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William Shakespeare. William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.

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william shakespeare
William Shakespeare
  • William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.

William Shakespeare was the son of John Shakespeare, an alderman and Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent landowning farmer. He was born in Stratford - upon-Avon.His actual date of birth is unknown, but is traditionally observed April 23, 1564.

  • At the age of 18, Shakespeare married the 26-year-old Anne Hathaway.
  • Six months after the marriage Anne gave birth to a daughter, Susanna.Twins, son Hamnet and daughter Judith, followed almost two years later Hamnet died uncauses at the age of 11.

This design of Sir Nathaniel Curzon, dated 1708, should represent Anne Hathaway.


It is not known exactly when Shakespeare began writing, but contemporary allusions and records of performances show that several of his plays were on the London stage by 1592.

  • The first recorded works of Shakespeare are Richard III and the three parts of Henry VI, written in the early 1590s during a vogue for historical drama. 
  • Shakespeare's early classical and Italianate comedies, containing tight double plots and precise comic sequences, give way in the mid-1590s to the romantic atmosphere of his greatest comedies.
  • In this perod William Shakespeare wrote a lot of "Italianate comedies",we rember some of them:"A Midsummer Night's Dream","Merchant of Venice" and in particular "Romeo and Juliet",the famous romantic tragedy of sexually charged adolescence, love, and death.


  • Romeo and Juliet by Francesco Hayez
  • Many critics believe that Shakespeare's greatest tragedies represent the peak of his art. The titular hero of one of Shakespeare's most famous tragedies, Hamlet, has probably been discussed more than any other Shakespearean character, especially for his famous soliloquy which begins "To be or not to be; that is the question".

The plots of Shakespeare's tragedies often hinge on such fatal errors or flaws, which overturn order and destroy the hero and those he loves.[105] In Othello, the villain Iago stokes Othello's sexual jealousy to the point where he murders the innocent wife who loves him.

  • In his final period, Shakespeare turned to romance or tragicomedy and completed three more major plays: Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale and The Tempest.

Othello and Desdemona in Venice by Théodore Chassériau

Hamlet with Yorick's skull


In 1593 and 1594, when the theatres were closed because of plague, Shakespeare published two narrative poems on erotic themes, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece.

  • The Sonnets were the last of Shakespeare's non-dramatic works to be printed. Shakespeare wrote sonnets throughout his career for a private readership.
  • Shakespeare's first plays were written in the conventional style of the day. He wrote them in a stylised language that does not always spring naturally from the needs of the characters or the drama. Soon, however, Shakespeare began to adapt the traditional styles to his own purposes.
  • No single play marks a change from the traditional to the freer style. Shakespeare combined the two throughout his career, with Romeo and Juliet perhaps the best example of the mixing of the styles.

He preserved aspects of his earlier style in the later plays, however. In Shakespeare's late romances, he deliberately returned to a more artificial style, which emphasised the illusion of theatre.

Title page from 1609 edition of Shake-Speares Sonnets.

Title page of the First Folio, 1623. Copper engraving of Shakespeare byMartin Droeshout.


Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616 and was survived by his wife and two daughters.

  • Sometime before 1623, a funerary monument was erected in his memory on the north wall, with a half-effigy of him in the act of writing. Its plaque compares him to Nestor, Socrates, and Virgil.Shakespeare has been commemorated in many statues and memorials around the world, including funeral monuments in Southwark Cathedral and Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.

Shakespeare's funerary monument in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Shakespeare's grave


My mistress’eyes

  • My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;Coral is far morered, than her lips red:If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
  • I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,But no such roses see I in her cheeks;And in some perfumes is there more delightThan in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
  • I love to hear her speak, yet well I knowThat music hath a far more pleasing sound:I grant I never saw a goddess go,—My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:

And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.

Red=repetitions light blue=assonance


Text analysis

  • Sonnet 130 is a pleasure to read for its simplicity and frankness of expression. It is also one of the few of Shakespeare's sonnets with a distinctly humorous tone. Its message is simple: the dark lady's beauty cannot be compared to the beauty of a goddess or to that found in nature, for she is but a mortal human being.

The sonnet is generally considered a humorous parody of the typical love sonnet. Petrarch, for example, addressed many of his most famous sonnets to an idealized woman named Laura, whose beauty he often likened to that of a goddess. In stark contrast Shakespeare makes no attempt at deification of the dark lady.

  • Yet the narrator loves her nonetheless, and in the closing couplet says that in fact she is just as extraordinary ("rare") as any woman described with such exaggerated or false comparisons.
  • About the style,in this sonnet we have the alternate rhyme (ABAB...)and finally we have the couplet rhyiming (GG).We can recognize also many examples of repetition and assonance in this text,there are also some exemples of allitteration.In the third stanza,Shakespeare tells us that despite his woman isn’t a goddes;he loves her anyway,which is expecially endorsed in the last two lines.

Shall I compare thee

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate:Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,And summer's lease hath all too short a date: 

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; And every fair from fair sometime declines,By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;

But thy eternal summer shall not fadeNor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st; 

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. 

Red: a question blue:the answer green:the justification to the answer orange:a promise violet:the result of the promise


Text analysis

  • Sonnet 18 is the best known and most well-loved of all 154 sonets.It is also one of the most straightforward in language and intent.The stability of love and its power to immortality are the subject of the poet’s verse is the teme.
  • The poet starts the promise to his dear friend without ostentation,but he slowly builds the image of his friends into that of a perfect being.His friend is compared to summer in the octave.The poet’s only answer to such profound joy and beauty is to ensure that his friend be forever in human memory.The final couplet reaffirms the poet shape that has long as there is breath in mankind,his poetry too will live on,and ensure the immortality of his muse.
  • The sonet can be divided in five parts:a question,the answer,the justification to the answer,a promise and the result of the promise.
  • In the first four stanzas there is an exemple of alternate rhyme and in the last two lines there is the couplet rhyming.
  • There are also a lot of examples of allitteration that gives a normal sensation not sad and not happy with different consonants.The work “Fair” is repeated a lot of times with the meaning of beauty.