Shakespeare's Life and Times

Shakespeare's Life and Times

Shakespeares Life and Times Born 1564 in Stratford-uponAvon Shakespeares School He wrote 37 Plays

10 tragediesincluding Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, and Othello 13 comediesincluding Midsummer Nights Dream, Twelfth Night, The Merchant of Venice 10 historiesincluding Henry V, Richard II, Henry VIII 4 romancesWinters Tale, The Tempest,

Cymbeline, Pericles He wrote a group of 154 sonnets As well as several narrative poems:

The Rape of Lucrece1594 Venus and Adonis1593 The Phoenix and the Turtle A Lovers Complaint

Married Anne Hathaway in 1582 Their marriage was hurried and a bit irregularAnne may have been pregnant. (Their daughter, Susanna, was born only 6 months after the wedding.) They also had twins, Hamlet and Judith, in 1585.

Lost years? Between 1585 and 1592, we know little of Shakespeares life. In 1592, he surfaces in London as an actor and playwright. He is 28 years old.

Early Work as a Poet Shakespeare probably began his work as a poet, not as a dramatist, writing some sonnets and the two earlier narrative poems in the late 1580s and early 90s. Probably began as a go-fer in the theatre, perhaps polishing others scripts or

collaborating with more experienced playwrights. Between 1592 and 1594, the theatres in London were closed because of an outbreak of the plague.

When they reopened, we find Shakespeare a member of the Lord Chamberlains Men, but we do not know how he got there. Queen Elizabeth I Early Start vs. Late Start?

Conventional dating of Shakespeares plays has him beginning his composition in the early 1590s. More recent scholarship has questioned this dating, suggesting that at least some of his plays may have been written (possibly in collaboration) in the late 1580s.

For example, There are several plays produced in the 1580s by the Queens Men that bear striking similarities to later plays by Shakespeare: The Troublesome Raigne of King John

King Lier The Famous Victories of Henry V Each of these plays has a Shakespearean counterpart: King John King Lear

Henry V Shakespeare may possibly have had a hand in the earlier Queens Mens plays, and later revised or simply stole the plots and reworked them as his own works. Important to rememberthere is no

copyright law in the 16th Century!! The Body of Shakespeares Works He began writing his comedies and history plays (1593-1599) He tragedies come from the period after 1599:

Julius Caesar 1599 Hamlet 1600 Othello 1604 King Lear 1605 Macbeth 1606 Antony and Cleopatra 1606

Coriolanus 1608 Shakespeares Company Shakespeare wrote his plays for a specific company of actorsthe Lord Chamberlains Men He had specific actors in mind as he wrote

his parts: Richard Burbage was the most famous tragic actor of his timeHamlet was written for him. Will Kemp was the greatest comic actor Bottom was written for him Shakespeare was also an actor. Tradition

holds that he performed the Ghost in Hamlet and the French King in Henry V By the mid 1590s, Shakespeares plays begin to appear in print in unauthorized bad quartos. This is probably testimony to his

contemporary popularity.

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