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Summary : William Shakespeare
The entire world knows William Shakespeare as one of the greatest poets and dramatists. He was born in a small English town, Stratford upon Avon, and grew up in a large family of eight brothers and four sisters, but many of them died very young. His father, John Shakespeare, made and sold gloves. William went to school in Stratford. He married very young, when he was about 19, and soon went to London, where he became attached to a company of players. He was an actor, and produced his own plays which were staged at the Globe Theatre. His plays were good and the people liked them. Now Shakespeare could help his family in Stratford. He wrote thirty-seven plays and some books of poems. At the end of his life he came back to Stratford and died there.
Shakespeare is the greatest playwright in the history of English and world literature. His prodigious vitality remains unimpaired for centuries. The poet wrote of the eternal things in life: love, death and high human aspirations. He reflected the spirit of the Renaissance, the epoch of great discoveries and darings, with all its contradictions and tragedies. Shakespeare taught to understand the essence of human relations, passions and conflicts, and presented them with great dramatic vigour. He gave lively representations of his contemporaries and historical types.
Shakespeare wrote 37 plays altogether. His creative work can be divided into four periods.
The first period (1590 -- 1593) may be named his period of apprenticeship. It includes histories and comedies: "King Henry VI", "King Richard III", "The Comedy of Errors", "The Taming of the Shrew", and "Titus Andronicus".
In the second period (1594 -- 1600), apart from comedies and histories: "A Midsummer Night's Dream", '"Much Ado About Nothing", "As You Like It", "Twelfth Night; or What You Will", etc.; "King Richard II", "King Henry IV", etc.,-- Shakespeare wrote his first notable tragedies, "Romeo and Juliet" and "Julius Caesar". These periods of the playwright's creative activities are remarkable mostly for optimism, sunny, sparkling joyousness, and faith in the Renaissance. Still, the historical plays first put forth the problems later to be developed in his great tragedies.
The third period (1601 -- 1608) includes tragedies which appear in succession: "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark", "Othello, The Moor of Venice","King Lear", and "Macbeth". Light-hearted, buoyant joyousness that brightens up his comedies gives way to dark and gloomy colours. Shakespeare emphasizes dramatic circumstances in human life.
The fourth period (1609 -- 1612) contains "Cymbeline", "The Winter's Tale", "The Tempest", and "King Henry VIII". It suggests philosophic meditation on the eternal verities of human life.
Shakespeare is also known as the author of two poems and 154 sonnets.
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