Shakespeare as a Writer Katie Flack Period 5

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was a largely popular writer in his time and made an impact on the modern world through his sonnets, poems, and plays.

The Globe Theater, the place where Shakespeare's plays were performed in his time, and still are today.

Background Information

William Shakespeare was quite popular in his time, "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. Shakespeare wrote at least 38 plays, two major narrative poems, a sequence of sonnets, and several short poems." (Lander)

William Shakespeare has always been a very popular writer and has many famous works that have changed our culture.

Only a few items give us proof that Shakespeare actually lived, "...he left us only his poems and his plays. What we know about William Shakespeare's personal life comes mostly from church and legal documents..." (Anderson)

We only know about this famous writer today because of his writing and his legal documents, if these had never been found, we never would have known about the greatest poet and playwright of all-time.

Shakespeare has always been considered one of the greatest writers ever, "The English playwright, poet, and actor William Shakespeare is generally considered the greatest of English writers and one of the most extraordinary creators in human history. The crucial fact about his career is that he was a popular dramatist at a time when drama (a composition in verse or prose depicting conflicts through dialogue) was flourishing in England. Audiences drawn from a wide range of social classes were eager to reward his talents." (Carnagie, Saari)

Shakespeare is known as one of the greatest writers in history and was a dramatist at a time when drama was doing well in England. Many people came to see his plays be performed.

A quote from Sonnet 65 by William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare’s Poems and Sonnets

Critics observe Shakespeare's sonnets and most agree on what they mean, "Most late twentieth-century critics maintain that the psychological portrait of the poet is in fact the principal focus of the sonnets. In their judgment, the sequence depicts a mind torn between conflicting thoughts and emotions as the speaker deals with issues that are central to human existence: love and friendship; birth and death; self-knowledge and self-delusion; sin and virtue; and the vagaries of fortune and the ravages of time. Many commentators view the poet as prone to misjudge both himself and the young man. Others contend that he willfully avoids facing the truth about the young man's nature and conduct—either because he continues to love his friend or because he does not want to acknowledge the malignant effect of the relationship on himself." (Hacht)

Critics say that the picture the poet paints in their sonnet of himself is the main focus of the sonnet. The critics explain that in Shakespeare's sonnets, it depicts a struggle in the mind between many things. Many critics view Shakespeare's sonnets and notice that Shakespeare misjudges himself and the young man he writes of. Although, some says he avoids the truth about the young man because he either wants to continue loving him, or because he does not want to accept the truth of the bad effects of the relationship on himself.

Shakespeare's sonnets mostly focus on love, "Human love—in a variety of manifestations—is a principal focus of Shakespeare's sonnets. Among the many different kinds of love expressed in these verses are spiritual and erotic, parental and filial, and love that ennobles and love that corrupts. The poet explores the paradoxical nature of human passion at length from different perspectives, sometimes idealizing love and sometimes treating it sardonically." (Hacht)

Shakespeare's sonnets focus on love of many kinds through many different perspectives.

Shakespeare keeps the focus of many of his sonnets on a young man, "The man about whom the poet writes much of his verse is characterized as younger, as holding superior aristocratic rank, and as unmarried. The poet describes him as unusually beautiful, and at times his inner virtue seems to match his outward nature. On other occasions he appears cold, narcissistic, and morally corrupt. Sometimes he returns the poet's love, but he is also accused of having an illicit sexual relationship with a woman—perhaps one who was the poet's mistress." (Hacht)

Shakespeare writes many of his sonnets about a young man whom is sometimes a good person, but at other times is a bad person. Sometimes, he loves the poet, but sometimes does not.

Shakespeare wrote two narrative poems, "Venus and Adonis is one of Shakespeare's two most substantial narrative poems, the other being Lucrece. Shakespeare is commonly believed to have written both of these poems early in his career while the London theaters were closed to prevent the spread of the plague. Also, both narrative poems were dedicated to the Earl of Southampton, a noted literary patron; critics have noted that, as courtly poetry, the works signaled a fair degree of ambition on Shakespeare's part." (Hacht)

Shakespeare has two narrative poems, Venus and Adonis, and Lucrece. He is believed to have written them at the beginning of his career when he couldn't be at the theater because it was closed to prevent the spread of the plague. Both of these poems were dedicated to the Earl of Southampton, a literary patron.

Shakespeare’s Plays

Shakespeare's works have been valued for a long time, "His plays and poems have long been a required part of a liberal education. Generations of people have absorbed his ideas concerning heroism, romantic love, loyalty, and the nature of tragedy as well as his portraits of particular historical characters. To this day, most people imagine Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Cleopatra, and Richard III as Shakespeare portrayed them." (Lander)

His plays have made a lasting impact on society and have been popular for hundreds of years. His descriptions of historical figures have influenced how many people still imagine them.

Shakespeare was involved in theater for a long time, "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." (Lander)

Shakespeare was very involved with the theater and wrote a lot for his company. He was also very popular with the audience of London.

Shakespeare's last plays did not have as much in common as his earlier works did, "The plays of Shakespeare's first period have much in common, though they consist of comedies, histories, and a tragedy. The plots of these plays tend to follow their sources more closely than do the plots of Shakespeare’s later works. The plots also tend to consist of a series of loosely related episodes, rather than a tightly integrated dramatic structure. In addition, the plays generally emphasize events more than the portrayal of character." (Lander)

Shakespeare's first plays were very similar and they followed their sources closer than his later works would. They also focus more on events than the depiction of characters.

The play, "The Tempest", written by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare was one of the greatest writers ever and his sonnets, poems, and plays had a huge impact on today’s writing and even just everyday life.

Works Cited

Anderson, Robert. “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.

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

Shakespeare, WilliamRenaissance and Reformation Reference Library

Ed. Julie L. Carnagie, Peggy Saari, and Aaron Saari. Vol. 4: Vol. 2: Biographies. Detroit: UXL, 2002. p335-346. COPYRIGHT 2002 U*X*L, COPYRIGHT 2006 Gale

The SonnetsShakespeare for Students: Critical Interpretations of Shakespeare’s Plays and Poetry

Ed. Anne Marie Hacht. Vol. 3. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2007. p788-827. COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale

Venus and AdonisShakespeare for Students: Critical Interpretations of Shakespeare’s Plays and Poetry

Ed. Anne Marie Hacht. Vol. 3. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2007. p924-954. COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale


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