William Shakespeare

1564-1616

Little is known about Shakespeare’s life. He was born in Stratford 1564 into a burgess of fluctuating fortunes. William attended a local grammar school and at the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway whom was some years his senior and already pregnant.

At some point he moved to London to begin his career. He started by writing plays his earlier plays were Richard the third and Henry the eighth.  Shakespeare’s work has made a lasting impression on later theatre and literature. In particular, he expanded the dramatic potential of characterisation, plot, language, and genre. Until Romeo and Juliet, for example, romance had not been viewed as a worthy topic for tragedy. Soliloquies had been used mainly to convey information about characters or events; but Shakespeare used them to explore characters’ minds.

His work heavily influenced later poetry. The Romantic poets attempted to revive Shakespearean verse drama, though with little success. Critic George Steiner described all English verse dramas from Coleridge to Tennyson as “feeble variations on Shakespearean themes.” Shakespeare has power in his words which influence those who witness his plays or read his books. Shakespeare’s legendary talent let him achieve this power. His work has no outcome other than entertainment to it; his work is incorruptible as art. I overall see him as a person who used his position of power for good.

– by Joel Bienefelt, 10ENG

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