Who was he?• Widely regarded as the greatest writer in English Literature.• Poet and dramatist• Wrote 38 plays – comedies, histories, tragedies.• Composed about 154 sonnets and a few epic poems.• Started out as an actor.
Early Life• Born 1564—died 1616• Stratford-upon-Avon• Parents: John Shakespeare and Mary Arden • Mary—daughter of wealthy landowner • John—glovemaker, local politician
Location of Stratford-upon-AvonFrom: http://www.where-can-i-find.com/tourist-maps.html
Stratford-on-Avon in Shakespeare’s Time As reproduced in William Rolfe, Shakespeare the Boy (1896).
Stratford-upon-Avon TodayFrom Stratford’s web site: http://www.stratford-upon-avon.co.uk/index.htm
Education• Attended grammar school in Stratford• Educated in: • Rhetoric • Logic • History • Latin • Literature
Married Life• Married in 1582 to Anne Hathaway (who was eight years older than he) and had their first daughter, Susanna (1583).• Had twins, Judith and Hamnet, in 1585. His only son, Hamnet, died as a young boy.• Sometime between 1585-1592, he moved to London and began working in theatre.
Theatre Career• Member and later part-owner of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men acting company, later called the King’s Men• Globe Theater built in 1599 by L.C.M. with Shakespeare as primary investor• The Globe Theatre burned down in 1613 during one of Shakespeare’s plays
The Plays• 38 plays firmly attributed to Shakespeare • comedies • histories • tragedies• Possibly wrote three others• Collaborated on several others• Which plays have you heard of?
Comedies• The Taming of the Shrew• Much Ado About Nothing• As You Like I• Twelfth Night• A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Tragedies• Hamlet• Romeo and Juliet• Othello• King Lear• Macbeth
Histories• Henry V• Henry VIII• King John• Richard II• Richard III
The Poetry• Two major poems • Venus and Adonis • Rape of Lucrece• 154 Sonnets• Numerous other poems
Shakespeare’s Language• Shakespeare did NOT write in “Old English.”• Old English is the language of Beowulf: Hwaet! We Gardena in geardagum Þeodcyninga Þrym gefrunon Hu ða æÞelingas ellen fremedon!(Hey! We have heard of the glory of the Spear-Danes in the old days, the kings of tribes, hownoble princes showed great courage!)
Shakespeare’s Language• Shakespeare did not write in “Middle English.”• Middle English is the language of Chaucer, theGawain-poet, and Malory: We redeth oft and findeth y-write— And this clerkes wele it wite— Layes that ben in harping Ben y-founde of ferli thing… (Sir Orfeo)
Shakespeare’s Language• Shakespeare wrote in “Early ModernEnglish.”• EME was not very different from“Modern English,” except that it had someold holdovers.
Shakespeare’s Language• Shakespeare coined many words we still usetoday: • Critical • Majestic • Dwindle• And quite a few phrases as well: • One fell swoop • Flesh and blood • Vanish into thin air See http://www.wordorigins.org/histeng.htm
Shakespeare’s Language• A mix of old and very new• Rural and urban words/images• Understandable by the lowestpeasant and the highest noble