford-onAvon (Warwickshire,England). The
son of John Shakespeare and
Mary Arden, he was probably
educated at the King Edward IV
Grammar School in Stratford,
where he learned Latin and a little
Greek and read the Roman
school for William Shakespeare
started at six o'clock in the morning and
finished at five o'clock in the evening.
Elizabethan Education was hard work!
Because of the dark nights the hours changed
during the winter starting at seven in the
morning and finishing at four o'clock in the
Education for William Shakespeare consisted
of a five full days and a half-day on Thursday
for 40 to 44 weeks of the year - 2,000 hours in
school per year (more than double the current
Shakespeare was withdrawn from
education in 1577 at the age of fourteen due
to his father's financial problems
Boys would normally attended Grammar
school until they reached the age of fourteen
when they would have continued their
education at University
William Shakespeare therefore missed any
form of higher education where he would
have had the choice of studying the Arts,
Philosophy, Rhetoric, Poetry, History,
is amazing that William Shakespeare
achieved so much after leaving school at the
age of fourteen - with only seven years of
formal education !
eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, a
woman seven or eight years his senior.
Together they raised two daughters:
Susanna, who was born in 1583, and
Judith (whose twin brother died in
boyhood), born in 1585.
While Shakespeare was regarded as the foremost dramatist of his time,
evidence indicates that both he and his world looked to poetry, not
playwriting, for enduring fame. Shakespeare's sonnets were composed
between 1593 and 1601, though not published until 1609. That edition, The
Sonnets of Shakespeare, consists of 154 sonnets, all written in the form of
three quatrains and a couplet that is now recognized as Shakespearean.
The sonnets fall into two groups: sonnets 1-126, addressed to a beloved
friend, a handsome and noble young man, and sonnets 127-152, to a
malignant but fascinating "Dark Lady," whom the poet loves in spite of
himself. Nearly all of Shakespeare's sonnets examine the inevitable decay of
time, and the immortalization of beauty and love in poetry.
The Fair Young Man
Sonnets 1-126 seem to be addressed to an unnamed
male friend considerably younger than the poet. At first
(1-17) the poet seems driven or commissioned to urge
this fellow to marry and breed. But the interpersonal
friendship grows in intensity, and separation causes
grief. The Young Man belongs to the upper class, is
more than handsome, and is somewhat given to
wantonness. We end up with true love poems here,
causing commentators to fret about whether this was a
homosexual relationship or if Elizabethan men simply
expressed close friendship in this sort of language.
Ultimately, the gender of addressee becomes irrelevant
given the intensity of the poetic meditations, and so the
The Dark Lady
The poet has a "black" mistress, which can mean anything
from a African woman to simply an English non-blonde
(127-152). These sonnets range from the rapture of Romeo
and Juliet to the disgust of Troilus and Cressida and Hamlet.
Again, there have been numerous proposals as to historical
identity, including Lady Penelope Rich (Sidney's
inspiration) Mary Fitton (the Earl of Pembroke's mistress,
but whose portraits show her as fair), Anne Hathaway (yeah,
right), Mrs. Jane Devanant (wife of an Oxford innkeeper
whose dramatist son Sir William was rumored to be
Shakespeare's), and Lucy (an African prostitute). It has been
suggested that she never existed historically but functions as
an anti-Petrarchan construct. This affair, fictional or not,
brings about conflicting emotions: an obsession but a sexual
nausea. Some sonnets (35, 40, 41, 42) refer to affair between
the male friend and a woman who seduces him, presumably
In his poems and plays, Shakespeare invented thousands of
words, often combining or contorting Latin, French and native
roots. Changing nouns into verbas and verbs into
adjectives.He invented 1,700 or more words.His impressive
expansion of the English language. Shakespeare of course
had a huge vocabulary, and in his writings there are hundreds
of words no-one before him had used,but how could his
audience know what he was talking about if he kept on making
wrote plays and poems. His
plays were comedies, histories and
tragedies. His 17 comedies include A
Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Merry
Wives of Windsor. Among his 10 history
plays are Henry V and Richard III. The
most famous among his 10 tragedies
are Hamlet, Othello, andKing Lear.
Shakespeare’s best-known poems are The
Sonnets, first published in 1609.
