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November 25, 2009

William Shakespeare Quick Facts


William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Elizabethan playwright, poet, and actor [Author Detail]
  • Born: April 23, 1564
  • Died: April 23, 1616
  • Birthplace: Stratford-upon-Avon, England
  • Wrote 38 plays
  • Wrote 154 Sonnets
  • Writing Style: Blank Verse composed in Iambic Pentameter
  • Influence on Others: Influenced romantic writers like Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Coleridge
  • His performance company was called The Lord Chamberlain's Men
  • His plays were performed at The Globe Theatre
  • Allegation: Rumoured to be homosexual
  • Known for:
  1. Producing perhaps the most varied and powerful body of work any author has ever written
  2. Exploring elemental themes of power, justice, love, and death in his tragedies, comedies, histories, romances, and sonnets
  3. Creating realistic stage characters whose appeal comes in their truly human motives, actions, and flaws
  4. Achieving widespread and lasting recognition for his work, which continues to be taught and performed worldwide



Plays By Shakespeare

Comedies
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • All's Well That Ends Well
  • As You Like It
  • Cymbeline
  • Love's Labour's Lost
  • Measure for Measure
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Pericles, Prince of Tyre
  • The Comedy of Errors
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor
  • The Taming of the Shrew
  • The Tempest
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • The Two Noble Kinsmen
  • The Winter's Tale
  • Twelfth Night, or What You Will
Histories
  • Henry IV, Part 1
  • Henry IV, Part 2
  • Henry V
  • Henry VI, Part 1
  • Henry VI, Part 2
  • Henry VI, Part 3
  • Henry VIII
  • King John
  • Richard II
  • Richard III
Tragedies
  • Antony and Cleopatra
  • Coriolanus
  • Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
  • Julius Caesar
  • King Lear
  • Macbeth
  • Othello, The Moor of Venice
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Timon of Athens
  • Titus Andronicus
  • Troilus and Cressida

Quote:

"To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?—To die,—to sleep,—
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to,—’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die,—to sleep;—
To sleep: perchance to dream:—ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despis’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would these fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,—
The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns,—puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action."
" Hamlet" (1601)

Did You Know?

  • Shakespeare is believed to have  invented many modern English words and phrases that are taken for granted.
  • Shakespeare had no involvement in the publication of  any of his plays. Only 16 plays were published before his demise. Almost all the plays of Shakespeare were printed posthumously by his fellow actors.
  • At the age of 18 Shakespeare espoused 26-year-old Anne Hathaway. They had a daughter, Susanna, and twins, Hamnet and Judith.
  • In the mid-19th century, some scholars believed that Shakespeare's plays were actually written by Sir Francis Bacon or a or a group of playwrights using  Shakespeare's name.

References

Long, William J. English Literature: Its History and its Significance for the Life of the English
Speaking World. Delhi:AITBS, 2002

Watt, Homer A. and William W. Watt. A Handbook of English Literature. New York: Barnes &
Noble, 1946

"William Shakespeare Quick Facts". Microsoft Encarta. DVD-ROM. Redmond: Microsoft, 2005.
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