William Shakespeare (1564-1616) – the famous English poet and playwright. He is considered the greatest English-speaking writer, national treasure. The creative heritage of Shakespeare is 38 plays, 154 sonnets, 4 poems and 3 more epitaphs. Works of the playwright are translated into all major languages of the world, they are most often staged in the theater.
The most interesting thing about Shakespeare’s life is not so much known. Colorful stories about it historians often consider fiction. Once in London, William at first watched the horses at the theater, then became an assistant there, replacing the prompter and rewriting roles. Over time, Shakespeare began to trust to perform on stage. I must say that the famous actor William did not, but he began to write plays. In 1595, Shakespeare became a co-owner of Lord Chamberlain’s Troupe, and four years later became co-owner of the Globus Theater.
But the official biography of the playwright is completely inconsistent with his work. Shakespeare had a rich vocabulary, which was twice the level of the philosopher Francis Bacon. The playwright knew several languages, the history of the ancient world, quoted ancient authors. He knew about music, medicine, military science, and jurisprudence. Today we are still in captivity of numerous myths about this amazing person, wondering what he really was.
Shakespeare was an educated man.
Given the dramatic heritage of the playwright, it is logical to assume that he was a well-educated person. In those days, universities were accessible only to the most select ones, Shakespeare was not included in their number. There are opinions that the playwright studied at the Stratford grammar school, where he studied Latin, that he went to the school of King Edward VI, studying there the work of ancient poets. But Shakespeare did not retain any documents about the stay in these establishments. There were no memories of those who studied with him.
Shakespeare would be uneducated.
In 1920, John Looney published an article in which he attributed the authorship of Shakespeare’s works to Count Oxford. This educated aristocrat had more chances to create plays than the son of an artisan. In fact, in those days, public education, although not encompassing science, was of high standard. The peculiarity of the society was the opportunities of the middle class, which could even engage in international trade. Stratford was not London, but Shakespeare’s father was one of the most respected people in his city. His family had enough opportunity to give William an education. In those days, the middle class and the nobility received a basic education, which implied the study of Latin and the Greek language. Scientists have found in the works of Shakespeare references to more than one hundred books, which speaks of the powerful inquisitive mind of the playwright. He actively studied throughout his life.
Shakespeare was a writer.
Shakespeare appears in the form of a writer who works hard on his works. But this was not his only profession. In fact, he was an actor. Shakespeare performed in theatrical companies, such as the male theater of Lord Chamberlain. It is believed that it was William who played the ghost in Hamlet, as well as King Duncan in Macbeth. At the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, Shakespeare began to make a name for himself in London at the expense of his works, but in Stratford he was known as a successful businessman. He made a fortune by buying and selling grain, giving out loans. Shakespeare even started a case of non-payment of taxes, and in 1598 they also fined for speculation with grain during the famine.
Shakespeare died the same day that he was born.
It is commonly believed that the playwright was born on April 23, 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, and died April 23, 1616. But the exact date of birth is still unknown. Historians only know that Shakespeare was baptized on April 26. In England, April 23 is considered the day of St. George, the patron saint of England. Perhaps the biographers could later time the birth of William to this important holiday.In 1582, the Julian calendar was replaced by the Gregorian calendar, the date shifted. So it can reasonably be assumed that Shakespeare actually appeared on May 1.
All Shakespeare’s plays are released.
The playwright’s work is considered well studied, all his works are published. But there is at least one play, unknown to the general public. “The history of Cardenio” for a long time was considered lost, but in 2010 its surviving copy was found.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theater has survived to this day.
The first theater created by the actors for the actors was the “Globe” in Southwark. It is believed that the building was preserved in its original form. However, the original structure burned down in 1613 during the speech of King Henry VIII. Because of the spark, the thatched roof ignited. And although the building of the theater was rebuilt in the following year, in 1640 it was again demolished under pressure from the Puritans. Only in 1997, the “Globe” was reconstructed, taking tourists today. The new building complies with all safety rules, it can accept up to 1500 spectators. But there is a modern “Globe” in 200 meters from the original place.
Shakespeare is a playwright of the Elizabethan era.
It is with the name of Queen Elizabeth that the work of Shakespeare is connected. But the heyday of his work fell on the reign of King James I. In those years the playwright gradually began to move away from romantic comedies towards dramatic satire. Under Yakov, 14 important works of Shakespeare saw light: Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Winter Fairy Tale, Storm and others.
Shakespeare created alone.
The names of co-authors are not accepted next to Shakespeare’s name. Meanwhile, he collaborated with many other playwrights, this was the norm for that time. George Wilkins, for example, is credited with the first half of the Pericles play. “Two noble kin” from the First Folio is also considered a joint work. In the 1634 edition of the title page, the names of Shakespeare and John Fletcher are printed. Literary scholars find in Shakespeare’s works many traces of other authors of the same period. This refers to “Macbeth”, “All is well that ends well”, “Titus Andronicus” and others.
Shakespeare was an exemplary family man.
One of the few things that we know about Shakespeare is his family. He had Anne’s wife, three children. After the death of his son Hemnet at the age of 11, the playwright moved away from his family. He moved to London and did not have any of his letters to his wife. In his will, Shakespeare briefly mentions his wife, although she received a third of the will. Most of the property went to her eldest daughter Susan. A testament to his wife, “second-quality bed,” still causes different interpretations.
Shakespeare’s descendants have survived.
Heir William, son of Hemnet, died as a child. The legacy of Shakespeare was to be obtained by the children of Susan’s eldest daughter. But her daughter, Elizabeth, the granddaughter of William, died childless in 1670. In her two marriages, the children did not appear. Another daughter of Shakespeare, Judith, married after the death of her father for the winemaker Thomas Queeney. In this marriage, three children appeared, but they died without getting married. So the hereditary line of the playwright was interrupted.
