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Biography

William Shakespeare, his life, plays and poetry: http://www.infoplease.com/spot/williamshakespeare.html


Details about William Shak
William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616
William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616
espeare’s life are sketchy, mostly mere surmise based upon court or other clerical records. His parents, John and Mary (Arden), were married about 1557; she was of the landed gentry, he a yeoman—a glover and commodities merchant. By 1568, John had risen through the ranks of town government and held the position of high bailiff, similar to mayor. William, the eldest son, was born in 1564, probably on April 23, several days before his baptism on April 26, 1564. That Shakespeare also died on April 23, 52 years later, may have resulted in the adoption of this birthdate.
William no doubt attended the local grammar school in Stratford where his parents lived, and would have studied primarily Latin rhetoric, logic, and literature [Barnet, viii]. At age 18 (1582), William married Anne Hathaway, a local farmer’s daughter eight years his senior. Their first daughter (Susanna) was born six months later (1583), and twins Judith and Hamnet were born in 1585.
Shakespeare’s life can be divided into three periods: the first 20 years in Stratford, which include his schooling, early marriage, and fatherhood; the next 25 years as an actor and playwright in London; and the last five in retirement back in Stratford where he enjoyed moderate wealth gained from his theatrical successes. The years linking the first two periods are marked by a lack of information about Shakespeare, and are often referred to as the “dark years”; the transition from active work into retirement was gradual and cannot be precisely dated [Boyce, 587].
John Shakespeare had suffered financial reverses from William’s teen years until well into the height of the playwright’s popularity and success. In 1596, John Shakespeare was granted a coat of arms, almost certainly purchased by William, who the next year bought a sizable house in Stratford. By the time of his death, William had substantial properties, both professional and personal, which he bestowed on his theatrical associates and his family (primarily his daughter Susanna, having rewritten his will one month before his death to protect his assets from Judith’s new husband, Thomas Quiney, who ran afoul of church doctrine and public esteem before and after the marriage) [Boyce, 529].
Shakespeare probably left school at 15, which was the norm, and took some sort of job, especially since this was the period of his father’s financial difficulty. Numerous references in his plays suggest that William may have in fact worked for his father, thereby gaining specialized knowledge [Boyce, 587].
At some point during the “dark years,” Shakespeare began his career with a London theatrical company—perhaps in 1589—for he was already an actor and playwright of some note in 1592. Shakespeare apparently wrote and acted for Pembroke’s Men, as well as numerous others, in particular Strange’s Men, which later became the Chamberlain’s Men, with whom he remained for the rest of his career.
When, in 1592, the Plague closed the theaters for about two years, Shakespeare turned to writing book-length narrative poetry. Most notable were “Venus and Adonis” and “The Rape of Lucrece,” both of which were dedicated to the Earl of Southampton, whom scholars accept as Shakespeare’s friend and benefactor despite a lack of documentation. During this same period, Shakespeare was writing his sonnets, which are more likely signs of the time’s fashion rather than actual love poems detailing any particular relationship. He returned to play writing when theaters reopened in 1594, and published no more poetry. His sonnets were published without his consent in 1609, shortly before his retirement.
Amid all of his success, Shakespeare suffered the loss of his only son, Hamnet, who died in 1596 at the age of 11. But Shakespeare’s career continued unabated, and in London in 1599, he became one of the partners in the new Globe Theater [Boyce, 589], built by the Chamberlain’s Men. This group was a remarkable assemblage of “excellent actors who were also business partners and close personal friends . . . [including] Richard Burbage . . . [who] all worked together as equals . . . ” [Chute, 131].
When Queen Elizabeth died in 1603 and was succeeded by her cousin King James of Scotland, the Chamberlain’s Men was renamed the King’s Men, and Shakespeare’s productivity and popularity continued uninterrupted. He invested in London real estate and, one year away from retirement, purchased a second theater, the Blackfriars Gatehouse, in partnership with his fellow actors. His final play was Henry VIII, two years before his death in 1616.
Incredibly, most of Shakespeare’s plays had never been published in anything except pamphlet form, and were simply extant as acting scripts stored at the Globe. Only the efforts of two of Shakespeare’s company, John Heminges and Henry Condell, preserved his 36 plays (minus Pericles, the thirty-seventh) [Barnet, xvii] in the First Folio. Heminges and Condell published the plays, they said, “only to keep the memory of so worthy a friend and fellow alive as was our Shakespeare” [Chute, 133]. Theater scripts were not regarded as literary works of art, but only the basis for the performance. Plays were a popular form of entertainment for all layers of society in Shakespeare’s time, which perhaps explains why Hamlet feels compelled to instruct the traveling Players on the fine points of acting, urging them not “to split the ears of the groundlings,” nor “speak no more than is set down for them.”
Present copies of Shakespeare’s plays have, in some cases, been reconstructed in part from scripts written down by various members of an acting company who performed particular roles. Shakespeare’s plays, like those of many of the actors who also were playwrights, belonged to the acting company. The performance, rather than the script, was what concerned the author, for that was how his play would become popular—and how the company, in which many actors were shareholders, would make money.
William Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later in the chancel of Holy Trinity Church where he had been baptized exactly 52 years earlier. Source: http://www.enotes.com/william-shakespeare/shakespeare-biography







