- Slides: 17
William Shakespeare. Life of William Shakespeare.
Birth of William Shakespeare. n William Shakespeare, the greatest English playwright and poet, was born in the family of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden in Stratford-upon-Avon on April 23 1564. His mother was a farmer’s daughter from Wilmot and his father, a wool seller, became the mayor of Stratford in 1568. Being rich and prosperous in 1560 -1569 Shakespeare’s family started losing their wealth and about 1580 William had to leave the Grammar school, which was one of the best in the country, in order to earn his living. It is supposed that having left the school William helped his father in their family business for a while.
Weeding of Shakespeare. n In November 1585 he married Anne Hathaway. Perhaps, William had to do that as his first child, a daughter called Susannah, was born in May of the following year. In February his wife presented William with twins. At the end of 1580 Shakespeare left Stratford for London. It is still unknown why he did that since those years are considered “dark” or “lost” years of his life.
London. n London At the beginning of 1590 s Shakespeare arrived in London. Soon after his first play, chronicle “Henry IV”, was created. Having become an outstanding public person Shakespeare was immediately given a jealous attack by Robert Green, the leader of the group of playwrights “University Wits”, which reigned on London stage. The latter called him “a shaker of a spear” and “a crow dressing up in our feathers” (the changed citation from “Henry IV”. )
A New Playwright Is on Stage n In 1592 -1594 during the epidemic of plague all London theatres were closed and Shakespeare used that unexpected pause to create some plays: the chronicle “Richard III”, "The Comedy of Errors", “Taming the Obstinate “, the first tragedy “Titus Andronicus” made up in a popular style of “a bloody tragedy”. He also published poems “Venus and Adonis” and “Lucrezia” under his own name. After the plague Shakespeare joined The Lord Chamberlain's Troupe called after its patron Lord Hansdon. “University Wits” didn't exist any more since some of them died while he others stopped writing. So Shakespeare's epoch began. That is what one of his contemporaries F. Merezh wrote: “Like Plautus and Seneca who were considered by the Romans the best at comedy and tragedy, Shakespeare is considered to be the superb at both kinds of plays in England. ”
The Globe Theatre n In 1590 s (the first period of his creativity) Shakespeare wrote almost all his chronicles and most of his comedies. In 1595 -96 he published “Romeo and Juliet” soon after “The Merchant of Venice”, which was called “serious” later on. In the autumn of 1599 The Globe Theatre was opened. Above the entrance one could see the Latin quotation “Totus mundis agit histrionem” which meant “The whole world is a theater”. Shakespeare became one of its co-owners, its actors and the main playwright. That year he wrote the tragedy “Julius Caesar” and the comedy “As You Like it”. The melancholic characters of these plays were developed and opened the way to his “Hamlet” written a year later. “Hamlet” started the period of “great tragedies” (1601 -1606) when “Othello”(l 604), “King Lear”(1605), “Macbeth” (1606) were written. The tone of his comedies had become much more serious and even gloomy sometimes in such plays as “Throil and Cressinda” (1601 -1602), “All's Well That Ends Well” (1603), “An eye for eye” (1604).
Unexpected leaving for Stratford n On March 28 1603 Queen Elizabeth I died. The English throne was inherited by Jacob I, the son of Mary Stuart, the former Scottish Queen executed by Elizabeth. The new king signed the patent according to which he became the patron of Lord Chamberlain's troupe of actors. From then on all its members would be called “the servants of His Majesty The King of England”. After 1606 the last period of Shakespeare's career started. It came to the end in 1613 with his leaving for Stratford. In 1607 -08 some more historical plays “Antonius and Cleopatra”, “Coriolanus”, “Timonus Athenian” were created. They were followed by romantic plays "The Winter Fairy Tale” and “The Storm” (1610 -12). The reason for Shakespeare's unexpected discontinuance of such a successful career was, most likely, an illness. In the March of 1616 Shakespeare made and signed his last will which subsequently would cause so much misunderstanding about his personality, authorship and all other staff called now “a Shakespearian question”. Shakespeare is supposed to die on his birthday the 23 rd of April. Two days later he was buried at the Holy Trinity Church in the suburb of Stratford, which was recorded in its metric book. During Shakespeare’s life his works weren’t collected. His plays, poems, sonnets were separately printed. His plays first appeared as so-called “piracy editions” with a lot of mistakes and spoilt texts. As a rule they were followed by the later edition prepared and corrected by the author. These books were printed in quarto. After Shakespeare’s death his friends actors Heming and Condella prepared and published the complete set of Shakespeare’s works including 36 plays called “the First Folio”. 18 of them had never been printed before.
Shakespearian Question n Shakespeare’s last will has always been a source of afflictions and doubts for his biographers. It writes about houses and property ring as memories for friends but it doesn’t say a word about his books and manuscripts as if Shakespeare was an ordinary citydweller not a famous writer. The will became the first occasion to set so-called Shakespearian question: whether Shakespeare was really the author of his works.