Shakespeare started writing tragedies
because he thought the tragic plots used by
other English writers were lacking artistic
purpose and form. He used the fall of a notable
person as the main focus in his tragedies.
Suspense and climax were an added attraction
for the audience. His work was extraordinary
in that it was not of the norm for the time. A
reader with even little knowledge of his work
would recognize one of the tragedies as a work
are a number of
poets,writer,dramatists and playwriters
who have benefitted from having read a
line,phrase or paragraph from the great
William Shakespeare.There is one
actor/writer/comedian/dramatist who made
his living often imitating Shakespeare……
wrote a number of plays, and contributed
dialogue for scripts of films and television
shows in Mexico, as well as some character
acting work before he became famous. His
stage name of Chespirito was given by a
producer during Gómez Bolaños' first years as
a writer and was concocted from the
diminutive form of the Mexican pronunciation
of the name of William
Shakespeare or Shakespiercito, meaning "Little
The BLACK DEATH, also known as the bubonic plague, is a
contagious, often fatal epidemic disease caused by the bacterium,
Yersinia pestis, transmitted from person to person or by the bite of
fleas from an infected host, especially a rat, and characterized by
chills, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and the formation of buboes.
The Black Death first appeared in London in 1348, brought there by
the fleas living on rats which came ashore from ships arriving from
Asia. Already this terrible epidemic had killed millions people before
reaching the European continent where the initial outbreak occurred
in and around Italy. The disease struck and killed people with terrible
speed. In October, 1347 an eyewitness account claimed:
"Realizing what a deadly disaster had come to them, Italians
were driven from their city. But the disease remained, and
soon death was everywhere. Fathers abandoned their sick
sons. Lawyers refused to come and make out wills for the
dying. Friars and nuns were left to care for the sick, and
monasteries and convents were soon deserted, as they were
stricken, too. Bodies were left in empty houses, and there was
no one to give them a Christian burial."
By the following August, the plague had spread as far north as
England, where people called it "The Black Death" because of the
black spots it produced on the skin. A terrible killer was loose across
Europe, and Medieval medicine had nothing to stop it. In the winter,
the disease seemed to disappear, but only because fleas--which
were a major connection in spreading the disease, --are dormant at
this time. Each spring, the plague attacked again, killing new victims.
After five years 25 million people were dead--one-third of Europe's
people. 75 million in total.
towns and cities people lived very close
together and they knew nothing about contagious
diseases. Also the disposal of bodies was very
crude and helped to spread the disease still further
as those who handled the dead bodies did not
protect themselves in any way.
The filth that littered streets gave rats the perfect
environment to breed and increase their number. It
is commonly thought that it was the rats that
caused the disease. This is not true – the fleas did
this. However, it was the rats that enabled the
disease to spread very quickly and the filth in the
streets of our towns and cities did not help to stop
the spread of the disease.
of medical knowledge meant that
people tried anything to help them escape
the disease. One of the more extreme was
the flagellants. These people wanted to
show their love of God by whipping
themselves, hoping that God would forgive
them their sins and that they would be
spared the Black Death.
William Shakespeare was terrified of the Bubonic Plague - and
who can blame him?
England had been ravaged by outbreaks of the plague since the
He lost his sisters Joan, Margaret ( just babies) and Anne (aged
7) to the deadly plague
He also lost his brother Edmund (aged 27)
But the greatest loss to William Shakespeare was his only son,
Hamnet, who died when he was just eleven years old
So many people from just one family (the number increased after
Shakespeare's death when his grandsons, Shakespeare Quiney died in
infancy, aged 6 months old, in May 1617 and his brothers Richard and
Thomas Quiney died of the plague aged 19 and 20 years of age)
No-one knows how many friends, fellow actors and acquaintances of
Shakespeare died of the Black Death, but given the number of his close
relatives who died, it must have been a significant number
There were constant outbreaks of the Bubonic Plague and every time this
occurred the Theatres were shut down. The closures occurred in 1593 ,
1603 and 1608
Very few victims of the plague survived
Shakespeare really was living with death
He must have been in constant fear
The number of outbreaks must have been terrifying
The whole of the life of William Shakespeare lived
under this terrible Cloud of Death
cause of death is not known, but some
scholars believe that he was sick for over a
month before he died. On March 25 1616,
Shakespeare signed his dictated will with a
“shaky” signature, evidence of his frailty at the
time. Also, it was customary in the early
seventeenth century to draw up your will on
your deathbed, so Shakespeare must have
been acutely aware that his life was coming
to an end.
