William Shakespeare
English poet and playwright
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, two epitaphs on a man named John Combe, one epitaph on Elias James, and several other poems.
Biography
William Shakespeare's personal information overview.
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Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare taught me speechmaking! - Moment Nigerian Newspapers
Google News - over 5 years
CHRIS Doghudge, former Chairman, Advertising Practitioners' Council of Nigeria (APCON) and graduate lecturer in Media and Communications Studies at the Pan African University, Lagos, shares his experience of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, a book he first
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Understanding Shakespeare in William - Philippine Star
Google News - over 5 years
MANILA, Philippines - There is no kid in high school who doesn't know of William Shakespeare. But there is also no kid who completely knows and understands him. He is simply this bloke who lived in olden times, spoke a weird kind of English,
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Comic Henry returns to Shakespeare - The Press Association
Google News - over 5 years
Lenny Henry will make his first appearance at the National Theatre in London later this year in William Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors. The star, who was acclaimed for his 2009 performance as Othello, will play Antipholus of Syracuse at the central
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William Shakespeare Responds to the CBC Declaration of War Against The Tea Party - Big Government
Google News - over 5 years
I've channeled the Bard himself, William Shakespeare to answer the CBC's reprehensible, divisive rhetoric. This morning I went to a medium-rare and spoke to the spirit of the Bard of Avon, below is what he told me to write: it will feed my resolve
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Nonfiction Chronicle
NYTimes - over 5 years
POX An American History By Michael Willrich Penguin Press, $27.95. “Elephant itch,” “bean pox,” “the speckled monster”: smallpox , one of the deadliest diseases in history, went by many names before it was eradicated in the late 20th century in an extraordinary feat of medicine. If the dreaded virus didn’t
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THEATER REVIEW | 'HENRY V'; A Kingdom for a Stage, Princes to Act ...and Maybe a Better Hall?
NYTimes - over 5 years
At the beginning of the Classical Theater of Harlem's ''Henry V'' actors who have been milling around and chatting with audience members slowly start to leave the casual and the quotidian behind. Someone beats out time with sticks. A chant begins, an eerie invocation: ''O, for a muse of fire'' -- the first words of this Shakespeare play. But then
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Stand Clear of the Screaming Shakespeareans, Please
NYTimes - over 5 years
It takes a lot to rattle New York straphangers. They have seen and heard (and smelled) it all. And they mostly ignore it. But on a recent Sunday afternoon a woman stopped abruptly just outside the doors of a downtown train on the N and R line, frozen by the sight of two men rolling wildly along the car's floor, their hands grappling for purchase as
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OUT HERE | OTHELLO, WASH.; All the Town's a Stage Where the Bard's Works Inspire Street Names
NYTimes - over 5 years
OTHELLO, Wash. -- Zounds! Who goes there? Why, it is Othello, the Moor of Venice. Unlikely as it seems, this is his town -- his name is plastered all over this small agricultural community about three hours southeast of Seattle. ''Welcome to Othello'' is emblazoned on the giant water tank that greets visitors driving in off the highway. And there
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THEATER REVIEW | 'JULIUS CAESAR'; Cry Havoc! The Blood Sport Called Politics
NYTimes - over 5 years
With the country mired in political stalemate and economic peril looming, imperialism suddenly doesn't sound so bad, does it? Well, not so fast. A visit to the Royal Shakespeare Company's blood-saturated production of ''Julius Caesar'' offers a harsh corrective to the idea that an alternative form of government would present a more appealing
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Tonight is last chance to see dynamite Shakespeare in Park show - Examiner.com
Google News - over 5 years
William Land Park Stage is a venue that the great William Shakespeare himself would certainly approve of. It is also a safe bet that he would find Shakespeare in the Park's presentation of As You Like It highly entertaining. Tonight is your last chance
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Double, double, toil and big trouble. - Wilkes Barre Times-Leader
Google News - over 5 years
William Shakespeare penned his tragedy “Macbeth” sometime between 1603 and 1607, and this work of classic English literature is showing its age. This screenshot shows the three witches from Dan Gallagher's CGI staging of Shakespeare's 'Macbeth
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of William Shakespeare
    FIFTIES
  • 1616
    Age 51
    Shakespeare signed his last will and testament on 25 March 1616; the following day his new son-in-law, Thomas Quiney was found guilty of fathering an illegitimate son by Margaret Wheeler, who had died during childbirth.
