William Shakespeare


The English dramatist and poet was the author of the most widely
admired and influential body of literature by any individual in the history of Western
civilization. His work includes 36 plays, 154 sonnets, and 2 narrative poems. Knowledge
of Shakespeare is derived from two sources: his works and those remains of legal and
church records and contemporary allusions through which scholars can trace the external
facts of his life.
The poetry of the English Renaissance between 1580 and 1660 was the result of
a remarkable burst of energy. It is, however, the drama of the same period that stands
highest in popular estimation. The works of its greatest author, William Shakespeare,
have ...

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when the London theaters were closed by order of the Puritan Parliament. Like so much
nondramatic literature of the Renaissance, most of these plays were written in an
elaborate verse style and under the influence of classical examples, but the popular taste,
to which drama was especially susceptible, required a flamboyance and sensationalism
largely alien to the spirit of Greek and Roman literature. Only the Roman tragedian
Lucius Annaeus Seneca could provide a model for the earliest popular tragedy of blood
and revenge, The Spanish Tragedy (1594) of Thomas Kyd. Kyd's skillfully managed,
complicated, but sensational plot influenced in turn later, psychologically more
sophisticated revenge tragedies, among them Shakespeare's Hamlet. A few years later
Christopher Marlowe, in the tragedies Tamburlaine, Part I (1590), and Edward II
(1594), began the tradition of the chronicle play of the fatal deeds of kings and
potentates. Marlowe's plays, such as Dr. Faustus (1604) and ...

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Shakespeare's last plays,
the so-called dramatic romances, including The Tempest (1611?), he sets a mood of
quiet acceptance and ultimate reconciliation that was a fitting close for his literary
career. These plays, by virtue of their mysterious, exotic atmosphere and their quick,
surprising alternations of bad and good fortune, come close also to the tone of the
drama of the succeeding age.
The publication of Shakespeare's two fashionably erotic narrative poems Venus
and Adonis (1593) and The Rape of Lucrece (1594) and of his Sonnets (published 1609,
but circulated previously in manuscript form) established his reputation as a gifted and
popular poet of the Renaissance (14th ...

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"William Shakespeare." Essayworld.com. July 21, 2006. Accessed April 25, 2017. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/William-Shakespeare/49464.
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Added: 7/21/2006 12:22:39 PM
Category: English
Words: 2848
Pages: 11

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