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William Shakespeare

We are ready to begin our study of William Shakespeare and his times. Part of understanding Shakespeare is appreciating his unusal theater, the Globe. You will investigate this theater, as well as its recent reconstruction.

Biography: William Shakespeare
 
1564-1616)

"If this were played on a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction" (Twelfth Night)

We know relatively little of the life of Britain's greatest playwright. Although renowned during his own lifetime for his genius, he was still of comparatively low birth, and therefore not written about by the scribes who recorded the lives of Shakespeare's higher-born peers such as Donne and Marvell. Shakespeare's birthday is traditionally thought to be April 23rd, 1564. Parish records from the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford Upon Avon show that he was baptized there on April 26th. His father was a civil servant, well respected in the town of Stratford, who married above his station, a woman by the name of Mary Arden. Stratford was a well-run town, and Shakespeare attended a good school whose fees were paid by the progressive local borough. Shakespeare did not attend university. Instead, in 1582, he married Anne Hathaway. The next year, they had their first daughter, Susanna, and then two years later, two twins, Judith and Hamnet, Shakespeare's only son.

Shakespeare began to write, and the next we know of him is when his plays began to be performed upon the London stage. He was a member of the Lord Chamberlain's Men (an acting company which was renamed 'The King's Men' on the accession to the throne of James I). Shakespeare's son, Hamnet, died at the age of eleven and many say this is why Hamlet is so-called. It is certain that this was a time of great anguish for Shakespeare and corresponds with the omposition of some of the most somber tragedies. Shakespeare enjoyed critical and popular success throughout the latter days of his life and died on April 23rd (his birthday), 1616, a wealthy man. Exact dates for the composition and performance of many of Shakespeare's plays is unknown, and in some cases even the authorship is in question. However, the following is a list of the plays in as close to chronological order of composition as is it is possible to estimate:

The Comedy of Errors (1590), Titus Andronicus (1590), The Taming of the Shrew (1591), 2 Henry VI (1591), 3 Henry VI (1591), 1 Henry VI (1592), Richard III (1592), Love's Labour's Lost (1593), Two Gentlemen of Verona (1593), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1594), Romeo and Juliet (1595), Richard II (1595), King John (1596), The Merchant of Venice (1596), Henry IV Part 1(1597), The Merry Wives of Windsor (1597), Henry IV Part 2 (1598), As You Like It (1598), Henry V (1599), Much Ado About Nothing (1599), Julius Caesar (1599), Twelfth Night (1600), Hamlet (1601), Troilus and Cressida (1602), All's Well That Ends Well (1603), Measure For Measure (1604), Othello (1604), King Lear (1605), Macbeth (1605), Antony and Cleopatra (1606), Timon of Athens (1606), Pericles Prince of Tyre (1607), Coriolanus (1608), Cymbeline (1609), A Winter's Tale (1610), The Tempest (1611), Henry VIII (1613).

Shakespeare's plays:

All's Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra - Study Guide
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It - Study Guide
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Coriolanus - Study Guide
Coriolanus
Cymbeline
Hamlet - Study Guide
Hamlet
Henry IV Part I - Study Guide
Henry IV Part I
Henry IV Part II
Henry V - Study Guide
Henry V
Henry VIII
Henry VI Part I
Henry VI Part II
Henry VI Part III
Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar - Study Guide
King John
King Lear - Study Guide
King Lear
Love's Labours Lost
Macbeth - Study Guide
Macbeth
Measure For Measure
The Merchant of Venice - Study Guide
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night’s Dream - Study Guide
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Much Ado About Nothing - Study Guide
Much Ado About Nothing
The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice - Study Guide
Othello
Pericles Prince of Tyre - Study Guide
Pericles Prince of Tyre
Richard II
Richard III
Romeo and Juliet - Study Guide
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest - Study Guide
The Tempest
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter's Tale
The Winter's Tale - Study Guide

Links
Shakespeare Illustrated For paintings relating to Shakespeare plays, there is the wonderful "Shakespeare Illustrated" site. It is a great help if you wish to put together worksheets or OHTs for instance
History of Globe Theatre For the history of the Globe Theatre, the following site is relatively comprehensive and interesting
Shakespeare Online For the sources of Shakespeare's plays (e.g. Holinshed, Spenser), this site is easy to use and well-written
Shakespeare Theme The "Shakespeare Theme" page has some good material and links
Shakespearean Authorship A fascinating but more complex page about the different agruments concerning Shakespearean authorship... did he write them or didn't he?
Uvic.ca Site with usful and diverse resources on William Shakespeare
Pictures There are some exciting and often quite disturbing photos of Shakespeare perfomances
Shakespeare in Love For film adaptations of Shakespeare
Parallel Park Photos and Reviews of various versions of Othello, Lear, the Tempest, etc.
Libinfo A list of available Shakespearean adaptations of film and television
Guide to Shakespeare For information about Shakespeare and his period, there is a helpful site which contains a "Life and Times" section (incl. timeline), "Theatre", "Criticism" and "Renaissance" also
Elizabethan costumes Remarkably, this is a very detailed page on Elizabethan costumes which is quite enjoyalbe and enlightening - and includes instructions on making corsets etc.
Nationwide Information about Shakespeare's school life can be found here
elizreview.com Being a scholarly journal devoted to publishing new research on Shakespeare and the English renaissance
berkeley.edu Reviews and plot summaries of Shakespeare's best plays
Shakespeare Globe Information on the Globe Theatre in London. Contains details on the current season of plays and events, exhibitions, and guided tours. Includes panoramic pictures from inside the theatre
The Shakespeare Magazine An interactive journal for student, teachers, scholars and admires of this writer

María López Ponce Elementary School of Puerto Rico