    More Details Hide Details Thomas was ordered by the church court to do public penance, which would have caused much shame and embarrassment for the Shakespeare family. Shakespeare bequeathed the bulk of his large estate to his elder daughter Susanna under stipulations that she pass it down intact to "the first son of her body". The Quineys had three children, all of whom died without marrying. The Halls had one child, Elizabeth, who married twice but died without children in 1670, ending Shakespeare's direct line. Shakespeare's will scarcely mentions his wife, Anne, who was probably entitled to one third of his estate automatically. He did make a point, however, of leaving her "my second best bed", a bequest that has led to much speculation. Some scholars see the bequest as an insult to Anne, whereas others believe that the second-best bed would have been the matrimonial bed and therefore rich in significance.
    Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616, at the age of 52.
    More Details Hide Details He died within a month of signing his will, a document which he begins by describing himself as being in "perfect health". No extant contemporary source explains how or why he died. Half a century later, John Ward, the vicar of Stratford, wrote in his notebook: "Shakespeare, Drayton and Ben Jonson had a merry meeting and, it seems, drank too hard, for Shakespeare died of a fever there contracted", not an impossible scenario, since Shakespeare knew Jonson and Drayton. Of the tributes from fellow authors, one refers to his relatively sudden death: "We wondered, Shakespeare, that thou went'st so soon/From the world's stage to the grave's tiring room."
    The 1616 edition of Ben Jonson's Works names him on the cast lists for Every Man in His Humour (1598) and Sejanus His Fall (1603).
    More Details Hide Details The absence of his name from the 1605 cast list for Jonson's Volpone is taken by some scholars as a sign that his acting career was nearing its end. The First Folio of 1623, however, lists Shakespeare as one of "the Principal Actors in all these Plays", some of which were first staged after Volpone, although we cannot know for certain which roles he played. In 1610, John Davies of Hereford wrote that "good Will" played "kingly" roles. In 1709, Rowe passed down a tradition that Shakespeare played the ghost of Hamlet's father. Later traditions maintain that he also played Adam in As You Like It, and the Chorus in Henry V, though scholars doubt the sources of that information.
    This date, which can be traced back to an 18th-century scholar's mistake, has proved appealing to biographers, because Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616.
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  • FORTIES
  • 1613
    Age 48
    In 1613, Sir Henry Wotton recorded that Henry VIII "was set forth with many extraordinary circumstances of pomp and ceremony".
    More Details Hide Details On 29 June, however, a cannon set fire to the thatch of the Globe and burned the theatre to the ground, an event which pinpoints the date of a Shakespeare play with rare precision. In 1623, John Heminges and Henry Condell, two of Shakespeare's friends from the King's Men, published the First Folio, a collected edition of Shakespeare's plays. It contained 36 texts, including 18 printed for the first time. Many of the plays had already appeared in quarto versions—flimsy books made from sheets of paper folded twice to make four leaves. No evidence suggests that Shakespeare approved these editions, which the First Folio describes as "stol'n and surreptitious copies". Nor did Shakespeare plan or expect his works to survive in any form at all; those works likely would have faded into oblivion but for his friends' spontaneous idea, after his death, to create and publish the First Folio.
    In March 1613 he bought a gatehouse in the former Blackfriars priory; and from November 1614 he was in London for several weeks with his son-in-law, John Hall.
    More Details Hide Details After 1610, Shakespeare wrote fewer plays, and none are attributed to him after 1613. His last three plays were collaborations, probably with John Fletcher, who succeeded him as the house playwright of the King's Men.
  • 1612
    Age 47
    In 1612, he was called as a witness in Bellott v. Mountjoy, a court case concerning the marriage settlement of Mountjoy's daughter, Mary.
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  • 1611
    Age 46
    Shakespeare continued to visit London during the years 1611–1614.
