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William Shakespeare


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Title: William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare
1564-1616 Stratford-on-Avon - England
  • Who was he?
  • Why is he so famous?
  • Life
  • Works
  • Tragedy
  • Comedy
  • History
  • Poetry
  • Chronology
  • Elements of drama
  • Dramatic technique
  • Poetic technique
  • Elizabethan theatre
  • Sonnet XVIII
  • Macbeth
  • Hamlet
  • Julius Caesar
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Much ado about nothing
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • Links

Who was he?
  • Widely regarded as the greatest writer in English
  • Poet and dramatist
  • Wrote 37 plays comedies, histories, tragedies
  • Composed about 154 sonnets and a few poems
  • Started out as an actor

  • Born around April 23, 1564 3rd of 8 children
    Family lived in Stratford-on-Avon, a market town
    about 100 miles NW of London
  • Father (John) a shopkeeper. A man of considerable
    standing in Stratford. Served as Justice of the
    Peace and High Bailiff (mayor)
  • Attended grammar school, where he studied Latin,
    grammar and literature, Rhetoric (the use of
    language). No further formal education known
  • Marriage to Anne Hathaway, 8 years older than
    he, 3 children Susanna (1583), Judith and
    Hamnet (twins, 1585)

Later life
  • 1594 - became shareholder in a company of actors
    called Lord Chamberlains Men
  • 1599 - Lord Chamberlains Co. Built Globe
    Theater where most of S. Plays were performed
  • 1599 - Actor for Lord Chamberlains Men and
    principal playwright for them
  • 1603 James I became king of England acting
    company renamed Kings Men
  • 1610 Shakespeare retired to Stratford-on-Avon
    April 2
  • 1616 died at the age of 52

Editions of works First Quarto (1603), Second
Quarto (1604), Folio (1623)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • All's Well That Ends Well
  • As You Like It
  • Cymbeline
  • Loves Labours Lost
  • Measure for Measure
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Pericles, Prince of Tyre
  • The Comedy of Errors
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor
  • The Taming of the Shrew
  • The Tempest
  • Troilus and Cressida
  • Twelfth Night
  • Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • Winter's Tale

  • Antony and Cleopatra
  • Coriolanus
  • Hamlet
  • Julius Caesar
  • King Lear
  • Macbeth
  • Othello
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Timon of Athens
  • Titus Andronicus

  • Henry IV, part 1
  • Henry IV, part 2
  • Henry V
  • Henry VI, part 1
  • Henry VI, part 2
  • Henry VI, part 3
  • Henry VIII
  • King John
  • Richard II
  • Richard III

  • A Lover's Complaint
  • Sonnets (about 154)
  • The Passionate Pilgrim
  • The Phoenix and the turtle
  • The Rape of Lucrece
  • Venus and Adonis

Why is he still so famous?
  • His plays portray recognizable people in
    situations we experience in our lives love,
    marriage, death, mourning, guilt, the need to
    make difficult choices, separation, reunion and
  • They do so with great humanity, tolerance, and
  • They are constantly fresh and can be adapted to
    the place and time they are performed
  • Their language is wonderfully expressive and
  • They help us to understand what it is to be
    human, and to cope with the problems of being so

  • The problem with any timeline of Shakespeare's
    works is that most dates are subject to
    interpretation. While it is easy to say that The
    Comedy of Errors is an early work and The Tempest
    is quite later, exact dates are not - and may not
    ever be -proved.

Title Date Written Date Range First Published
The Comedy of Errors 1590 ? - 1594 1623
Titus Andronicus 1590 ? - 1594 1594
The Taming of the Shrew 1591 ? - 1594 1623
2 Henry VI 1591 ? - 1592 1594
3 Henry VI 1591 ? - 1592 1595
1 Henry VI 1592 ? - 1592 1623
Richard III 1592 1592 - 1597 1597
Love's Labor's Lost 1593 ? - 1597 1598
Two Gentlemen of Verona 1593 ? - 1598 1623
A Midsummer Night's Dream 1594 1594 - 1598 1600
Romeo and Juliet 1595 ? - 1597 1597
Richard II 1595 1595 - 1597 1597
King John 1596 ? - 1598 1623
The Merchant of Venice 1596 1594 - 1598 1600
Henry IV Part 1 1596 1595 - 1598 1598
Henry IV Part 2 1597 1596 - 1598 1600
The Merry Wives of Windsor 1597 1597 - 1602 1602
As You Like It 1598 1598 - 1600 1623
Much Ado About Nothing 1598 1598 - 1600 1600
Henry V 1599 1599 1600
Julius Caesar 1599 1598 - 1599 1623
Twelfth Night 1600 1600 - 1602 1623
Hamlet 1601 1599 - 1601 1603
Troilus and Cressida 1602 1601 - 1603 1609
All's Well That Ends Well 1603 1598 - ? 1623
Measure For Measure 1604 1598 - 1604 1623
Othello 1604 1598 - 1604 1622
King Lear 1605 1598 - 1606 1608
Macbeth 1606 1603 - 1611 1623
Antony and Cleopatra 1606 1598 - 1608 1623
Timon of Athens 1606 1598 - ? 1623
Pericles Prince of Tyre 1607 1598 - 1608 1609
Coriolanus 1608 1598 - ? 1623
Cymbeline 1609 1598 - 1611 1623
A Winter's Tale 1610 1598 - 1611 1623
The Tempest 1611 1610 - 1611 1623
Henry VIII 1613 1612 - 1613 1623
  • Used over 20,000 words in his works
  • The average writer uses 7,500
  • The English Dictionary of his time only had 500
  • Hes credited with creating 3,000 words in the
    English Oxford Dictionary
  • He was by far the most important individual
    influence on the development of the modern
  • He invented lots of words that we use in our
    daily speech

