Video appunto: Shakespeare's playsShakespeare was a playwright, a poet, an actor and a shareholder in his theatre company. He wrote several plays various in topic and kind:
1590-1596: Historical dramas, based on actual and real facts such as the War of Roses. They gave a portrait of English State as a whole, not focusing only on kings or queen. It was in this period that the idea of England as a nation was born. These plays are divided in 2 tetralogies (groups of four plays) with titles like Richard III or Henry V.
1593-1600:10 comedies on stage (farce and romance), which all follow some conventions: disguise, frustrated love, mistaken identity, marital and romantic misunderstandings. They usually end in multiple marriages and the playwright worries a lot about women’s journey from the virginity to the marriage. A famous example is The Merchant of Venice.
1595-1605: Great tragedies, written in a historical moment of transition between the medieval and the modern world. He took inspiration from Seneca’s works and they are mainly about human life, the nature of political power and the problems of the powerful in a changing world such as Hamlet or Macbeth.
1590-1609: Collection of 154 sonnets, published in 1609, divided in 2 sections. The first 126 sonnets are addressed to a ‘fair youth’ (probably the Earl of Southampton) encouraged by the poet to marry and preserve his virtues and beauty trough his children. The others, expect the last 2, are addressed to a ‘dark lady’ or ‘black woman’, who is physically unattractive, but irresistibly desirable.
He coined new words and phrases that we still today use. He constantly confounds the audience, asking to laugh in a painful scene or philosophical questions in a comic one.
The verse is used by aristocratic characters in serious or dramatic scenes, while the blank verse by lower-class characters in informal conversations or comic scenes. A character may suddenly switch from everyday prose to solemn verse. There are also in his play a profound irony and several figures of speech like metaphors, similes, personifications, antithesis, repetition and hyperbole.