William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

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The Northern Renaissance began after 1500, when scholars and merchants in northern Europe supported Renaissance ideas. The Northern Renaissance writers also supported and adopted the idea of humanism, but gave humanism more of a religious opinion (Adams 14). One of the famous northern writers is William Shakespeare. Many people say that he is the best playwright ever. Shakespeare's life can be separated into his young years, marriage, play years, and late years.
First of all, Shakespeare was born on April 23rd, 1564. No one knows Shakespeare's exact date of birth, but the 23rd has been designated as his birth date (Frye 7). His baptismal records state ""Guliemus filius Johannes Shakspere"; meaning "William son of John Shakespeare (Shakspere)." He was the third of eight children. William Shakespeare's last name can also be written Shakspere, Shaksper, and Shake-Spear because the Elizabethan time was not specific. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, a town with 1,500 people. This city was about 90 miles northwest of London, England. He grew up on Henley Street (Adams 29). Stratford was both the birthplace and burial of William Shakespeare. His parents were John Shakespeare and Mary Arden. His father was a town official while his mother stayed home to watch the kids. Shakespeare supposedly started going to grammar school at the age of seven. He went to school from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. He studied Latin and other subjects there for free. His teachers all had Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Oxford and other universities. After country school, he immediately left and went to London (Brownfoot 30).
Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway in November of 1582. At the time, he was 18. His wife, Anne Hathaway, was 26. Anne was three months pregnant when they finally wed. Together, they had three legitimate children (Shakspere). He had one son and two daughters. His first daughters name was Susanna. After he moved to London to pursue his acting career, he occasionally paid visits to his home. Shakespeare's wife, Anne, died seven years after him (Wadsworth). She died on August 6th, 1623 (Absolute). She too was buried at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford.
Shakespeare used his adult life writing plays and becoming a famous Northern Renaissance writer. Shakespeare joined a traveling acting company. He owned part of an acting company called "Lord Chamberlain's Men".

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His best-known partner was Ben Jonson. By 1594 he was a famous writer, part owner of a company and an actor. His plays analyzed human flaws and his sonnets deal with beauty and love. Shakespeare's first printed play was "Titus Andronicus" (Absolute). Shakespeare had many very famous plays. Some of his most famous were Hamlet, Julius Caesar, MacBeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Romeo and Juliet.
Hamlet is seen to have been one of the most famous plays in the English language. This tragedy was written around the 1600`s, and shows a hero's struggle between murder and moral integrity (Scott 72). In this play, Prince Hamlet mourns over the death of his father and his mother's remarriage. Hamlet's father comes back as a ghost to tell Hamlet that his mother's new husband, Claudius, poisoned him. Furious Hamlet swears revenge on Claudius for his sin. Hamlet ends up killing an eavesdropping court chamberlain. He does not know that the court chamberlain's daughter is in love with him, but hates the way he acts. In the end, there is a deadly duel that ends up taking the lives of Hamlet, Gertrude, Claudius and Leartes (Scott 76).
Julius Caesar is also a tragedy. The play was written and was performed around 1599. It was very popular around the time it came out. Caesar is a political leader in Rome at the time of the play (Scott 164). He is warned to "Beware the Ides of March." This shows relevance when Marcus Brutus and other men assassinate him on March 15th (Scott 166). The death of Julius Caesar ends up leading Rome into even more violence and civil wars.
Macbeth is William Shakespeare's shortest plays. Macbeth is a tragedy written in the early 1600's. In this tragedy, three witches tell MacBeth that he will one day become king. Macbeth then decided to kill the current Scottish king, Duncan. Macbeth's wife agrees to the plan to kill. Her decision comes back to haunt her and she eventually commits suicide. At the end, Macduff kills Macbeth and takes over the crown (Scott 233).
A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of Shakespeare's comedies. This is one of his most famous works. This play was written in around 1595. The play is about four young actors and their experiences with fairies in a forest. The four young actors include Hermia, Helena, Demetrius, and Lysander (Scott 357).
Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy. It is considered to be one of the most popular romantic tragedies in English literature. This play is about Romeo, a Montague, who marries Juliet, a Capulet. They marry even though their families are enemies and often fight each other (Scott 458). After Tybalt and Mercutio dies, Romeo is banished from Verona. He secretly talks to the Friar. Juliet takes a potion, which makes it looks like shes, dead. When Romeo enters the vault, he finds Juliet "dead" and instantly kills himself. Juliet wakes up and sees Romeo dead. She takes a dagger and stabs herself.
William Shakespeare finished his will on March 25th, 1616. He died on April 23rd, 1616 (Shakspere). He died on his 52nd birthday. The cause of his death was unknown. Some say he was drunk, got a fever and died. Others say he fell ill and died (Wikipedia). Shakespeare was buried at the Holy Trinity church in Stratford-upon-Avon. He was survived by his daughters, Susanna and Judith.
William Shakespeare is one of the greatest playwrights who ever lived. Shakespeare's work shows his full knowledge of human nature. He is considered the best playwright of the Renaissance. His plays were very popular in the 1600s, and still are today. Even though he has been dead for 400 years, he is still one of everyone's favorite writers.


Works Cited

Adams, Joseph Quincy. A Life of William Shakespeare. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.,
1923
Brownfoot, Andrew. Shakespeare On Stage. England: Tarquin Publications, 1998
Frye, Rol and Mushat. Shakespeare's Life and Times. London, England: Princeton
University Press, 1967
Adams, Joseph. A life about William Shakespeare. Houghton: Mifflin Co. 1923.
Wadsworth, Frank W. "Shakespeare, William." World Book Online Reference Center.
2006. WSHS library. 6 Nov 2006
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"William Shakespeare." Wikipedia. 1999. 6 Nov. 2006

"William Shakespeare." Absolute Shakespeare. 2005. AbsoluteShakeaspeare.com. 6
Nov 2006
"William Shakspere of Stratford." William Shakspere. 6 Nov 2006
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