Words invented by the Bard
  • accommodation
  • amazement
  • assassination
  • baseless
  • bloody
  • bump
  • castigate
  • changeful
  • control (noun)
  • countless
  • courtship
  • critic
  • eventful
  • exposure
  • frugal
  • generous
  • gloomy
  • hurry
  • impartial
  • indistinguishable
  • invulnerable
  • laughable
  • lonely
  • majestic

misplaced monumental obscene pious
premeditated radiance reliance road sportive
submerge suspicious
Elements of drama
  • 5-part dramatic structure corresponds to a plays
  • 5 acts
  • Exposition (introduction)
  • Establishes tone, setting, main characters, main
  • Fills in events previous to play
  • Rising action
  • Series of complications for the protagonist (main
  • flowing from the main conflict

Elements of drama
  • Crisis or Climax
  • Turning point in story
  • Moment of choice for protagonist
  • Forces of conflict come together
  • Falling action
  • Results of protagonists decision
  • Maintains suspense
  • Resolution or Denouement
  • Conclusion of play
  • Unraveling of plot
  • May include characters deaths

Dramatic technique
  • Pun play on words involving
  • Word with more than one meaning
  • Words with similar sounds
  • Soliloquy
  • Speech of moderate to long length
  • Spoken by one actor alone on stage (or not heard
    by other actors)
  • Aside
  • Direct address by actor to audience
  • Not supposed to be overheard by other characters

Poetic technique
  • Blank verse unrhymed iambic pentameter
  • Iambic pentameter
  • 5 units of rhythm per line
  • primary rhythm is iambic ( U / )
  • Shal Ì compàre Thée to a sùmmers dày

Typical 16th century theatre
  • Building
  • 3 stories Levels 1 2,
  • Backstage dressing and storage areas Level 3,
    Upper Stage could represent balcony, walls of a
    castle, bridge of a ship
  • Resembled courtyard of an inn

The Globe Theatre
Elizabethan Theatre
The Globe Theatre
  • Proscenium stage
  • A large platform without a curtain or a stage
  • 2 ornate pillars supported canopy
  • Stage roof (underpart of canopy)
  • called the heavens
  • elaborately painted to depict the sun, moon,
    stars, planets

  • Trap doors entrances and exits of ghosts area
    under stage called Hell
  • 2 large doors at back actors made entrances and
    exits in full view of audience
  • Inner stage a recess with balcony area above
  • Floor ash mixed with hazelnut shells from snacks
    audience ate during performance
  • Effect on performance plays held in afternoon
  • No roof
  • No artificial lighting
  • No scenery

Acting companies
  • Developed from the medieval trade guilds
  • Were composed of
  • Only boys and men
  • Young boys performed female roles

  • 2000-3000 people from all walks of life
  • Well-to-do spectators sat in covered galleries
    around stage
  • Most stood in yard around platform stage

The sonnets
  • Containing some of the greatest lyric poems in
    English literature, Shakespeares Sonnets are not
    just the easy love sentiments of "Shall I compare
    thee to a summer's day." Many of the poems are
    bleak cries of emotional torment and spiritual
    exhaustion. They tell a story of the struggle of
    love and forgiveness against anguish and despair.
    It is this tragic portrait of human love that
    makes the sonnets immortal.

Sonnet 18
  • Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou
    art more lovely and more temperateRough winds
    do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's
    lease hath all too short a dateSometime 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 un-trimm'dBut thy eternal
    summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of
    that fair thou ow'st, Nor shall death brag thou
    wander'st in his shade,When in eternal lines to
    time thou grow'st So long as men can breathe,
    or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this
    gives life to thee

Paraphrase of Sonnet 18
  • Shall I compare you to a summer's day? You are
    more lovely and more moderate Harsh winds
    disturb the delicate buds of May, and summer
    doesn't last long enough. Sometimes the sun is
    too hot, and its golden face is often dimmed by
    clouds. All beautiful things eventually become
    less beautiful, either by the experiences of life
    or by the passing of time. But your eternal
    beauty won't fade, nor lose any of its quality.
    And you will never die, as you will live on in my
    enduring poetry. As long as there are people
    still alive to read poems this sonnet will live,
    and you will live in it.

