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William Shakespeare: King of Theatre



William Shakespeare King of Theater Header

William Shakespeare was the most remembered and famous playwright of all times. His work is commonly assigned to all levels of educational assignments from grade school through journalism doctorate. His 37 plays and 157 sonnets are the cornerstone of all English literature, and still quoted in conversations all over the globe. It seems only fitting that his own ancient but renowned theatre was called the Globe in premonition of his long lasting and world wide fame.

Biography

Famous Portrait of William Shakespeare


William Shakespeare, the most famous playwright, poet and actor to ever live, was born in April, 1564. lived in the era of the Black Plague, and other devastating pestilence and disease. Shakespeare grew up in Stratford on Henley Street which is about one hundred miles northwest of London. He lived with his Father, John Shakespeare, his mother Mary Arden Shakespeare, and his seven siblings, Joan, Margaret, Gilbert, Richard, Edmund, the younger Joan, and Anne. Joan, Margaret, and Anne died in childhood.

At age 15, William Shakespeare purchased the second largest house in Stratford probably with his own earnings. William married 26 year old Anne Hathaway, when he was 18 years old. They had 3 children, Susanna, Hamnet and Judith. Hamnet and Judeth were twins, Hamnet died at age 11. Anne lived in the house at Stratford and rarely left home. William however found it more convenient to live in London at times, from around 1601. He invested substantially in real estate in Stratford, both land and rental properties, and was thought of as a businessman in Stratford.

Shakespeare wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets in his lifetime, many when he was very young. By the year 1597, 15 of his 37 plays were already being performed. Shakespeare worked at the Globe Theatre directing and coaching his own plays, as well as spending countless hours writing all those plays and sonnets, yet he still found time to be active at the Christian Holy Trinity Church where he was a lay rector, and took an active interest in community and local business affairs. Shakespeare died April 23rd 1616.

  • William Shakespeare Biography: Absolute Shakespeare offers a biography, quotes and essays, as well as information about his plays, sonnets, and poems.


His Works

Quill Over Copy of Shakespeares King Henry

William Shakespeare’s plays are commonly divided by genre’. Ten tragedies, 17 comedies, seven histories, 157 sonnets and three long poems are to his credit. These works have all been extensively studied and copied more than any other body of literature in history. Among the best known and widely appreciated are his tragedies, many of which also document historical figures, such as Julius Caesar, and Anthony and Cleopatra. Even the fictional tragedy characters seem to have such realism that it seems unlikely that they did not live at some time and place. The wit of his comedies is not lost on modern audiences, and they are widely enjoyed by all readers. Another note to his credit is his use of iambic pentameter. By using a rhythm to the words, rather than rhyming his work is infinitely more translatable. Any word for word translation would reflect his poetry as well as the original English so that his poetry does translate well into other languages. Shakespeare is one of the greatest and most timeless writers. The works of Shakespeare have endured for centuries, and will live on for many centuries to come.


Tragedies

  • Othello: Entire work with a drop-down list of scenes.
  • Macbeth Plugged: A complete annotated, on-line version of the Shakespearean tragedy.

Comedies

  • Cymbeline: Enjoy reading the entire play on line.
  • The Taming of the Shrew: The entire play including the explanation of the characters is available from this site.

Histories

Poems

  • The Sonnets: Links to read each one of Shakespeare’s sonnets on line.

Additional Resources

  • The Old Globe: This modern day theater in California, honors Shakespeare with an annual Shakespeare festival.
  • Shakespeare: A wealth of information is available on this site, including biographies.
  • Shakespeare's Globe: See this faithful reproduction of the original Globe, Located in London.
World Famous Globe Theatre
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