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William Shakespeare - The Greatest English Poet and Dramatist

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William Shakespeare - The Greatest English Poet and Dramatist by Cristina Nuta -

'What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving, how express and admirable in action… the beauty of the world' (Hamlet, II, 2).

The second half of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th are sometimes called in England 'The Age of Shakespeare'. William Shakespeare is the greatest English poet and dramatist and an undisputed world figure in literature. Although his works (37 plays, 154 sonnets and two long poems) are well-known all over the world, we know little about his life.

Shakespeare was born on the 23rd of April 1564, at Stratford-upon-Avon, a little town in the heart of England. He was educated at the local grammar-school, but as his father's business went from bad to worse, he had to leave school and begin to earn his living. We next hear of him when he was eighteen and a married man. At the age of twenty-one, he set off to seek his fortune in the great city of London. There, he was in turn a horse-keeper, a stage-boy, a play mender and finally a playwright. Shakespeare spent the last years of his life at Stratford, where he died on the 23rd of April 1616.

Shakespeare was a great humanist. His interest in the life and the people of his time made him watch with an observant eye the scenery of his native country, men and women in all walks of life, their appearances, habits and speech. He was familiar with the traditions of English folklore and showed deep concern for his people and his country's destiny. His work may be divided into three periods.

The first period is that of poems, the sonnets, the historical plays or 'chronicles' (Richard II, Richard III, Henry IV, Julius Caesar), comedies (Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice) and a few tragedies (Romeo and Juliet). In general, Shakespeare's writings in this period are full of optimism. The second period is that of the great tragedies (Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth). The disillusionment of the humanists is felt throughout. The third period includes the 'romance' plays (The Tempest, The Winter's Tale) which are characterized by a more serene atmosphere.
Although Shakespeare's language is very difficult, almost every word combination forms a picture. To understand Shakespeare, both his language and his ideas, we have not 'to read' but 'to study' his works, as out great poet Mihai Eminescu said.
William Shakespeare - The Greatest English Poet and Dramatist written by Cristina Nuta for FamousWhy.com
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Tags: shakespeare, english, poet, dramatist, literature, stratford, england

Category: Education  - ( Education Archive)

Date Added: 10 February '09

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