Essay: Biography of William Shakespeare

By | April 27, 2011

Sample Essay

Essay: Shakespeare’s theatre life began in 1592 after the 7 years lost. However, Shakespeare seems to have been known well enough to have been written about in print at the time by Robert Greene, who is reputed to be the first professional author from England. Greene later became known mostly for this critique of Shakespeare, which was more of praise than anything, referring to him as a great writer capable of paralleling other more educated ones. From 1594 onwards, Shakespeare’s plays were restricted to his playing company (to which he was a partner) Lord Chamberlain’s Men, which later became The King’s Men after the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603 and the obtainment of the royal charter at the hands of the new king, James I.

Shakespeare’s ventures with the Lord Chamberlain’s Men picked up pace after 1594, building theatres and investing in other already established theatres. This made him a wealthy man and in 1597, he purchased one of the biggest houses in Stratford where he moved in with his wife and children. Shakespeare continued to act in his own plays in the meanwhile and starred in plays like Every Man in His Humor in 1598 and Sejanus, His Fall (1603). He is reputed to have acted in several others of his own plays such as As You Like It, Henry V and Hamlet.

The articulate writer would frequent between his home in Stratford and his work in London. In 1599, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men constructed the Globe Theatre in Southwark, to where he moved in the same year. His work mainly concentrated on historical plays and comedies in the earlier part of the 1590s and later moved on to romance and tragedies. His first recorded works include Richard III and Henry VI (written in three parts). These and others of his earlier history plays are seen to be inspired from his scornful view of corrupt governments and weak rulers. As the years progressed, Shakespeare moved on to have a developed a flare for romantic comedies, delivering by the mid 1590s some of his most acclaimed romantic works such as a Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Merchant of Venice, and As You Like It. These plays contain both comic and romantic elements that Shakespeare masterfully switches between creating somewhat difficult roles for the performers in the process. There would be instances of poetry and prose riddled into his writings which in all would create new kinds of dramas such as that seen in Julius Ceasar and the famous romantic tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, which carried a tale of two adolescent lovers who are separated and then met with tragic deaths. In early 1600s, Shakespeare moved on to a system of plays defined by critics as problem plays. These included Troilus and Cressida, Measure for Measure, and All’s Well That Ends Well. They were referred to as problem plays because all of them carried ambiguous tones, sometimes dark and psychological where as in others they were straightforwardly comical, especially when they ended on a happy note, as with Measure for Measure and All’s Well That Ends Well. Troilus on the other hand did not seem to have an ending as neither did it end on a happy not or with a tragic death, confusing both the audience and the critics alike.

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