Thesis: William Shakespeare greatly changed modern society through his life, his accomplishments, and his influential writing.
Quote #1: "On Nov. 27, 1582, Shakespeare received a license to marry Anne Hathaway, the daughter of a local farmer. The two families knew each other, but the details of the relationship between William and Anne have been a source of speculation. At the age of 18, William was young to marry, while Anne at 26 was of normal marrying age. The marriage appears to have been hurried, and the birth of their first child, Susanna, in May 1583 came only six months after marriage. Some scholars have suggested that William may have been forced to marry Anne because she was pregnant. However, birth and marriage records indicate that many women in England at that time were already pregnant before they married, and so Shakespeare’s marriage was not unusual. Early in 1585, Anne gave birth to twins, Judith and Hamnet. The record of baptism marks the start of an important gap in the documentary evidence of Shakespeare’s life" (Lander).
Commentary #1: Shakespeare was incredibly young to marry, even in today's standards, as he was only 18. This also means that this area of Shakespeare's life is very closely observed because there are many odd things about the couple’s marriage. For instance, the marriage seems rushed and Anne gave birth to a child only 6 months after her marriage to William. This is then the last major thing that was known about Shakespeare until he resurfaced in 1592.
Quote #2: "The next mention of Shakespeare is in 1592, when he was an actor and playwright in London. His actions during the seven-year interim have been a matter of much curious speculation, including unproved stories of deer poaching, soldiering, and teaching. It may have taken him those seven years simply to break into and advance in the London theater. His early connections with the theater are unknown, although he was an actor before he became a playwright. He might have joined one of the touring companies that occasionally performed in Stratford-upon-Avon, or he might have gone directly to London to make his fortune, in either the theater or some other trade. Shakespeare was venturesome and able, and had good reasons to travel his confining family circumstances, tinged with just enough disgrace to qualify him to join the disreputable players. The theater was his escape to freedom; he therefore had strong motivation to succeed" (Branam).
Commentary #2: I really do wonder why people did not continue to keep track of his life during this time. Is it because they felt he would be unimportant or is it just that the things at this time were lost to the world. At the same time though I do understand why this time was lost, and its because he wasn't doing anything that was really important at the time.
Quote #3: "On Feb. 10, 1616, Shakespeare’s younger daughter, Judith, married Thomas Quiney, the son of his Stratford neighbor Richard Quiney. Six weeks later, Shakespeare revised his will. Within a month, he died. He was buried inside the Stratford parish church. His monument records the day of death as April 23, the generally accepted date of his birth" (Lander).
Commentary #3: I believe that Shakespeare was ready to die, considering he wrote his will around a month before he died, and seemed happy with the life that he had. Considering the date of his death, he may have even known it was going to happen soon, because he had finished his will barely before.
Quote #4: "In 1599, Burbage's theater was torn down and its timbers were used by Shakespeare and his company to build the Globe Theatre. This was the theater for which Shakespeare wrote most of his plays" (Anderson 778).
Commentary #4: I feel if this theater was not built, we would not know Shakespeare as he is known today or maybe even at all. This theater made him who he is, because his plays were written specifically for this theater. Also knowing that he tore down the other one, I feel he gave the other theater that was falling apart a rebirth so that it could produce plays again.
Quote #5: "In 1594 Shakespeare became an actor and playwright for the Lord Chamberlain's Men, the company that later became the King's Men under James I. Until the end of his London career Shakespeare remained with the company; it is thought that as an actor he played old men's roles, such as the ghost in Hamlet and Old Adam in As You Like It. In 1596 he obtained a coat of arms, and by 1597 he was prosperous enough to buy New Place in Stratford, which later was the home of his retirement years. In 1599 he became a partner in the ownership of the Globe theatre, and in 1608 he was part owner of the Blackfriars theatre. Shakespeare retired and returned to Stratford c.1613. He undoubtedly enjoyed a comfortable living throughout his career and in retirement, although he was never a wealthy man" (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia).
