Delving into the Personality of Shakespeare in “What Was He Really Like? by Stanley Wells

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Most biographies written about William Shakespeare attempt to explain his life chronologically from birth to death. These accounts aim to describe his life through discussing his works and accomplishments. The problem with this pattern is that there are only so many ways humans can rewrite the same facts about the same person. Contrary to most papers about Shakespeare, the essay titled “What Was He Really Like?”, written by Stanley Wells, focuses internally on who Shakespeare was as an ordinary person. Instead of discussing when Shakespeare got married or explaining his life in relation to his works, Wells delves into the personality of the famous playwright. Stanley Wells encourages the reader of “What Was He Really Like?” to look at William Shakespeare in a new light.
Stanley Wells’ main objective in writing “What Was He Really Like?” was to examine Shakespeare internally. Instead of aimlessly trying to find unlikely links between Shakespeare’s life and his plays, Wells is curious about his personality. Although Wells does point out that the externals of Shakespeare’s life are important, he believes that exploring Shakespeare’s personality can help readers to better understand the playwright’s work. According to the essay, discovering what Shakespeare was really like is no easy task. Wells explains that “We have no letters, no diaries, scarcely any recorded conversations, only two literary dedications, few personal comments from his contemporaries, just a handful of anecdotes from the decades following his death” (110). Because so little is known about Shakespeare himself, the idea that he is a literary genius that is above all humanity has long endured. Wells goes on to point out that although he is the author of extraordinary...

... middle of paper ... an old friend. The structure of “What Was He Really Like?” is important in that it makes Stanley Wells’ points easier to convey to the audience.
In the essay titled “What Was He Really Like?”, Stanley Wells produces a new, fresh way of exploring William Shakespeare. Wells is more concerned with discovering the playwright’s personality than focusing on his external life. Wells helps us to realize that William Shakespeare lived and died as a normal human. The arrangement of Wells’ essay goes along perfectly with the tone and message he succeeded in getting across to the audience. “What Was He Really Like?” by Stanley Wells convinces the reader that William Shakespeare was an ordinary man with an extraordinary mind.

Works Cited

Wells, Stanley. "'What Was He Really Like?'." Critical Survey 21.3 (2009): 107-111. Academic
Search Complete. Web. 2 Feb. 2014.

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