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  • 1608
    Age 43
    Rowe was the first biographer to record the tradition, repeated by Johnson, that Shakespeare retired to Stratford "some years before his death". He was still working as an actor in London in 1608; in an answer to the sharers' petition in 1635 Cuthbert Burbage stated that after purchasing the lease of the Blackfriars Theatre in 1608 from Henry Evans, the King's Men "placed men players" there, "which were Heminges, Condell, Shakespeare, etc."
    More Details Hide Details However, it is perhaps relevant that the bubonic plague raged in London throughout 1609. The London public playhouses were repeatedly closed during extended outbreaks of the plague (a total of over 60 months closure between May 1603 and February 1610), which meant there was often no acting work. Retirement from all work was uncommon at that time.
  • 1607
    Age 42
    He was survived by his wife and two daughters. Susanna had married a physician, John Hall, in 1607, and Judith had married Thomas Quiney, a vintner, two months before Shakespeare's death.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1604
    Age 39
    By 1604, he had moved north of the river again, to an area north of St Paul's Cathedral with many fine houses.
    More Details Hide Details There he rented rooms from a French Huguenot named Christopher Mountjoy, a maker of ladies' wigs and other headgear.
  • 1603
    Age 38
    After the Lord Chamberlain's Men were renamed the King's Men in 1603, they entered a special relationship with the new King James.
    More Details Hide Details Although the performance records are patchy, the King's Men performed seven of Shakespeare's plays at court between 1 November 1604 and 31 October 1605, including two performances of The Merchant of Venice. After 1608, they performed at the indoor Blackfriars Theatre during the winter and the Globe during the summer. The indoor setting, combined with the Jacobean fashion for lavishly staged masques, allowed Shakespeare to introduce more elaborate stage devices. In Cymbeline, for example, Jupiter descends "in thunder and lightning, sitting upon an eagle: he throws a thunderbolt. The ghosts fall on their knees." The actors in Shakespeare's company included the famous Richard Burbage, William Kempe, Henry Condell and John Heminges. Burbage played the leading role in the first performances of many of Shakespeare's plays, including Richard III, Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear. The popular comic actor Will Kempe played the servant Peter in Romeo and Juliet and Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, among other characters. He was replaced around 1600 by Robert Armin, who played roles such as Touchstone in As You Like It and the fool in King Lear.
  • 1599
    Age 34
    He moved across the river to Southwark by 1599, the same year his company constructed the Globe Theatre there.
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  • 1596
    Age 31
    Throughout his career, Shakespeare divided his time between London and Stratford. In 1596, the year before he bought New Place as his family home in Stratford, Shakespeare was living in the parish of St. Helen's, Bishopsgate, north of the River Thames.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1594
    Age 29
    Some of Shakespeare's plays were published in quarto editions, beginning in 1594, and by 1598, his name had become a selling point and began to appear on the title pages.
    More Details Hide Details Shakespeare continued to act in his own and other plays after his success as a playwright.
    After 1594, Shakespeare's plays were performed only by the Lord Chamberlain's Men, a company owned by a group of players, including Shakespeare, that soon became the leading playing company in London.
    More Details Hide Details After the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, the company was awarded a royal patent by the new King James I, and changed its name to the King's Men. In 1599, a partnership of members of the company built their own theatre on the south bank of the River Thames, which they named the Globe. In 1608, the partnership also took over the Blackfriars indoor theatre. Extant records of Shakespeare's property purchases and investments indicate that his association with the company made him a wealthy man, and in 1597 he bought the second-largest house in Stratford, New Place, and in 1605, invested in a share of the parish tithes in Stratford.
  • 1592
    Age 27
    It is not known definitively when Shakespeare began writing, but contemporary allusions and records of performances show that several of his plays were on the London stage by 1592.
    More Details Hide Details By then, he was sufficiently known in London to be attacked in print by the playwright Robert Greene in his Groats-Worth of Wit: there is 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 factotum, is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country. Scholars differ on the exact meaning of Greene's words, but most agree that Greene was accusing Shakespeare of reaching above his rank in trying to match such university-educated writers as Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Nashe and Greene himself (the so-called "university wits"). The italicised phrase parodying the line "Oh, tiger's heart wrapped in a woman's hide" from Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 3, along with the pun "Shake-scene", clearly identify Shakespeare as Greene's target. As used here, Johannes Factotum ("Jack of all trades") refers to a second-rate tinkerer with the work of others, rather than the more common "universal genius".
