William Shakespeare was born in April1564 in Stratford, England to John Shakespeare and Mary Arden. He was the third born and the only surviving child to a family with seven more siblings. The exact date of his birth is not documented but speculated to be April 23.Shakespeare married when he was eighteen to Anne Hathaway who was twenty six years of age. After his marriage and the birth of there three children little was heard about Shakespeare until 1592 when he took part in a London theater scene. Due to long period of his silence scholars have referred to this period as Shakespeare lost years. This are the years between 1585and 1592. There is no substantial evidence of what he was doing at that moment, some writers of his biography says that he had been employed as a country schoolmaster while others say that he had fled from London to escape persecution for poaching deer's(Shakespeare, 5)
Exact time when Shakespeare began writing is not known but records of his performances reveal that a number of his plays were on London's stage by year 1592 of which he was already known. The first recorded theatre Shakespeare careers is the Green's attack to justify this, biographer's think that his career must have started from around mid 1580s. The Lord Chamberlain's men were the only performers of Shakespeare's plays by then from about mid 1590's. This company was considered the best in London and as a result after the death of Queen Elizabeth it was awarded a royal patent by king James I who later changed there name to king's men.
Shakespeare became famous in the year 1598 and that is when he began to appear on title pages. At that time he had achieved victory as a play writer so he started to venture into the field of acting. Shakespeare's time of his career is divided between the two places he had lived which were London and Stratford. There's few plays written by him in the years 1606 to 1607 and completely non after 1613, and in his last plays he did collaboration with his successor John Fletcher. Shakespeare died on 23rd of April 1616.
It is thought that Shakespeare went to preschool within his locality which we can compare to a kindergarten in our modern world and studied the basics of writing and reading. On addition to that he also studied catechism. After which he was enrolled at a local grammar school named, the King's new School, where he studied classical history, ethics, public speaking, religion, logic, natural sciences, Roman poetry and drama, rhetoric and some other Latin taught subjects. Most likely he studied also the New Testament of the bible in the Greek language. Shakespeare's teachers were well trained Oxford University teachers and this formed the basis of his success in life because of the excellent education and a strong grasp for liberal arts which was even stronger than our modern high school graduates. It is thought that if it's true that he attended the Stratford school then at manhood he was well grounded in academic learning.
In his plays his knowledge of hurting is revealed as well us hawking and his strong appetite for the worms in his rural cemeteries. On addition to this Shakespeare had knowledge of people and of the life around him possibly, he learnt that by observing the daily happenings within his vicinity and the busy market around him where he could come across farmers, fruit and vegetable dealers, shoe markers, actors just to name a few in passing.
It's very possible that his enthusiasm in acting and stage performance was stirred up by the roving actors who performed yearly at a Stratford guild hall. It is speculated Shakespeare might have spent some of his lost years travelling either to foreign or distant countries since more than a dozen of his plays suggests his visits to Italy for instance the play “the merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About nothing, Romeo and Juliet etc. And his other plays which are not set in Italy the characters used have Italian names for example in his play The Comedy of Errors staged in Ephesus, turkeys its leading characters names end with the Italian o or a e.g. Dromio and Luciana. Most characters in Timon of Athens have the names of the ancient Romans with -us ending for example Lucullus. It is also clearly that in his boundless imaginations Shakespeare visited Italy.
In Shakespeare's life there were important people who influenced him and also helped him to gain entry to literary and social London for instance Henry Wriothesley. Shakespeare dedicates his poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece to him. In his plays Shakespeare patterns his female characters on the strong women of his days. In his plays all characters were played by men even characters like Juliet, Cleopatra and Ophelia. He had actors playing ghosts, demons, gods and other many supernatural actors that would pop to the stage from the underworld and also descend to the earth through heaven. To do this and perfectly it takes a wild indefinite imagination which has got no ends.
His fortune is attributed to his writing and wise investments, he was a man who closely guarded his purse. In spite of his rising fortunes he valued his good standing in the community and after the death of Queen Elizabeth he participated in the coronation of the new king who made him an officer of the royal house hold. In London Shakespeare lived for some time with Huguenots French family which ware situated in Cripplegate section of the city and its thought that this experience in the city helped him to be knowledgeable about the European continent, its culture, religion as well as its social aspects.
Shakespeare's plays suggest his belief in a supreme being that is greater than him. This is clearly seen in his play Prince of Denmark where hamlet tells Horatio that “There's a divinity that shapes our ends” his characters also discuss the issue of life after death this shows that he believed in the existence of a true living God with other great men of his time, for example Erasmus and sir Thomas just but to mention a few of the men of his time who had the same belief as his. This is also clearly seen in the opening remarks of his last will and testament which he wrote in his 51st year three months to his death. In his will he acknowledges God first and praises him and finally he commends his soul into his hands as his creator with his hope and belief in Jesus Christ in order for him to be a partaker of the everlasting life.
