Shakespeare's Life and Career By: Jack H. Cates

Thesis: How William Shakespeare was a great writer, poet, and actor.

Quote # 1:

"With the other tragedies King Lear, Macbeth, and Othello, Hamlet stands out among Shakespeare's finest work and is regarded by many as his greatest play and one of the world's great dramas" (Hamlet).


This shows that Shakespeare is a favorite of many and can write very adored plays. Because it is said to be one of the world's greatest dramas, that can give you an idea of how well Shakespeare is known throughout the world. Many people would fly from far away to be able to go see his play. People would not often travel to Shakespeare to sight-see, they would travel to see him.

Quote # 2:

"Shakespeare was probably not the sole author of the play. Scholars disagree over how much of it he actually wrote. According to one view, he seems to have worked with a coauthor on the first two acts. The coauthor may have been the English playwright George Wilkins, who in 1608 wrote a novel, The Painfull Adventures of Pericles, Prince of Tyre, which was based on a performance of the play. However, many critics believe that Shakespeare did indeed write all of the play himself" (Pericles).


This shows that Shakespeare may not have completely written all of his plays but, that does not mean that they were not great. The plays were, in fact, great and it did not matter whether it was not all his thinking or not, people do not understand that two great minds can be put together to make something better than it would have been with only one person. People are fighting over who wrote what but, by now it is a little too late to give the creator(s) credit, as they are deceased and have been for centuries, though it would be nice to know the original thinker of the play whether it was one or both of them.

Quote # 3:

Shakespeare Library, Folger an independent library in Washington, D.C., houses one of the world's most important collections of books by and about William Shakespeare" (Shakespeare).


Shakespeare was a famous writer, actor, and poet but, not only did he get a library named after him but, only books about him or made by him are in the library. This does not only show that he was very well loved but it shows that there are countless things he has written and things he has had written about him. Shakespeare is well known across the world and it really is not surprising he has an entire library dedicated to him but it is just not often seen that the only books that are available in there are by he himself or about him, often the library is just named after a person because of something outstanding that they had done and many books would be written about them. The difference is, the entire library is full of history, facts and his own creations.

Quote # 4:

"Henry V is largely based on the Chronicles of England, Scotland and Irelandby the English historian Raphael Holinshed, on material in Edward Hall’s history The Union of the Two Noble and Illustrious Families of Lancaster and York, and on The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth (about 1586), a play by an unknown English author. Shakespeare added the brilliant speeches of Henry V on warfare, the comic interludes within the English military camp, and a chorus (a part read by one actor) detailing some of Shakespeare’s most significant comments on how the workings of imagination allow a small stage to reflect a vast historical story. An unusual feature of the play is the large blocks of dialogue spoken in French, a language and a culture often mocked by the lesser comic characters in the play" (Seidel).


Shakespeare wrote about many things, including history. The play may have had over exaggerated parts, to enhance the setting, but, for the most part it was based on history that he had been provided to him. Shakespeare is not only a great learning experience about the type of way that people had spoken during his time but, he can also help people learn about other things that happened during or before his time. Shakespeare is a great way, for example, to teach students how to write like him but also will help them learn about a king of a certain time period.

Quote # 5:

"It is a wholly truthful critical commonplace to assert that the strongest of Shakespeare's Sonnets and his "The Phoenix and Turtle" are among the best shorter poems in the English language" (Bloom).


This statement shows that Shakespeare is immensely one of the best poets during his time and still forth to this day. People have enjoyed his creations for centuries. He is definitely one of the most well known and respected poets. This is shown as many schools have been teaching his work and giving students excerpts of his poems to analyze for themselves.

Quote # 6:

"Shakespeare wrote at least 38 plays, two major narrative poems, a sequence of sonnets, and several short poems" (Lander).


This shows that Shakespeare was a very popular poet and that people did not want him to stop doing what he was doing. The fact that he wrote numerous poems shows that people wanted more. People were amazed by his talent, they could not get enough of his writing. They had wanted as much as they could get because they were astounded at how well his pieces of works were.