Shakespeare was a literate person.
The playwright is credited with creating more than three thousand new words of English. It is easy to take it as a genius of spelling. In fact, there are a lot of grammatical errors in his works. For example, instead of “silence” (silence) he wrote “scilens”. Even the playwright wrote his own mistakes, being “Shappere”, “Shaxberd”, “Shakspere” or “Shakespere”.
Shakespeare was heterosexual.
And although the writer had a wife and two children, it is likely that he was a homosexual. In many sonnets, love for a man is being sung, and not for a woman. In one of his works the author lovingly calls the hero “a fine youth”. Many researchers believe that under this image was hidden Earl of Southampton.Shakespeare worked with him a lot, although he was famous for his sexual relations with men. His playwright consecrated a certain W.H. Under this pseudonym, such handsome men as Henry Reesley, Earl of Southampton, or William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke could hide. In sonnet 20 Shakespeare openly calls the object of his passion, the man, “the king and queen of my heart.” The author calls on a man to keep his emotional feelings to himself. Surprising and the fact that in the canonical works of Shakespeare, there are many scenes of dressing people in clothes of the opposite sex.
Shakespeare’s works were published during his lifetime.
In Shakespeare’s time, playwrights sold their works to acting troupes. Acquiring the play, the actors did not make any copies of it. Otherwise, competitors could make the same statement. Making copies was considered insanity. The complete works of Shakespeare could not have survived to this day, had it not been for actors John Heminges and Henry Condell. They already after the death of the playwright collected a collection of his 36 plays “Mr. Shakespeare’s comedy, chronicles and tragedy.” Only 40 copies of the first edition of 1623 have reached us, there is such a book of 8 million dollars. The first edition was later supplemented with only two new plays.
Shakespeare’s personality is well known.
Shakespeare is written by numerous art historians, his life and work have been studied along and across. About him they know more than about contemporary writers. In fact, Shakespeare’s personality is extremely mysterious. There are no personal diaries, notes, memories of his friends. Scientists in the surviving documents found many references to Shakespeare. Mostly these are legal documents. The writer led legal disputes, signed lease agreements, bought real estate, left a will. But this does not say anything about the personality of Shakespeare himself. This side of his life remains mysterious.
Shakespeare was not the author of his plays.
This myth is almost the most popular about the author’s personality. Among the likely authors are usually called Francis Bacon, Earl of Oxford, Christopher Marlowe, William Stanley, Roger Menners and even Queen Elizabeth herself. But for some reason no one disputes the authorship of Chaucer and his “Canterbury Tales” or Edgar Wallace and his hundreds of thrillers. The creation of the drama in Elizabeth’s time was a real business. The author had to rewrite his work, constantly change it, adapt it, cooperate with actors, take into account competing analogs, try to make the product viable. As a result, the names of the authors of works of that era are almost not preserved, with the exception of Shakespeare and Johnson. Their work came out in a separate collection, which was unusual for that time. In the times of Shakespeare, Bacon and Oxford created. But their plays were different. Shakespeare took history in one source, added material from another, took into account the possibilities of his actors. The material was sharpened during rehearsals and performances. The plays were censored by the government, which often required the removal of controversial material. Published versions were what actors could memorize. Shakespeare was appreciated by many contemporaries, not just the patron, Earl of Southampton. The talented playwright was paid tribute to the theater connoisseurs in his memoirs. Shakespeare was one of the most revered writers of his time. That is why his colleagues decided to collect all his works and publish a book with them. The project could even lead to financial trouble, because competitors could copy the plays. For those who knew Shakespeare personally, his death was the end of the era. If the works were really created by Oxford or Bacon, then why was Shakespeare respected? In 2010, the work of the playwright and the most likely candidates for authorship were subjected to computer analysis. It turned out that all the texts were created by one person, different from the prospective candidates. So the question of Shakespeare’s authorship can be considered closed.
Shakespeare is the greatest English playwright.
Today this view is generally accepted, but it was not always so. In his lifetime, Shakespeare had a reputation as just a good playwright and poet, one of the many Elizabethan epochs. He managed to find influential friends, to win success with the public. In the first half century after his death, the playwright was not considered a great writer. In theaters of the Restoration period, the plays of Fletcher and Beaumont were more popular, Ben Johnson and Shakespeare were considered authors of a lower level. Indeed, national fame came to the playwright in 1769 after the celebration of the Stratford Jubilee. And in those days no one had any questions who was the real author of Shakespeare’s works. And only when it was called national pride and genius, there were such myths. Like any other writer, Shakespeare’s works were not of equal quality. In his plays there are boring, mechanical or meaningless passages. True, it is unclear whether this is the author’s fault – the text was often restored. We do not always understand slang of that era, references to events. And the humor of Shakespeare’s time is different from ours. The text can not be perceived as a sacred relic, it must be explained, like Chaucer. The theater is an ephemeral art. That Shakespeare, who was valued by his contemporaries, has already gone forever.
Shakespeare’s original stories.
As already mentioned, during the time of Shakespeare, playwrights often borrowed stories from each other. In the case of Shakespeare, the case of Hamlet is indicative. This play is considered one of the best. Meanwhile, the plot was taken from an old Scandinavian story. In the third book of Acts of the Danes, the Danish chronicler Saxo Grammatik told the legend of the Danish ruler Amletus. The main character tries to avenge the death of his father. Other researchers believe that the plot was borrowed from Thomas Kid from his “Spanish tragedy”. And although the original version of the story remained little known, its presentation by Shakespeare proved to be the best.