Engage & Learn

Shakespeare 101

Biography

Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon. Photo by flickr user Rick Payette (provided by author under a Creative Commons License via Flickr)

Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon. Photo by flickr user Rick Payette (provided by author under a Creative Commons License via Flickr)

Shakespeare was born sometime in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon. Not much is known about Shakespeare’s younger years. The next record of Shakespeare appeared when he married Anne Hathaway in 1582. After his marriage there were 7 years during which there were no records of William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare became known in London for acting and playwriting in 1592. He continued to garner fame for his work and in 1599, he and his business partners built the Globe Theatre. He “retired” from the theatre in 1610 and returned to Stratford-upon-Avon. He died on April 23, 1616.

Portrait of William Shakespeare. Photo by flickr user Books 18 (provided by author under a Creative Commons License via Flickr)

Portrait of William Shakespeare. Photo by flickr user Books 18 (provided by author under a Creative Commons License via Flickr)

For more a more detailed biography visit:

http://www.biography.com/people/william-shakespeare-9480323?page=1

http://www.literarygenius.info/

Shakespeare’s Work

Shakespeare is most famous for his plays. The current academic consensus is that Shakespeare wrote 37 plays but the number is constantly being reviewed. He dabbled in different genres, which was often frowned upon in Elizabethan drama. His plays are categorized into three categories – histories, tragedies, and comedies.

Shakespeare’s plays by genre, date, and length

Shakespeare is also known for his sonnets. In 1592 an outbreak of the Bubonic Plague closed the theatres for 2 years. It was during this time period that he first began writing sonnets. He used the sonnets as a creative outlet while he could not produce any theatre.

Shakespeare’s Sonnets read by famous actors

Alan Rickman reads Sonnet 130

Here are some more sonnet resources:

http://www.shakespeares-sonnets.com/

http://public.wsu.edu/~delahoyd/shakespeare/sonnets.html

Additions to the English Language

Shakespeare created and used many words and phrases in his plays that are still used today.

The History of the English Language: Shakespeare

Shakespeare Said it First, You Say it Everyday

Original Pronunciation

Below find lists of Shakespeare’s words and phrases that he added to the dictionary.

http://www.shakespeare-online.com/biography/wordsinvented.html

http://www.anglotopia.net/anglophilia/massive-list-of-phrases-that-shakespeare-created-that-we-still-use-today/

http://www.cummingsstudyguides.net/xArchaisms.html/