Quote # 7:

"Shakespeare probably wrote the sonnets over a period of years. There are 154 sonnets in the sequence, though some scholars believe that a different author may have written Sonnets 153 and 154, those focused on Cupid, the Roman god of love" (Seidel).


Shakespeare had written many poems, people had speculated that he may not be the soul author of them all but as you can see by the number of poems he had written, nobody had a problem with that. People had loved his work, encouraging him to make more poems and such. Shakespeare made many poems and many admirers by doing so. The fact that he wrote over 100 is astonishing especially because they were all adored by people all over the world.

Quote # 8:

"Many writers have supposed that Hamlet's troubled mind reflects a traumatic development in Shakespeare's life, although there is almost no evidence of the playwright's personal life to confirm or refute this theory" (Boyce).


This quote means that Shakespeare had possibly decided to write about his life and he would know how each actor, including himself especially, should express themselves. It is not known for sure and cannot be proven that some or most of his plays are based on his life. Besides the fact that it may or may not be based on his life, he starred in many of his plays, one being, "Hamlet." Shakespeare was very talented in a variety of mediums, involving writing or acting, making himself a perfect selection to star in his own plays.

Quote # 9:

"Macbeth is a five-act tragedy by the English dramatist William Shakespeare. It was probably written in 1606 and first performed at the Globe Theatre, London, in the same year, possibly in front of King James I" (Macbeth).


Shakespeare had acted in the play, "Macbeth," possibly in front of King James I. This just goes to show how popular Shakespeare really was, as performing for royalty is a once in a lifetime opportunity. This meaning that you may do it multiple times but the offer will not come up very often. Not many people were great enough to perform for royalty as they would expect the best. Shakespeare was very talented and maybe it was just a coincidence that the king had shown up but it was most likely discussed between the two to arrange a date and time.

Quote # 10:

"As You Like It is a five-act comedy by the English dramatist William Shakespeare. It is one of his great comedies, belonging to the second period of his career as a playwright. It was probably first performed in 1599, but many scholars consider that it was written a few years earlier. It was first published in 1623" (Shakespeare).


William Shakespeare had written a number of plays but this was one of his best. It was a comedy that he had performed in during the second period of his play writing career. Shakespeare had written the play and performed in it in such a way that many lovers had became concerned for their happy destiny that they thought would await them. He had figured out how to be happy and full of laughter while still being serious. He put a few songs in the play to help set the correct mood and tone he was looking for. Shakespeare was an acting genius because of his success.

Works Cited:

“As You Like It.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2017. Web. 9 Jan. 2017.

Bloom, Harold, ed. “Bloom on the Poems and Sonnets of William Shakespeare.” Shakespeare’s Poems & Sonnets, Bloom’s Major Poets. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishing, 1998. Bloom’s Literature, Facts On File, Inc.

Boyce, Charles. “Hamlet.” Critical Companion to William Shakespeare: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work, Critical Companion. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2005. Bloom’s Literature, Facts On File, Inc.

“Folger Shakespeare Library.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2017. Web. 6 Jan. 2017.

“Hamlet.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 13 Dec. 2016.

Lander, Jesse M. “Shakespeare, William.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.

“Macbeth.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2017. Web. 9 Jan. 2017.

“Pericles.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

Seidel, Michael. “When I Do Count the Clock That Tells the Time (Sonnet 12).” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2017. Web. 8 Jan. 2017.

Seidel, Michael. “Henry V.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2017. Web. 9 Jan. 2017.


Created with images by tonynetone - "William Shakespeare" • Biblioteca Rector Machado y Nuñez - ""Shakespeare"" • Tomasz_Mikolajczyk - "machine typewriter print" • sure2talk - "Quill" • Beinecke Flickr Laboratory - "[Commonplace book], [mid. 17th c.]" • kevinofsydney - "the globe theatre"

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