Video appunto: Vita ed opere letterarie di William Shakespeare
Shakespeare was born on April 23rd 1564 in the English town of Stratford-upon-Avon in a house in Henley Street. His father John was a glove maker, his mother Mary Arden, instead, came from a family that owned land near the town. In 1568 John Shakespeare became the major of Stratford. William had three younger brothers and two younger sisters so he was the eldest; his family probably was middle class. Although little is known about his childhood, historians believe that William attended the local grammar school, the “King’s New School”, where he studied the literature of ancient Rome and Latin. Was well known that this school provided an excellent education to its students. At the age of 18, in 1582, William married Anne Hathaway, who was 26 years old. They had three children: their daughter Susanna, who was born in 1583, and the twins Hamnet and Judith, who were born in 1585. Unfortunately their son Hamnet died when he was 11 years old. William and Anne called their children like their neighbours as a sign of friendship. What William did between 1582 and 1592 is unknown. Perhaps he was a schoolteacher or he travelled with an acting group, however he became well off and, by 1592, he was working as a writer and actor in London. From 1592 to 1594 the black plague devastated the capital city of England so, to prevent the spread of this disease, officials closed many public places. Also the theatres were closed and it was no longer possible to represent plays, so Shakespeare spent this years by writing sonnets and narrative poems, which tell a story. When London’s theatres reopened in 1594, William had joined a well-known acting group: Lord Chamberlain’s Company, which had the best actor, Richard Burbage, the best writer, William Shakespeare quite, and the best theatre, in fact it plays could be performed in the Globe. They often presented plays for royalty like Queen Elizabeth I and King James I. At the time women weren’t allowed to act on stage, so men played also the roles of female characters; Shakespeare acted in these plays, too. From 1598 he became interested in the financial aspect of the theatre and he earned much money. Shakespeare retired from the theatre in about 1610 and he returned to his hometown. He died on April 23rd 1616, on his 52th birthday. William Shakespeare’s buried in Holy Trinity Church with the rest of his family, in Stratford-upon-Avon. A writer from Shakespeare’s time, Ben Jonson, said that William “was not of an age, but for all time” and it’s clear that Jonson was right, in fact Shakespeare’s plays are still enjoyed by audience all over the world.
Shakespeare is often praised as the world’s greatest playwright, he wrote plays in England in the late 16th and the early 17th centuries. Shakespeare’s plays are renowned for their action, the believable characters, the thrilling language, the humour and the romance. His lasting popularity can be seen in the many present productions of his plays on the stage and the screen. He also invented about 2000 words which became part of the English language. Shakespeare wrote 37 plays between 1589 and 1612: they were generally tragedies, comedies and history plays. Tragedies are plays that describe the downfall of the main character like “Hamlet” (which describes the revenge of Hamlet for the murder of his father and ends with the chief character’s death), “King Lear” (which tell the adventures of the England’s king at the Romans’ age), “Macbeth” (the story of a murderess and three witches), “Othello”(an Islamic general) and “Romeo and Juliet” (his most famous drama, it describes the impossible love between Romeo and Juliet, which leads them to death.). Among Shakespeare’s comedies, which are humorous plays that end happily, are “As You Like It”(a pastoral comedy), “The Taming of the Shrew” (the story of a Venetian family), “The Tempest” (which describes the adventures of Alonso, Napoli’s king and others Spanish princes) and “A Midnight Summer Dream” (which tell the story set in Athens, where the main characters, after many strange adventures, believe it was all only a dream). Shakespeare’s history plays are dramas about the lives of some of England’s powerful kings, including “Henry IV” and “Richard II”. From 1592 and 1594, when the theatres were closed because of the black plague, he devoted himself to the sonnets, which are short poems of 14 lines (Elizabethan sonnet). The Elizabethan sonnet is made up of 3 quatrains and a final couplet, the Petrarch's sonnet, instead, is made up of 2 quatrains and two triplets.