William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare
  • Full name: William Shakespeare
  • Date of birth: 26 April 1564

If William Shakespeare did not exist, he should be invented. Without him, the whole world repertoire of the last four centuries would be deprived of an important part of the plays and all the great (and not so great) actors – of their best roles. Hamlet and Othello, The King Lear and Macbeth, Rosalinda and Juliette, Desdemona and Olivia, Prospero and Sheylock: these characters are now a part of humanity’s cultural consciousness and have become eternal archetypes, while being main examples for dramatic plots authors in future centuries.

Shakespeare was born in Stratford-on-Avon, on April the 23rd, 1564 and made famous by this simple fact the ordinary little town lost in English meadows. His father was a successful glover and, according to gossips, a secret catholic. At the age of 18, Shakespeare married the 26-year-old Anne Hathaway, a daughter of a landowner. Since then, Shakespeare left few historical traces until he is mentioned as part of the London theatre scene in 1592. Biographers attempting to account for this period have reported many apocryphal stories: according to them, he might work either as a schoolmaster or as a poacher. Anyway, he surely loved theatre and possibly was a member of a vagabond actor company.

From 1592, Shakespeare's plays were performed by only the Lord Chamberlain's Men, a company owned by a group of players, including Shakespeare, which soon became the leading playing company in London. At the beginning, they played in the oldest theatre building in whole England, which was called clearly and shortly “Theatre”. Then a partnership of company members built their own theatre on the south bank of the River Thames, which they called the “Globe”. The exact number of Shakespeare’s plays is unknown: we could only say that they are between 35 and 40. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the 16th century. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances.

Around 230 years after Shakespeare's death, doubts began to be expressed about the authorship of the works attributed to him. Proposed alternative candidates include from Elisabeth, who admired Globe and its playwright, till Ivan the Terrible. Whoever created these texts, it could change nothing in their value for the world theatre. 

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