Shakespeare writing tool was a quill dipped in ink. This man had a wide if not enormous vocabulary that was far reaching in greatness than an average today's writer. The most amazing thing is that in his time there was no dictionary since no one had sat down and complied one. Therefore every time he came across a word he did not understand or when he needed a word for a certain context there was no where to look up to or in other words check for the propriety of that word.
Shakespeare used a conventional style of the day to write his early plays in a stylized language which does not come naturally from the needs of the drama or the characters. In his poems there is the use of elaborated metaphors and conceits in rhetorical language and his actors declaim instead of speaking. Afterward he started adapting to traditional styles for his own reasons. In Romeo and Juliet he combines the traditional style with freer style and he continues to change his metaphors and images to the needs of drama.
The standard forms of his poems were blank verse whereby his verse was unrhymed with ten syllables to a line and stressed on the second syllable. This technique is the source of the beauty, power and flexibility in his works. There is some variations in the styles applied in his poetry for instance in some of the passages that needed one to express his emotions. He uses numerous techniques to bring about the most forms of variations experienced like the run -on lines, the irregular stops and pauses. In the parts of his poems which involves romance he uses a style that sets long and short lines against each other and omits words to create spontaneity. His poems are based on theatre appearances and he also dramatized stories from various sources by reshaping them in order to bring out numerous interesting parts of the narrative which is to attract his audience attention. In his poems and plays a strong design is used which ensured his work does not loose its true meaning during the process of translation. In his characters we are able to see different distinct patterns of speech as well as unique forms of motivation.
The current theatre and literature work has borrowed a leaf from his work which will remain for a long time, for instance the potential of characterization, plot, language and genre. Also he is the one who influenced writers to start venturing in other topics like romance after seeing the play Romeo and Juliet. His work has a great impact on today's poetry and he has been an influence to later novelists like Heran Melville's. His influenced many musicians who have composed many songs basing on his plays, painters and his language have greatly helped to shape today's English.
Shakespeare's works include 36 plays printed in 1623 in the first folio and classified as comedies, tragedies and histories. About 150 years after his death doubts began to emerge about the authorship of the work attributed to him and a number of people were proposed to be the true authors of his work though only a small portion of learned people believes there are reasons to question of he is the true author and in particular the Oxfordian theory is being discussed in our century. The most obvious evidence that proofs that Shakespeare wrote the work attributed to him is that everyone at that time said he did so and he was often praised for writing as a poet and play writer. He was named as author for most of his work while he was still living. Others claim that the plays exhibit knowledge beyond his ability for instance knowledge for Italy, the classics and law yet he did not have much formal education and only thought of being a voracious reader of many subjects (Shakespeare and Morris, 2-3)
William Shakespeare is ranked as the most popular English language author; he is the greatest and one of the most admired persons. He definitely has no comparison and from the time he died there has been no one who has risen to his level, he was impeccable. He had some uncommon ability to touch the souls of men through words and his literature remains the best. His work is the most read, debated on and most written about and after his death voted the Man of the Millennium. He is acclaimed of as a man of technical skills and unparalleled creativity. Shakespeare has been described by many in beautiful words and phrases for instance Harold Bloom described him as “a system of northern lights” while Ben Jonson after Shakespeare death writes of him as, a man who was not of age, but for all time.
Shakespeare's literature work cannot be contained and this has made him to become like a spirit or in other words a spell of light which is too vast to apprehend. He remains the greatest theatre writer with an ability to create immeasurable human characters. He is said of as being a man of a pervasive love and unstoppable by all kinds of discouragements. His influence on poet, dramatist and writers will always remain, for instance his poem “the poet of nature” holds to his readers as a faithful mirror of manners and life. In his work of poetry he makes his characters to be a species not modified by traditions of particular areas a concept not found among all other writers. The characters that Shakespeare employs are the genuine progeny found commonly among humanity and supplied by the world. The passion expressed by his actors agitate human minds hence the continued motion in the worlds systems.
The infinite monkey theorem has been used by Shakespeare in his writing as seen in his extensive reasoning, infinitive imaginations and amusing personal reflections which is revealed by his characters. In his literature Shakespeare brings about the power of a literary demigod reaching through many centuries which ignites fire in other poet's souls. He is seen as a poet struggling to comprehend his boundless limitless own creative imaginations. His piece of literature is more intensive, more creative and more individualized when approached critical to its various parts. His readers find the need to want to understand his work and the characters used which they only can achieve by employing there personal views and by critically analyzing it (Bergeron, 242-245).
William Shakespeare. A Midsummer Night's Dream. Irvine, CA: Saddleback educational Publishers, 2005.
William Shakespeare, Brian Morris. The Taming of The Shrew. Cengage Leaning EMEA, 2002.
David Moore Bergeron, Reading and Writing in Shakespeare, Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Press, 1996.(Bergeron, 242-245)