“To be or not to be” is one of William Shakespeare’s most famous quotes. This well known quote is from his famous play titled, Hamlet. Shakespeare is one of the most easily identified poets of all time because of his unique writing style. Shakespeare’s writing style was different because he used a writing style called Iambic pentameter which uses groups of syllables in each line that all go together to form a pattern or rhythm. Shakespeare invented almost 1,700 common English words and phrases that we use today.
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William Shakespeare was born on April 26, 1564 in the Shakespeare family home on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, England. John and Mary Shakespeare were William Shakespeare’s mother and father. He was the third child of eight children, but the first two were daughters that died before he could remember. John Shakespeare sold farm products and wool for a living. Both Mary and John Shakespeare had a high position in the community and each had roles in their community. As a child, William Shakespeare was sent to the highest level of elementary education at a school which was called Petty School. These schools were not like today’s schools. Instead, they were usually held in someone’s house and were taught by a very well educated mother. The children were also taught good behavior and a Christian way of life which were important parts of children’s education. Shakespeare then went to grammar school, where he had to attend school from 6 in the morning to 5 at night. In grammar school he was taught by a private usher who was kind of like a private teacher. The grammar school used the horn-book and the alphabet as a tool and for the basis of Elizabethan education. Shakespeare’s life was pretty strict he had to be polite and do a lot of chores around the house. Shakespeare’s school consisted of five full days and one half day each week. He spent between 40 and 44 weeks of the year at school. That means he spent about 2,000 hours in school each year, which is double the amount of time we spend in school.
Shakespeare started writing poems when he was in school. He did not intend for his poems to be published or even read. However, his poems were published and have become some of the most famous poems in the English language. In his day, there was not much to do for entertainment other than books to read, and he didn’t care for puppet shows. Shakespeare moved to London where he hoped to become an actor. He then started writing plays. Most people probably think that William Shakespeare wrote his own plays, but he did have help from others. One man that helped him write plays was born to a well-to-do family but as a young man he needed employment to support himself. He did not do so well at first; however he soon created a partnership with Francis Beaumont and soon writing plays became his whole career.
Beaumont and Fletcher created a new form of drama called tragicomedy, which he described as not being a tragedy play. He described it as being a play that brought the characters so close to death that it could not be a comedy, but a mixture of both. John Fletcher was Shakespeare’s heir and his assistant Thomas Middleton. Middleton was born to a wealthy bricklayer and was educated at Oxford. In his early years he started to write poetry. He wrote a reproduction of Shakespeare called The Ghost of Lucrece. Middleton’s most successful plays were The Revenger’s Tragedy, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside, and A Game at Chess. As a young man Middleton spent a lot of his time working for the king’s men as William Shakespeare’s assistant. Shakespeare got some music and ideas from Middleton’s writings.
William Shakespeare published his first poem, “Venus and Adonis,” in 1593. In 1594 he began to write his sonnets which were poems that had fourteen lines and had a pattern or rhythm. Shakespeare wrote approximately 154 sonnets in his life time. Between those two years he wrote The Rape of Lucrece, Titus Andronicus and The Taming of the Shrew. 1595 was a big year for Shakespeare; he composed Richard 2 and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. However the most memorable moment for Shakespeare that year was Romeo and Juliet, which was thought to have been composed for a wedding. Romeo and Juliet is the greatest love story of all time.
Shakespeare worked for the London Theater for 15 to 20 years. He wrote 37 plays in his career, and all of his works are the most recognized in literature. Shakespeare wrote all kinds of plays including comedies, histories, tragedies, and poetry. Shakespeare performed all his plays for the king and queen then was usually performed by the king’s men. Shakespeare took his works and performed them all over the world, for example Hamlet and Richard III were performed aboard the British ship Dragon off the west coast of Africa at Sierra Leone. Some of Shakespeare’s comedies are A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Winter’s Tale. His histories and tragedies included; Richard III, Hamlet, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet.
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All of works that Shakespeare produced have affected the literary world so much that without him we would not have the English language we know today. He has given every student at some point advice on writing and he is a great influence on American literature. A lot of his popular sayings like “to be or not to be” are important because people know who Shakespeare was just from that one phrase. I like reading Shakespeare because I like saying his phrases and using them when I use the English to write and speak with. Shakespeare is different from other writers because he has special qualities that no other writer has. For example he has written plays for different perspectives that no one has ever looked at it before. The classic sonnet consists of two short sections of eight and six lines. The Shakespearean or English sonnets also has 14 lines in total, but is divided into three parts. The effect of his writing style was to create a different mood from that of a Petrarchan sonnet. He has affected more people than any other writer in history. Shakespeare took play writing very seriously, he took his writings to the stage and acted them out himself.
William Shakespeare is a fantastic poem and play writer. His plays have stood the test of time. I think Shakespeare had a rough life but he pulled through it and did something he loved to. I admire his ambitions and want to be like him. I don’t want to be a writer however I would like to follow his way because he followed his dreams. Shakespeare’s novels are inspiring to others however they don’t strike me that much except for the way they were written. He writes in a way that you can think deep and reflect on how the words connect to you. I think Shakespeare should have written more plays because they are the most popular of anything he did which is my opinion of course. Shakespeare should have announced his writings when he was young. This is my view of Shakespeare.
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