Commentary #5: This quote really helps me understand the amount of work that Shakespeare put into his career and why people really feel he was brilliant. It is now made obvious to me, because Shakespeare was able to do all parts of his job, he was able to act, he was able to write plays he was able to do just about everything necessary and beyond to make his company successful. After his career he retired with the coat of arms and was able to relax the rest of his life.
Quote #6: "Throughout the 1590’s, Shakespeare’s reputation continued to grow. From 1594 to 1608, he was fully involved in the London theater world. In addition to his duties as a sharer and actor in the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, he wrote an average of almost two plays a year for his company. During much of this period, Shakespeare ranked as London’s most popular playwright, based on the number of times his plays were performed and published. But his reputation was largely that of a popular playwright, not of a writer of unequaled genius."(Lander).
Commentary #6: I feel that Shakespeare was able to increase in popularity and influence because of the relatability to all members of society. Noting that Shakespeare was able to write at least 2 plays a year, he was able to keep the public's attention on his work, and maintain a steady follower base.
Shakespeare's Influential Writing
Quote #7: "Shakespeare, William (1564-1616), was an English playwright, poet, and actor. Many people regard him as the world’s greatest dramatist and the finest poet England has ever produced" (Lander).
Commentary #7: I feel that this is a correct statement because Shakespeare's language was profound in the plays that he wrote, and he is still able to influence people today. He is even known for creating new words, which I feel is remarkable in of itself.
Quote #8: "Shakespeare’s name did not appear on his earliest published plays, but the 1598 edition of Love’s Labour’s Lost includes his name on the title page. Later editions prominently advertise his authorship, in some cases falsely. In 1599, a printer named William Jaggard published The Passionate Pilgrim, a collection of 20 poems supposedly written by Shakespeare. However, the volume offered only five sonnets by Shakespeare, three taken from Love’s Labour’s Lost. By the end of the 1590’s, Shakespeare’s reputation was being used to sell books. And he had not yet written most of his great tragedies, such as Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth" (Lander).
Commentary #8: This quote proves the influence of Shakespeare on buyers, because they would buy anything that has his name on it, even if it wasn't his. Shakespeare soon grew in power, and even changed the way people think, because we imagine a lot of things the way Shakespeare saw them, for say Julius Caesar.
Quote #9: "Shakespeare’s plays have attracted large audiences in big, sophisticated cities and in small, rural towns. His works have been performed on the frontiers of Australia and New Zealand. They were part of the cultural life of the American Colonies and provided entertainment in the mining camps of the Old West. Today, there are theaters in many nations dedicated to staging Shakespeare’s works" (Lander).
Commentary #9: I feel that Shakespeare drew in such huge crowds because of the relatability of our lives, to the lives of his characters, and because of this we are able to truly grasp the magnificent extent of his writing and the abilities that it has to draw a detailed picture in our brain allowing us to understand his writing whether it is still in the original Victorian language, or translated into our modern language.
Quote #10: "Shakespeare's plays are still produced all over the world. During a Broadway season in the 1980's, one critic estimated that if Shakespeare were alive, he would be receiving $25,000 a week in royalties for a production of Othello alone. The play was attracting larger audiences than any other nonmusical production in town" (Anderson 777).
Commentary #10: From this quote I can understand how Shakespeare's influence remains on day to day basis and how he has change the modern world with new words and new way to write and perform plays. Considering the amount of income based of royalties for one play alone, I would still consider Shakespeare very influential, and special in the ways that he wrote.
Anderson, Robert. “Shakespeare and His Theater: A Perfect Match.” Holt Literature & Language Arts: Mastering the California Standards: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, by G. Kylene Beers et al., Austin, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 2003, pp. 778-80.
---. “William Shakespeare’s Life: A Genius from Stratford.” Holt Literature & Language Arts: Mastering the California Standards: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, by G. Kylene Beers et al., Austin, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 2003, pp. 776-77.
Branam, Harold. “William Shakespeare.” Salem Press Biographical Encyclopedia (2016): Topic Overviews 6-12. Web. 8 Dec. 2016.
Lander, Jesse M. “Shakespeare, William.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.
“William Shakespeare.” Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2016): 1-4. History Reference Center. Web. 8 Dec. 2016.