William Shakespeare

A painted portrait of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was one of the greatest English writers, poets, and playwrights. ({{PD-Art}})

William Shakespeare is one of the most influential figures in English literature. He was a great writer, an English poet, an actor, and a playwright. In his life, he influenced art, literature, language, and many other forms of creative arts. He was also regarded as the foremost dramatist of his time. He wrote many plays, sonnets, and poems. Even today, his works continue to be studied and reinterpreted.

It is believed that William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon. His father was John Shakespeare, a successful businessman, and his mother was Mary Arden. He was one of eight children. Shakespeare spent his early life learning at King’s New School in Stratford. Here, he learned basic Latin text and grammar. There is no record of him attending any university. At 18, he married Anne Hathaway who was the daughter of a family friend. She was 26 years old and pregnant at the time of the wedding. Eventually, Shakespeare fathered three children: Susanna and twins, Hamnet and Judith. He stayed married to his wife Anne until his death in 1616. He was 52 when he died.

Altogether, Shakespeare’s works include 2 narrative poems, 154 sonnets, 38 plays, and a variety of other poems. No original manuscripts of Shakespeare’s plays are known to exist today. His writings have been compiled in various iterations of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. 

Quotes from William Shakespeare are quite popular in the world. They clearly show how he understood the good, bad, and ugly of human nature. It appears as though his quotes touch upon every subject of human life. Some of his most famous quotes are on the subject of love. Here is a very popular one from Hamlet:

 To be, or not to be, that is the question (Hamlet, Act 3 Scene 1, Lines 56-83)

This quote highlights anguished Hamlet’s pondering about his life’s purpose and suicide. Shakespeare’s other works such as Henry VIII, The Tempest, As You Like It, Merchant of Venice, and Twelfth Night include quotes on happiness and feminism.

Shakespeare was a creative writer during the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages of British theater. In his poems and plays, he invented words by combining Latin, French, and native roots. He also changed the world of poetry with his prolific use of new forms and deviating from standard content. Shakespeare was, and still is, the most prominent influential figure in the English language.

William Shakespeare Essay Examples

Biography Of William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was born in 1564, supposedly on 22 or 23 April, in Stratford-upon-Avon. His father, John, who was a prosperous glover there, preparing and selling soft leather, became alderman and later high bailiff. Shakespeare was educated at Stratford Grammar School.

The Life of William Shakespeare

Throughout the United States and the entire world people are aware of Shakespeare; however, many people wonder why society wants their citizens to continue to read William Shakespeare’s plays and poems. Shakespeare continues to influence today’s environment and brings people together by speaking of a common author that most people know.

The Great Writer William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is an author who has inspired many writers. Many people have studied his works and his plays have been made into movies and live performances. Shakespeare pushed the limit when it came to writing and showed us how exciting a play can be.

Quote Analysis from Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Hamlet, a play written by the prominent writer, Shakespeare, is about a Danish prince whose father was murdered by his uncle who then married his mother. The story follows Hamlet for a time period of a few months while he decides how to deal with the situation of his uncle and mother.

Julius Caesar Guilt Quotes

Julius Caesar, another well-known play and tragedy written by William Shakespeare in 1599, is a tragedy about the tyrannical Roman emperor Julius Caesar and the events that lead to the murder of Julius Caesar. This tragedy is most famous for the line “Et tu, Brute?”

Poems of William Shakespeare

Shakespeare is recognized as the world’s greatest English poet. Along with sonnets, he penned down two long narrative poems and a few other minor poems. Today, he has become a symbol of writing as well as poetry.

Shakespeare turned to poetry between the years 1593 and 1594 since London theaters were forced to shut down because of the plague. During this time, his first printed works were published. They included two long poems: Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. Both contain dozens of stanzas and comments on the depravity of unwanted sexual advances. Themes of guilt, lust, and moral confusion are also seen throughout these poems.

In Shakespeare’s era, it was very fashionable to write poetry but it wasn’t economical. William wrote poetry mainly for himself and he enjoyed it. It also enhanced his credibility and social standing as a writer.

Shakespeare’s Influence On Venus And Adonis

While Shakespeare was working at the London theaters, there was a time in which they all closed. This was by the orders of the Privy Council. All the theaters in London closed on June 23, 1592. They were closed to help prevent the spread of a severe outbreak of the plague.

Shakespeare Love Poem Analysis

1.The speaker in this poem is a poet but it is not to be confused with William Shakespeare as it is not stated that the poet is indeed Shakespeare. The speaker is very full of himself and controversial as he compared summer with his lover and ultimately insulted summer throughout the poem.

Plays by William Shakespeare

The folio containing Shakespeare’s play Macbeth
William Shakespeare wrote many plays, including Macbeth.

William Shakespeare made his appearance on the London stage around 1592. After 1594, his plays were solely performed by a company called The Lord Chamberlain’s Men. However, in 1599, he created his own theater and named it The Globe Theatre. Further, he produced on average two plays a year, for almost 20 years. 

