Elizabethan Era 1558 - 1603

Tudors Times 1485 - 1603

Jacobean Era 1603 - 1625

William Shakespeare during Elizabethan Era1



The real date on which William Shakespeare was born is a mystery but is it is a known fact that he was born in the year 1564 as the third child to John Shakespeare and Mary Arden. John Shakespeare was a flourishing glover and alderman hailing from Smitterfield. It is believed that William studied in King's New School in Standford.
He was an English poet and playwright and was regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. He is even known as the 'national poet' of England and the 'Bard of Avon'. The respect and reputation of Shakespeare did not rise to what it is now until the 19th century.
Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway when he was just 18 years old and they together had three children Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Susanna was born within six months of their marriage which gave rise to the possibility that she was pregnant at the time of their marriage. The twins were born after two years of their marriage.

After the birth of the twins, Shakespeare did not write much. Hamnet however died of unknown illness at the age of 12 years and was buried on 11th August, 1596. There were ambiguous speculations about the sexuality of Shakespeare.

It is not known as to when exactly Shakespeare took to writing his plays but from the records of the performances of his plays show that it was sometime during 1585 and 1592 that he rose to great heights as an actor, writer and a part-owner of a playing company in London.

This period is also referred to as the 'Lost years' in Shakespeare's life. Shakepeare between 1589 and 1613 had produced most of his known work. The early plays written by Shakespeare mostly were comedy and history. Till 1608, he primarily wrote about tragedies and plays like Hamlat, King Lear and Macbeth are considered to be the finest work in the English language.

From 1594 Shakespeare's plays were only performed by the playing company called Lord Chamberlain's Men and almost instantly it was leading playing company in London. The company was awarded a royal patent by James I after the death of Queen Elizabeth I, by virtue of which the company was re-named as King's Men.

It was also believed that Shakespeare had acted in some of his plays like 'As You Like It' and 'Hamlet', where he was ghost of Hamlet's father. Shakespeare was known to have given sufficient time to his work by juggling between London and Stratford.

It was a belief that Shakespeare had retired from his career aroung 1613 and was living in Stratford. He would however, often travel to London. Shakespeare after 1606 or 1607 wrote very few plays. Shakespeare had made a will, according to which a major portion of his property was left for his elder daughter Susanna.

He however lay a condition that after her death, her property should be passed on to her first son. However, she had only one child, a daughter named Elizabeth who died issueless. Judith, Susanna's sister had three children, all of whom died without marrying and thus ended Shakespeare's direct family. His wife probably inherited one-third of the estate and his 'second best bed'.

It was during the early 1590's that Shakespeare's first works were recorded which include Richard III, and three parts of Henry VI. His histories give a view about the exact origin for the rise and popularity of the Tudor dynasty. Shakespeare's work was heavily influenced from his predecessors like Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Kyd.

Credit is to be given to Shakespeare to introduce the concept of romance as part of tragedy. Until his play Romeo and Juliet, romance was not a common phenomenon during that time. After the late 1590's the characters in Shakespearian plays became more complex and he even added prose comedy to the histories.

In the initial years of 1600 he turned to writing what is known as 'Problem Play' like 'Measure for Measure','All's Well That Ends Well', etc. In 1593-94 two erotic poems were published by Shakespeare, Venus and Adonisa and The Rapre of Lurence and dedicated them to Henry Wriothesley,Earl of Southampton. This was the time when theatres were shut down owing to the plague.

The style or manner in which Shakespeare wrote his early plays were regarded as a conventional style, something that was not very commonly done by the writers during that era. However after some time, he started to write in the traditional fashion. Around the 1590's, Shakespeare wrote natural poetry by reducing the useage of metaphor as per necessary for the drama.

The work of Shakespeare provided a vital source of motivation for the future poets. His impact was seen even on novelists like Thomas Hardy, William Faulker and Charles Dickens. His play Macbeth was even translated into German by Swiss Romantic artist, Henry Fuseli. It is also essential to note that use of English speeling and grammar was not as standardized during the Shakespearian time as it is now.

During the final years of his life, Shakespeare wrote romance or tragic comendies. He finished three more major plays like Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale and The Tempest. Sonnets, published in 1609 were the last of Shakespeare's work to have been printed.

The real date of their composition is ambiguous, but it was said that Shakespeare wrote them throughout his life for private readers. His Sonnets derived their source of inspiration from the Italian Sonnets popularized by Dante and Petrarch. Shakespeare died on 23th April, 1616 and two days after his demise, he was buried in the chanel of the Holy Trinity Church.

   
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