The Globe

Today's Globe is the third Globe Theatre. Source: http://www.edwud.com/photos/globe_theatre_london.jpg
Today's Globe is the third Globe Theatre. Source: http://www.edwud.com/photos/globe_theatre_london.jpg
The first Globe
During the first years of Elizabeth’s reign, the English playing companies used inns, inn yards, college halls and private houses for their performances. It was not until 1576 that the actor-manager James Burbage built the Theatre in Shoreditch, the first purpose-built playhouse in London. Shakespeare joined the resident troupe at the Theatre in the 1580s and the company (later known as the Chamberlain’s and then the King’s Men) flourished there for 20 years.
In 1596 a dispute arose over the renewal of the lease and negotiations were begun to acquire a disused hall in the precincts of the old Blackfriars priory to use as an indoor theatre. James Burbage died in February 1597; in April the lease expired, but the dispute continued for two years, during which time the company performed at the nearby Curtain playhouse. In Christmas 1598 the company sought a drastic solution: they leased a plot near the Rose, a rival theatre in Southwark, demolished the Theatre and carried its timbers over the river. external image globe.jpgTo cover the cost of the new playhouse, James Burbage’s sons Cuthbert and Richard, offered some members of the company shares in the building. Shakespeare was one of four actors who bought a share in the Globe. By early 1599 the theatre was up and running and for 14 years it thrived, presenting many of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.
In 1613, during a performance of Henry VIII, wadding from a stage cannon ignited the thatched roof and the theatre burned to the ground ‘all in less than two hours, the people having enough to do to save themselves’. The theatre was quickly rebuilt, this time with a tiled roof. Shakespeare may have acted in the second Globe, but he probably never wrote for it. It remained the home for Shakespeare’s old company until the closure of all the theatres under England’s Puritan administration in 1642. No longer of use, it was demolished to make room for tenements in 1644.

Source: http://www.shakespeares-globe.org/information/abouttheglobe/thefirstglobe/




The Virtual Globe








Romeo and Juliet
Source: http://www.glogster.com/media/2/4/47/73/4477319.jpg
Source: http://www.glogster.com/media/2/4/47/73/4477319.jpg