During his time in the company, he wrote his most famous tragedies, King Lear and Macbeth, as well as great romances, like The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest

Shakespeare wrote more than 30 plays, which are divided into four categories: histories, comedies, tragedies, and romances. Some of his best-known plays are tragedies: Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Hamlet. The Romeo and Juliet play is about two star-crossed lovers belonging to two different sides of a generations-long feud. Macbeth explores the themes of greed, free will, and the supernatural. Hamlet is an intense dilemma and involves the family struggles of the Prince of Denmark. Shakespeare also wrote other popular plays such as Julius Caesar, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Today, his plays have countless adaptations; they have been performed on stages and have been made into films. Take a look at the following essays that discuss some of his very famous plays.

William Shakespeare and The Globe Theater

Imagine watching the famous plays of William Shakespeare being performed right in front of yours eyes at the amazing Globe Theater. William Shakespeare was part owner of The Globe Theater. The famous Globe Theater was a place where outstanding plays were performed.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Macbeth gives the reader insight to a world that is beyond the understanding of a regular human being, and shows the reader a side of life that is dark. As Macbeth progresses as a person, he begins to come in contact with a life that is so unfamiliar to him.

William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

The opening scene of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet will be the scene that I choose to analysis. Elements of plots that could be found in the first scene are exposition, point of attack, discovery and foreshadowing.

Hamlet by WIlliam Shakespeare

Hamlet is one of the greatest plays written in history by William Shakespeare. It is a tragedy that tells the story of prince Hamlet who seeks revenge for his father’s murder.  At the start of the play, Hamlet is melancholic and tries desperate to control his fate

The Tragedy of Othello

William Shakespeare’s, The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice, from the sixteenth century is an excellent example of Renaissance humanism.  “A poet of unparalleled genius, Shakespeare emerged during the golden age of England under the rule of Elizabeth I.”(Fiero 3:98)  He produced comedies, tragedies, romances and histories.

The Sonnets of William Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 printed on paper
William Shakespeare wrote several sonnets, most of which are very well known.
Image Credit: Folger Shakespeare Library / Wikimedia Commons (licensed under CC BY 4.0)

It is believed that Shakespeare began writing sonnets seriously around 1592. A typical sonnet comprises fourteen lines of iambic pentameter (a ten-syllable pattern of alternating unaccented and accented syllables). With a few exceptions, Shakespeare’s sonnets observe the stylistic form of the English sonnet—the rhyme scheme, the 14 lines, and the meter. 

There are 152 short sonnets attributed to Shakespeare. Most of them were published by Thomas Thorpe. All these sonnets focus on the themes of love and life. His most famous ones are Sonnet 28, Sonnet 29, Sonnet 71, and Sonnet 55. Their narrative speaks about Shakespeare’s deep insecurity and jealousy as a lover. Several of his sonnets may appear gender-neutral. For example, in “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” from Sonnet 18, it is quite unclear whether the gender is male or female. But the majority of sonnets are written in the voice of a male narrator to a male lover.

Shakespeare seems to have two series within his sonnets. One is the Dark Lady, which showcases one’s lust for a dark, married woman, and the other is the Fair Youth, which is about confused love feelings for a young man. This dichotomy has been widely studied and debated. It’s unclear whether these are real people or two opposing sides to Shakespeare’s own personality.

Explore the following essays to understand more about Shakespeare’s famous sonnets.

Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare

SONNET 18 William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 is one of one hundred fifty four poems of fourteen lines written in Iambic Pentameter. These sonnets exclusively employ the rhyme scheme, which has come to be called the Shakespearean Sonnet.

Critical Analysis of Sonnet 29 by William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) lived in a time of religious turbulence. During the Renaissance people began to move away from the Church. Authors began to focus on the morals of the individual and on less lofty ideals than those of the Middle Ages.

The Influence of Shakespeare’s Sonnets

The year 1609 has been an important year in the history of English literature, though historically it considers being a year of no great consequence in the World. English literature marked the year with great importance as “Shakespeare’s Sonnet” was first published on that year.

Sonnets In Shakespeare: An Analysis Of Shakespeare’s Sonnet

Sonnets became a huge part of English literature when it was established by Petrarch in the fourteenth century. Sonnets were originally known as love poems from the writer to their lovers, but later developed into other kinds of poems.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When and where was Shakespeare born?

    William Shakespeare was baptized on 26 April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon in the United Kingdom, but his birthday is celebrated on 23 April 1564.

  • How many children did William Shakespeare have?

    William Shakespeare had three children with his wife, Anne Hathaway. Their eldest child was a daughter named Susanna. Two years after her birth, the couple had twins: a boy named Hamnet and a daughter named Judith Quiney.

  • What was the first play William Shakespeare wrote?

    Shakespeare’s earliest play is mostly one of the three parts of King Henry VI and was based on English history. He wrote it between 1589 and 1591.

  • How many plays and sonnets did Shakespeare write himself?

    The majority of Shakespearean scholars agree that Shakespeare wrote at least 38 plays and 154 sonnets during his literary times. They covered themes such as mortality, time, beauty, infidelity, love, and jealousy.

  • How and when did Shakespeare die?

    It is assumed that Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616, at the age of 52. There are also speculations about the exact cause of his death. Some say that he got a fever from heavy drinking or suffered from a food-borne illness, or even that he died of syphilis.