    After the birth of the twins, Shakespeare left few historical traces until he is mentioned as part of the London theatre scene in 1592.
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  • 1589
    Age 24
    Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613.
    More Details Hide Details His early plays were primarily comedies and histories, and these are regarded as some of the best work ever produced in these genres. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights. Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime. In 1623, however, John Heminges and Henry Condell, two friends and fellow actors of Shakespeare, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare's. It was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Shakespeare is hailed, presciently, as "not of an age, but for all time".
  • 1588
    Age 23
    The exception is the appearance of his name in the "complaints bill" of a law case before the Queen's Bench court at Westminster dated Michaelmas Term 1588 and 9 October 1589.
    More Details Hide Details Scholars refer to the years between 1585 and 1592 as Shakespeare's "lost years". Biographers attempting to account for this period have reported many apocryphal stories. Nicholas Rowe, Shakespeare's first biographer, recounted a Stratford legend that Shakespeare fled the town for London to escape prosecution for deer poaching in the estate of local squire Thomas Lucy. Shakespeare is also supposed to have taken his revenge on Lucy by writing a scurrilous ballad about him. Another 18th-century story has Shakespeare starting his theatrical career minding the horses of theatre patrons in London. John Aubrey reported that Shakespeare had been a country schoolmaster. Some 20th-century scholars have suggested that Shakespeare may have been employed as a schoolmaster by Alexander Hoghton of Lancashire, a Catholic landowner who named a certain "William Shakeshafte" in his will. Little evidence substantiates such stories other than hearsay collected after his death, and Shakeshafte was a common name in the Lancashire area.
  • 1585
    Age 20
    Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men.
    More Details Hide Details He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, at age 49, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, which has stimulated considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, sexuality, and religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1582
    Age 17
    The consistory court of the Diocese of Worcester issued a marriage licence on 27 November 1582. The next day, two of Hathaway's neighbours posted bonds guaranteeing that no lawful claims impeded the marriage. The ceremony may have been arranged in some haste, since the Worcester chancellor allowed the marriage banns to be read once instead of the usual three times, and six months after the marriage Anne gave birth to a daughter, Susanna, baptised 26 May 1583.
    More Details Hide Details Twins, son Hamnet and daughter Judith, followed almost two years later and were baptised 2 February 1585. Hamnet died of unknown causes at the age of 11 and was buried 11 August 1596.
  • 1579
    Age 14
    This period begins and ends with two tragedies: Romeo and Juliet, the famous romantic tragedy of sexually charged adolescence, love, and death; and Julius Caesar—based on Sir Thomas North's 1579 translation of Plutarch's Parallel Lives—which introduced a new kind of drama.
    More Details Hide Details According to Shakespearean scholar James Shapiro, in Julius Caesar "the various strands of politics, character, inwardness, contemporary events, even Shakespeare's own reflections on the act of writing, began to infuse each other". In the early 17th century, Shakespeare wrote the so-called "problem plays" Measure for Measure, Troilus and Cressida, and All's Well That Ends Well and a number of his best known tragedies. Many critics believe that Shakespeare's greatest tragedies represent the peak of his art. The titular hero of one of Shakespeare's most famous tragedies, Hamlet, has probably been discussed more than any other Shakespearean character, especially for his famous soliloquy which begins "To be or not to be; that is the question". Unlike the introverted Hamlet, whose fatal flaw is hesitation, the heroes of the tragedies that followed, Othello and King Lear, are undone by hasty errors of judgement. The plots of Shakespeare's tragedies often hinge on such fatal errors or flaws, which overturn order and destroy the hero and those he loves. In Othello, the villain Iago stokes Othello's sexual jealousy to the point where he murders the innocent wife who loves him. In King Lear, the old king commits the tragic error of giving up his powers, initiating the events which lead to the torture and blinding of the Earl of Gloucester and the murder of Lear's youngest daughter Cordelia. According to the critic Frank Kermode, "the play-offers neither its good characters nor its audience any relief from its cruelty".
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1564
    Born
    Born in 1564.
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