The Work of Shakespeare

William Shakespeare, born in April 1564 was the son of John Shakespeare who was a prosperous alderman in the town of Stratford and was later granted a coat of arms by the College of Heralds. Not much was known of Shakespeare’s youth and is presumed that he attended the Stratford Grammar School. It was known that his father lost his fortune and Shakespeare could never finish school. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway who was 26. Being financially broke, Shakespeare was debarred from attending the university. His love and passion for writing had no boundaries.

He joined many acting companies and eventually became a playwright in London in 1592. By late 1594, Shakespeare was part-owner of a playing company, known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Seven years later he was recognized as an actor and a poet. The theater culture in 16th century England was not highly admired by people of high rank. Early in his career, Shakespeare was able to attract the attention of Henry Wriothesley, the Earl of Southampton, to whom he dedicated his first- and second-published poems: “Venus and Adonis” and “The Rape of Lucrece”.

To establish his career, Shakespeare had to start all from a scratch. He started his work as an apprentice and then gradually gained name and fame. With his earnings, Shakespeare built his own theatre, south of London, which was named as ‘The Globe’ giving the meaning that the whole world is a theatre. he was also known to own the second richest house during that era. Later during a play, ‘Henry VIII’ his theatre caught fire and burnt down to ashes.

Although Shakespeare invested in the rebuilding, he retired from the stage and continued to write until his death in 1616 on the day of his 52nd birthday. In his span of life, Shakespeare wrote 13 Comedies, 13 Historical Plays, 6 Tragedies, 4 Tragicomedies and more than 150 sonnets. All that can be deduced is that over the course of 20 years, Shakespeare wrote plays that capture the complete range of human emotion and conflict. He may be known as a poet, or playwright, but to me, he was a good businessman and a leader himself.

William Shakespeare’s genius, in part, lies with the immense vocabulary he employs, going so far as to create new words that are in today’s English language. William Shakespeare, has pushed the English language to its limits, even stretching them where necessary. His work is innovative and packed with meaning and by studying it we are studying the height of English literary achievement. This is the reason it is still studied in schools around the world to this day. There are countless beautiful quotes by William Shakespeare used either in his plays or poems.

Some of the quotes which are still remembered are; “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players”, “Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice”, “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me”, and the most famous one “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them”. William Shakespeare’s early plays were written in the conventional style of those times, with elaborate metaphors and soliloquy. However he was very innovative, and gave his best in adapting the traditional style and creating a freer flow of words.

Shakespeare is greatly considered as the best romantic playwright artist. With the exception of the world famous play, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ he also wrote the witty romance, ‘A Midsummer Night’s dream’; the romantic ‘Merchant of Venice’ and the charming ‘As You Like It’. Other plays which personified comedy were: ‘Titus Andronicus’, ‘The Comedy of Errors’, ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ and ‘The Two Gentlemen of Verona’. His best of tragic series were ‘Hamlet’, ‘King Lear’, ‘Othello’, ‘Julius Caesar’ and ‘Macbeth’. In William Shakespeare’s final period, he wrote several tragicomedies.

Among these are ‘Cymbeline’, ‘The Winter’s Tale’ and ‘The Tempest’. There are of course pros and cons of successful individuals. After 150 years of his death, controversies and questions arose about the authorship of William Shakespeare’s plays. Scholars and literary critics believed that the plays known to be written by Shakespeare were actually written by authors some other authors, since the records of William Shakespeare did not attest to him being an actor or a playwright. Many assumed that Shakespeare was a successful real-estate businessman, but refused to believe that he was a playwright artist.

However, the vast majority of Shakespearean scholars contend that William Shakespeare wrote all his own plays. What seems to be true is that William Shakespeare was a respected man of the dramatic arts who wrote plays and acted in some in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Today, his plays are highly popular and constantly studied and reinterpreted in performances with diverse cultural and political contexts. The genius of Shakespeare’s characters and plots are that they present real human beings in a wide range of emotions and conflicts that transcend their origins from Elizabethan times.