tombstone is inscribed with the
following words, which are believed to
have written by Shakespeare:
Trinity, Stratford, on the banks of the
River Avon, is probably England's most
visited Parish Church. As well as being a
thriving Parish church, it receives many
thousands of visitors each year due to the
fact that William Shakespeare was
baptised here, worshipped here, and is
buried in the chancel.
The word “sonnet” simply meant little song or a short lyric
Sonnets are 14 line poems
Shakespearean form goes like this:
*Quatrain- a stanza made of 4 lines,it can have any rhyme
Key Difference: Poem is a literary
creation made from arrangements of
words forming rhythmical lines whereas
Sonnet is a specific kind of poem having
14 lines and a strict rhyming scheme.
is a word of Greek origin meaning
“to make, to create”. A poem can be
described as “something made or created”.
A poem is a rhythmical composition that is
written or spoken for communicating
beautiful, imaginative or elevated thoughts;
they are used in the same context.
as a work of poetry comes out as a
literary creation made from arrangements
of words forming rhythmical lines. Poem
can be also be described as a composition
written in metrical feet and contain
meaning and musical elements. Poems
can be found in these three main genres of
poetry: lyric, narrative, and dramatic.
term sonnet derives from the Italian word
sonetto and means "little song". A sonnet
comprise of 14 rhyming lines of same length.
The rhyme scheme of sonnet generally
follows patterns like Italian sonnet, English
sonnet and Spenserian sonnet. In Italian
sonnet a group of eight lines, rhymed
abbaabba is followed by a group of six lines
with various rhymes. In English sonnet three
groups of four lines with cross-rhyme pattern
(abab, cdcd, efef) are followed by a final
couplet (rhymed gg).
quatrain: An exposition of the main
theme and main metaphor.
Second quatrain: Theme and metaphor
extended or complicated; often, some
imaginative example is given.
Third quatrain: Peripeteia (a twist or
conflict), often introduced by a "but" (very
often leading off the ninth line).
Couplet: Summarizes and leaves the reader
with a new, concluding image.
1. Decide on a purpose and audience of the sonnet.
2. Choose a specific topic (no title).
3. List things you could say about your topic.
4. Find a relationship between the ideas, audience and purpose.
5. Write down a 14-line sequence of statements.
6.Make sure the 14 lines ryhme with the proper scheme (ex ABAB…..)
7. Correct specific problem areas.
8. Edit the sonnet.
10. You’re done, don’t correct it!!!
main purpose is to make a poignant
point that leaves a lasting impression with the
any literary device, if the couplet is used too
frequently, it loses its effect and becomes mind
numbering rather than thought provoking.
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest,
Nor shall death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest.
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
First quatrain: Shakespeare establishes the
theme of comparing "thou" (or "you") to a
summer's day, and why to do so is a bad idea. The
metaphor is made by comparing his beloved to
Second quatrain: Shakespeare extends the
theme, explaining why even the sun, supposed to
be so great, gets obscured sometimes, and why
everything that's beautiful decays from beauty
sooner or later. He has shifted the metaphor: In the
first quatrain, it was "summer" in general, and now
he's comparing the sun and "every fair," every
beautiful thing, to his beloved.
Third quatrain: Here the argument takes a big left
turn with the familiar "But." Shakespeare says that
the main reason he won't compare his beloved to
summer is that summer dies — but she won't. He
refers to the first two quatrains — her "eternal
summer" won't fade, and she won't "lose
possession" of the "fair" (the beauty) she
possesses. So he keeps the metaphors going, but
in a different direction.
And for good measure, he throws in a negative
version of all the sunshine in this poem — the
"shade" of death, which, evidently, his beloved
won't have to worry about.
How is his beloved going to
escape death? In Shakespeare's poetry,
which will keep her alive as long as people
breathe or see. This bold statement gives
closure to the whole argument — it's a