Sonnet 18 Commentary
  • The gender of the addressee is not explicit
  • The first two quatrains focus on the fair
    persons beauty
  • The poet attempts to compare it to a summers day
  • The timeless beauty far surpasses that of the
    fleeting, inconstant season.
  • The theme of the ravages of time predominates
  • The poet is eternalizing the fair persons beauty
    in his verse
  • The poet describes summer as a season of extremes
    and disappointments
  • These imperfections contrast sharply with the
    poets description of the fair person
  • In line 12 we find the poets solution
  • The poet plans to capture the fair personss
    beauty in his verse
  • The poem will withstand the ravages of time
  • Summer as a metaphor for youth, or perhaps beauty
    or both

Figures of speeech
  • Rhyming scheme ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.
  • Anaphora (the repetition of opening words) in
    lines 6-7, 10-11, and 13-14.
  • Metaphor summer for youth or beauty or both
  • Initial Rethorical question
  • Comparison
  • Personification
  • Imagery

Sonnet 73
  • That time of year thou mayst in me beholdWhen
    yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hangUpon
    those boughs which shake against the cold,Bare
    ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds
    sang.In me thou seest the twilight of such
    dayAs after sunset fadeth in the west,Which by
    and by black night doth take away,Death's second
    self, that seals up all in rest.In me thou
    see'st the glowing of such fireThat on the ashes
    of his youth doth lie,As the death-bed whereon
    it must expireConsumed with that which it was
    nourish'd by.This thou perceivest, which makes
    thy love more strong,To love that well which
    thou must leave ere long.

Paraphrase of Sonnet 73
  • In me you can see that time of yearWhen a few
    yellow leaves or none at all hangOn the
    branches, shaking against the cold,Bare ruins of
    church choirs where lately the sweet birds
    sang.In me you can see only the dim light that
    remainsAfter the sun sets in the west,Which is
    soon extinguished by black nightThe image of
    death that envelops all in rest.In me you can
    see the glowing embersThat lie upon the ashes
    remaining from the flame of my youth,As on a
    death bed where it (youth) must finally
    dieConsumed by that which once fed it.This you
    sense, and it makes your love more determinedTo
    love more deeply that which you must give up
    before long.

Sonnet 130
  • My mistress' eyes are nothing like the
    sun,Coral is far more red, than her lips red,If
    snow be white, why then her breasts are dunIf
    hairs be wires, black wires grow on her headI
    have seen roses damasked, red and white,But no
    such roses see I in her cheeks,And in some
    perfumes is there more delight,Than in the
    breath that from my mistress reeks.I love to
    hear her speak, yet well I know,That music hath
    a far more pleasing soundI grant I never saw a
    goddess go,My mistress when she walks treads on
    the ground.And yet by heaven I think my love as
    rare,As any she belied with false compare.

Paraphrase of Sonnet 130
  • My mistress's eyes are not at all like the sun
  • Coral is much more red than her lips
  • If snow is white, then her breasts are certainly
    not white as snow
  • If hairs can be compared to wires, hers are black
    and not golden
  • I have seen roses colored a combination of red
    and white
  • But I do not see such colors in her cheeks
  • And some perfumes give more delight
  • Than the breath of my mistress.
  • I love to hear her speak, but I know
  • That music has a more pleasing sound than her
  • I also never saw a goddess walk
  • But I know that my mistress walks only on the
  • And yet I think my love as rare
  • .As any woman who has had poetic untruths told
    about her

Sonnet 116
  • Let me not to the marriage of true mindsAdmit
    impediments, love is not loveWhich alters when
    it alteration finds,Or bends with the remover to
    remove.O no, it is an ever-fixed markThat looks
    on tempests and is never shakenIt is the star
    to every wand'ring bark,Whose worth's unknown,
    although his height be taken.Love's not Time's
    fool, though rosy lips and cheeksWithin his
    bending sickle's compass come,Love alters not
    with his brief hours and weeks,But bears it out
    even to the edge of doomIf this be error and
    upon me proved,I never writ, nor no man ever

Sonnet 71
  • No longer mourn for me when I am dead,Than you
    shall hear the surly sullen bellGive warning to
    the world that I am fledFrom this vile world
    with vilest worms to dwellNay if you read this
    line, remember not,The hand that writ it, for I
    love you so,That I in your sweet thoughts would
    be forgot,If thinking on me then should make you
    woe.O if (I say) you look upon this verse,When
    I (perhaps) compounded am with clay,Do not so
    much as my poor name rehearseBut let your love
    even with my life decay.Lest the wise world
    should look into your moan,And mock you with me
    after I am gone.

  • Shakespeare Resource centre
  • Mr W. Shakespeare and the Internet
  • No sweat Shakespeare
  • Absolute Shakespeare
  • Shakespeares Movies
  • Works in Italian
  • Shakespeare in Modern English
  • Study Guides
  • Online Guides
  • One more guide
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