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William Shakespeare – The Bard Of Avon
William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor.
I am a weakish speller
Hear me as I will speak
I was born to John and Mary in Warwickshire
And here you shall find me buried.
I wanted to be an actor and an actor I became
But I am known more as a playwright and that I shall remain
I wrote comedies and histories for the starters
Tragedies and sonnets for the main course and after
But it was romances which made to the dessert
Along with some collaborations with people who never saw a turret.
I was witty and I was clever
And I was a favourite of King James I forever.
I was not of an age, but for all time
Was what Ben Johnson wrote about me in his lines.
My name has been mentioned twice in the poem with some talent
To decode, or not to decode, that is the challenge.
About William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare also know as “The Bard Of Avon” doubtlessly saw himself as merely another professional man of the theatre, who moved almost casually from play acting to play writing. And indeed he was very much a man of his time. He was a man of the Elizabethan theatre , who learned to exploit brilliantly the stagecraft, the acting, and the public taste of his day. Shakespeare has been praised for his “knowledge of the human heart”, for his superb poetry and for his esthetic cunning in his disposition of the action. He has also been praised for his theatrical skill, and for his ability to create living worlds of people. Unquestionably the greatest poetic dramatist of Europe, he was also Marlowe’s successor, the heir to a tradition of playwriting.
William Shakespeare’s Works
William Shakespeare’s earliest identifiable plays, his prentice work, show him interested in a variety of Elizabethan dramatic traditions. The three Henry VI plays show him developing the chronicle play on English history which was already a popular variety of drama by the time he came on the scene.
The Comedy of Errors takes its plot from the Menaechmi of Plautus and exploits the comic possibilities of two pairs of indistinguishable twins. It complicates the intrigue by some of the devices standard in Roman comedy and untying the various knots with reasonable skill at the conclusion.
Richard III shows Shakespeare following Marlowe’s footsteps and building a tragedy around a central villain. The Taming of the Shrew shows him combining a certain amount of knock-about humor with a romantic love element. He combines it to distinguish “low romantic comedy” from the “high romantic comedy” of such plays as Twelfth Night.
Plays by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare at no period in his career wrote only one variety of play, so that any attempt to discuss his works chronologically cannot treat the plays in kindred groups, nor, conversely, can a discussion of the plays by types keep to a chronological line.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona is the first of a series of romantic comedies which includes Love’s Labour’s Lost, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado about Nothing, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night.
Parallel with his development of romantic comedy, Shakespeare was maturing his handling of the historical plays like Richard II, King John, Henry V, Henry IV Part I and Part II , etc.
He was also thinking about tragedies like Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, etc. Shakespeare keeps on jumping from one genre to another and produced masterpieces in all genre.
Elements In William Shakespeare’s Plays
The elements which Shakespeare uses effectively in later plays are :
- heroine disguised as a boy,
- a story of love and intrigue with a low subplot.
- talkative clowns,
- neat pairing of characters,
- intermittent verbal fireworks, and
- male friendship versus heterosexual love, are the elements.
William Shakespeare’s Last Years
William Shakespeare spent the last seven years or so of his life at Stratford, in New Place, the large House he had bought there in 1597. After an active life as a man of the theatre, playwright, and man of property, he seems to have retired in some degree from the London theatrical world. His company, the King’s men, had now both the Globe as a “public” theatre and the “private” theatre of Blackfriars, in both of which Shakespeare’s last plays were acted.
In the last few years of his life Shakespeare appears to have written nothing at all. The reasons can only be conjectured. It may be that his imagination had transcended the limits of dramatic expression and he now felt that language was too weak an instrument.
In his later plays he used language with a poetic force and subtlety. Shakespeare’s poetic usage covers an enormous range. The later poetry, with its flexible rhythms, startling vocabulary, and syntactical audacity achieves a quality and depth of expression that seem to exhaust the utmost possibilities of language.
William Shakespeare began his literary career as a poet. The poetic possibilities of image, conceit, metaphor and symbol never ceased to fascinate him. As for all truly great poets, language was for him not only expressive but cognitive and exploratory. For him, the nature of reality could be probed by the very fact of rendering it in poetic speech. He had the true objectivity of the artist and the supreme craftsmanship of the man of the theatre. Shakespeare had a humane curiosity about man and his nature and an extraordinary ability to conceive and create character. William Shakespeare also had an unrivaled mastery of the English language.
– Prachi Agrawal