William Shakespeare: Life, Death, Works and Characteristics

William Shakespeare: Life, Death, Works and Characteristics

We explain who William Shakespeare was, the biography and works of this renowned author. Also, its characteristics and how it died.

Who was William Shakespeare?

William Shakespeare, known as the Bard of Avon, was an English playwright, poet and actor of the Victorian era considered the highest exponent of English letters and one of the most important and well-known writers of world literature.

His works have been translated into virtually every language and are being published and reproduced today more than ever.

Shakespeare’s work consisted mainly of theater and poetry , and is considered among the most central of the Western literary canon, along with poets such as Dante Alighieri, Miguel de Cervantes, Charles Dickens or León Tolstoi.

And although he was recognized and revered in life , his greatest success and popularization would come during the nineteenth century at the hands of the romantic poets, who recognized his genius and often turned to his works for inspiration.

However, various artistic movements around the world have returned to Shakespeare and have reinterpreted him according to their times . His unique and universal characters have inspired artists of all kinds and even psychoanalytic and anthropological studies.

Shakespeare biography

Shakespeare biography
Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway at age 18.

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, an English city , around 1564 on April 26, the date on which he was baptized.

There is no accurate documentation regarding his birth, although it is known that he was the third of eight children of John Shakespeare (whose surname, as there was no spelling consensus, could be spelled Shakespere , Shaksper or Shakespeare ) and Mary Arden, who was descended from a noble family.

At 18 he married Anne Hathaway , 26, and had several children with her: Susanna, Hamnet and Judith, twins. The male died at 11 years of age.

Lord Chamberlain’s men

Sakespeare was the co-owner and director of a well-known theater company called Lord Chamberlain’s men (” Lord Chamberlain’s men “), since at the time it was customary to baptize artistic groups with the name of their patron.

This theatrical company was so successful that King James I himself took it under his wing and from then on they became known as King’s men (“The King’s men “).

The Globe Theater

The Globe Theater
Shakespeare performed his plays at “The Globe,” a London theater.

Shakespeare’s “base of operations”, that is, the theater where he used to perform his plays and which housed his team of actors, was The Globe , built by Peter Street in 1599 on the banks of the River Thames. . His functions were only in summer.

There he performed his most famous pieces for the first time, although it was destroyed in 1613 by a fire , later rebuilt and finally demolished in 1644, due to the pressures of Elizabethan puritanism who viewed theater shows with a bad eye.

In 1997 it was rebuilt in the style of its initial architecture , just 200 meters from where it was originally located.

Shakespeare’s death

Shakespeare's death
Shakespeare’s remains are in the Holy Trinity Presbyterian Cemetery.

Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616 , from problems associated with drunkenness . Later investigations prefer to think that the poet died of cancer.

His remains were deposited in the Holy Trinity Presbyterian Cemetery in Stratford ( Holy Trinity Church ), where his family erected a funeral monument in his name.

Shakespeare debate

There is a discrepancy regarding some of the works attributed to Shakespeare, as some researchers assume that certain works were actually by Francis Bacon or Christopher Marlowe, or many others.

The most suspicious theses affirm that Shakespeare was nothing but a pseudonym or at most a “straw man” who assumed the authorship of the pieces, but that these were of group origin, or of some other playwright who preferred not to get into trouble with the cut.

Shakespeare’s Major Works

Shakespeare's Major Works
Shakespeare wrote great tragedies like Romeo and Juliet.

The great works of Shakespeare are of a dramaturgical nature and are divided into tragedies (historical and fictional dramas) and comedies. The entire list of these parts is:

  • Tragedies . Usually composed around historical themes or elaborations of popular stories. The main ones are:
    • Titus Andronicus (1594)
    • Romeo and Juliet (1595)
    • Julius Caesar (1599)
    • Hamlet (1601)
    • Othello (1603)
    • King Lear (1605)
    • Macbeth (1606)
  • Comedies Its most numerous facet and often involved motifs from the Greco-Latin tradition or farcical themes. The main ones are:
    • The Comedy of Errors (1591)
    • The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1591)
    • A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595)
    • The Merchant of Venice (1596)
    • Much Ado About Nothing (1598)
    • As You Like It (1599)
    • Cymbaline (1610)
    • The Tempest (1612)
    • The Taming of the Shrew (date unknown)

Characteristics of Shakespearean theater

The theater of Shakespeare is characterized by its high linguistic game between the characters , both tragedy and comedy, which shows a level of writing superb.

His themes, as to a great extent in the theater of the time, oscillate between love , salvation, human passions (jealousy, for example, in the case of Othello) and above all the relationship with political power and authority. .

Key to this was the use of the buffoon or the madman , in whose mouth he often deposited the politically incorrect opinions and comments he wanted to express.

In the case of his historical dramas, he manages to recreate famous characters from the Greco-Roman historical tradition and delve into their feelings and their moral and affective dilemmas, offering a rereading that goes beyond the mere events that occurred.

Shakespeare’s poetry

Shakespeare's poetry
It is said that this poetic facet was the one that Shakespeare valued the most.

The poetry of Shakespeare consists of sonnets (majority) and a few poems extensive, more narrative and mythological. It is said that this poetic facet was the one that the author valued the most, and ironically he wanted to pass to posterity through it and not through the theatrical.

His sonnets are particularly accomplished, and some of them were included in pieces like Lost Love’s Labors . Many supposed hidden stories have been woven around love sonnets and their mysterious dedications, but nothing has been proven for sure.

Lost work of Shakespeare

Shakespeare is credited with works written in co-authorship with fellow playwright John Fletcher , such as Cardenio , inspired by a passage from Quixote by Cervantes; or as The Two Noble Knights of 1613.

Importance of Shakespeare

Importance of Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s plays inspired numerous plays and narratives.

Shakespeare is considered the highest poet of the English language and the founding writer of its tradition, as is Cervantes in the Hispanic one.

His imaginary and his characters are not only considered eternal archetypes of the Western way of thinking , but they have also been reworked and inspired by numerous later theatrical pieces , narrative and poetic works, paintings , symphonies, films and a gigantic etcetera that ratifies the importance of Shakespeare as a central poet of the Anglo-Saxon tradition and one of the most important in Europe.

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The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational and educational purposes only and has been developed by referring reliable sources and recommendations from technology experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.

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