Monday, August 31, 2009


Elizabeth I was the Queen of England when Shakespeare was born in 1564. He was the son of a tradesman who made and sold gloves in the small town of Stratford-upon-Avon, and he was educated at the grammar school in the same town. When Shakespeare left school, he did not go to University as was expected of him. He worked probably in his father’s business. When he was 18, he married Anne Hathaway, who became the mother of his daughter, Susanna in 1583 and twins in 1585.

From 1585 until 1592 there are no documents that can tell us anything at all about Shakespeare. But we know that in 1592 he was known in London and he had become both an actor and a playwright.

We do not know when Shakespeare wrote his first play and indeed we are not sure of the order in which he wrote his works. His initial plays were on subjects taken from the history of England. It was partly because he was a very patriotic man, and partly because he was a shrewd businessman. He could see that theatre audiences enjoyed being shown their own history, and it was certain that he would make a profit from this kind of drama.
The plays in the next group are mainly comedies; With Romantic stories of young people who fall in love with one another and at the end of the play marry and live happily ever after.
At the end of the 16th century the happiness disappears and Shakespeare’ splays become melancholy, bitter and tragic. This change may have been caused by some sadness in the writer’s life due to the death of one of his twins children in 1596. Shakespeare, however, was not the only writer whose works at this time were very serious. The whole of England was facing a crisis. Queen Elizabeth I was growing old. She was greatly loved and the people were sad to think that she must die soon; they were also afraid, for the queen had never married and so there was no child to succeed her.
When James I came to throne in1603, Shakespeare continued to write serious drama-the great tragedies and plays based on Roman history (such as Julius Caesar) for which he is most famous. Finally, before he retired from the theatre, he wrote another set of comedies. All these have the same theme: they tell of happiness which is lost and then found again.
Shakespeare returned to Stratford, a rich and successful man. He owned one of the largest houses in town. He died in 1616.
Shakespeare also wrote two long poems and a collection of 154 sonnets other than his 37 plays. The sequence of sonnets describes two love affairs but we do not know who the lovers were.
Although there are many public documents concerned with his career as a writer and a businessman, Shakespeare has hidden his personal life from us. There is not even a trustworthy portrait of the world’s greatest dramatist.

'Shakespeare in Love' is a 1998 fictional romantic comedy based on the playwrite and the known people of that era. It is amust watch andwinner of seven academy awards. To watch a clip from the movie click on this link.

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