by Isadora Sartosa
We know very little about the greatest writer of England. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564 and died in 1616 after writing 37 plays and 154 sonnets and being the most successful player in London. His father was a glove-merchant, unable to read or write, and his mother a religious woman but uneducated.
His friend Ben Jonson claimed that Shakespeare knew very little about classical languages because he had a basic education. His daughter Judith signed with a cross and his daughter Susanna can sign but cannot write a letter. We have only six signs of Shakespeare in four different documents, the signs are not of the same hand and experts argue that his lawyers were who signed these documents by him and –what it is worst- we do not have any manuscript by him and the list of his possessions included on his will do not say anything about he had an only book.
However, his works show spread knowledge of classical and modern languages, of weapons and ships, of medicine and laws, of courtesan life and mythology, of holly history and geography… If John Milton was able of using eight thousand words (a well-read person uses four thousand), William Shakespeare managed more than twenty thousand and most of them were Italian, French or Spanish terms, and if Jack London or Stevenson could speak about shipwrecks due to their trips, William Shakespeare speaks of them with the same precision but without doing an only trip on ship.
Very many investigators ask if William Shakespeare was the simple actor born in Stratford-upon-Avon that we suppose or if William Shakespeare was another person or even more than one: his plays were published seven years after his death and never before.
In these circumstances, there are very many candidates to be Shakespeare: Chistopher Marlowe; Francis Bacon; Edward the Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford; and even the Queen Elisabeth.
Precisely, it was her, Queen Elisabeth, who was very interested in promoting the English culture as a way of improving the English national feeling in a time where England was a threaten country, with very many internal and external problems.
Yes, I can image her with a team of writers planning the next famous play, the same as today screen players do in Hollywood.
Nothing new on the earth!!!
William Shakespeare’s tragedies: Romeo and Juliet, Coriolanus, Titus Andronicus, Timon of Athens, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Hamlet, Troilus and Cressida, King Lear, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, and Cymbeline.
William Shakespeare’s histories: King John, Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI, Richard III and Henry VIII.
Main William Shakespeare’s comedies: All’s Well That Ends Well, As You Like It, The Comedy of Errors, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Measure for Measure, The Merchant of Venice, The Merry Wives of Windsor , A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Pericles, Prince of Tyre, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Two Noble Kinsmen, The Winter’s Tale.
‘To be, or not to be’ is the beginning of a soliloquy from William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet (written about 1600), Act III, Scene 1. It is the most famous quote from the play and probably, in world literature. However, there is disagreement on its meaning, that is good since a master piece must have different levels of understanding… See the yours!!
To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; Ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes Calamity of so long life:
For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time,
The Oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s Contumely,
The pangs of despised Love, the Law’s delay,
The insolence of Office, and the Spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his Quietus make
With a bare Bodkin? Who would Fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn
No Traveller returns, Puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of.
Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,
And thus the Native hue of Resolution
Is sicklied o’er, with the pale cast of Thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard their Currents turn awry,
And lose the name of Action. Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia? Nymph, in thy Orisons
Be all my sins remembered.