The play begins with a large fight between the Capulets and the Montagues, two prestigious families in Verona, Italy. These families have been fighting for quite some time, and the Prince declares that their next public brawl will be punished by death. When the fight is over, Romeo’s cousin Benvolio tries to cheer him of his melancholy. Romeo reveals that he is in love with a woman named Rosaline, but she has chosen to live a life of chastity. Romeo and Benvolio are accidentally invited to their enemy’s party; Benvolio convinces Romeo to go.
At the party, Romeo locks eyes with a young woman named Juliet. They instantly fall in love, but they do not realize that their families are mortal enemies. When they realize each other’s identities, they are devastated, but they cannot help the way that they feel. Romeo sneaks into Juliet’s yard after the party and proclaims his love for her. She returns his sentiments and the two decide to marry. The next day, Romeo and Juliet are married by Friar Lawrence; an event witnessed by Juliet’s Nurse and Romeo’s loyal servant, Balthasar. They plan to meet in Juliet’s chambers that night.
Romeo visits his best friend Mercutio and his cousin Benvolio but his good mood is curtailed. Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt, starts a verbal quarrel with Romeo, which soon turns into a duel with Mercutio. Romeo tries to stop the fight but it is too late: Tybalt kills Mercutio. Romeo, enraged, retaliates by killing Tybalt. Once Romeo realizes the consequences of his actions, he hides at Friar Lawrence’s cell.
Friar Lawrence informs Romeo that he has been banished from Verona and will be killed if he stays. The Friar suggests Romeo spend the night with Juliet, then leave for Mantua in the morning. He tells Romeo that he will attempt to settle the Capulet and Montague dispute so Romeo can later return to a united family. Romeo takes his advice, spending one night with Juliet before fleeing Verona.
Juliet’s mother, completely unaware of her daughter's secret marriage to Romeo, informs Juliet that she will marry a man named Paris in a few days. Juliet, outraged, refuses to comply. Her parents tell her that she must marry Paris and the Nurse agrees with them. Juliet asks Friar Lawrence for advice, insisting she would rather die than marry Paris. Fr. Lawrence gives Juliet a potion which will make her appear dead and tells her to take it the night before the wedding. He promises to send word to Romeo - intending the two lovers be reunited in the Capulet vault.
Juliet drinks the potion and everybody assumes that she is dead — including Balthasar, who immediately tells Romeo. Friar Lawrence’s letter fails to reach Romeo, so he assumes that his wife is dead. He rushes to Juliet’s tomb and, in deep grief, drinks a vial of poison. Moments later, Juliet wakes to find Romeo dead and kills herself due to grief. Once the families discover what happened, they finally end their bitter feud. Thus the youngsters' deaths bring the families together. Romeo And Juliet is a true tragedy in the literary sense because the families gather sufficient self-knowledge to correct their behaviour but not until it is too late to save the situation.

Contents

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Romeo and Juliet characters

Montagues

  • Romeo — sole heir to the Montague fortune
  • Lord Montague — Romeo’s father
  • Lady Montague — Romeo’s mother
  • Benvolio — Romeo’s cousin
  • Balthasar — Romeo’s faithful servant
  • Abraham — Montague servant

Capulets

  • Juliet — sole heir to the Capulet fortune
  • Lord Capulet — Juliet’s father
  • Lady Capulet — Juliet’s mother
  • Tybalt — Juliet’s cousin
  • The Nurse — Juliet’s faithful Nurse
  • Peter — Capulet servant
  • Sampson — Capulet servant
  • Gregory — Capulet servant

Peripheral characters

  • Friar Lawrence — friend and advisor to Romeo and Juliet
  • Mercutio — Romeo’s best friend; Prince’s kinsman
  • Prince Escalus — Prince of Verona; kinsman to Mercutio and Paris
  • Paris — Loves Juliet
  • Rosaline — Romeo’s first love who never actually appears in the play
  • Friar John — Friar Lawrence’s friend
  • Apothecary — Romeo’s acquaintance in Mantua








Hamlet






Sonnet 18





SONNET 18

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 dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st 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

Paraphrase and Analysis of Sonnet 18


Quotes

http://absoluteshakespeare.com/trivia/quotes/quotes.htm