Have you ever heard about a man called Shakespeare? I’m pretty sure you do. You probably don’t know everything about Shakespeare, and that’s why I’m writing this: to make you understand that Shakespeare is an important actor in modern life. You will read about him (his biography), one of his best artwork called Romeo & Juliet and how did he change our lives.
Short biography of Shakespeare
William Shakespeare, born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, on April 26, 1564, was an English playwright, actor and poet, also known as the « Bard of Avon » or the England’s national poet.
At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Around 1585, he began a successful career as an actor, writer and part-owner of Lord Chamberlain’s Men playing company, later known as the King’s Men.
Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613. His first plays were mostly histories and comedies, known as the best artworks in the world of this kind. Then he wrote many tragedies, including Hamlet, King Lear and Macbeth; considered as the finest artworks in the English language.
We don’t really know much about Shakespeare’s education. All we know is that he probably went to King’s New School in Stratford, but we don’t have any proofs.
Romeo ; Juliet
One of the best artworks of William Shakespeare is Romeo ; Juliet. Maybe that you think that this artwork is only a love story, but you’re wrong. Romeo & Juliet is more than a love story; It shows how love can be strong enough to do everything for the person you love, and that love can destroy you. It shows also that when you’re in love with someone, people around you are meaningless and you don’t really care about your entourage, like your friends and family.
Here’s a short summary to put you in context but before, let me present you the two main characters;
Romeo Montague is a young man of about sixteen years old. He is handsome, intelligent and sensitive, but also impulsive and immature. His family and the Capulet are in « fight » but Romeo is not very interested into violence. At the beginning he is in love with a girl named Rosaline, but at the second that he sees Juliet, he falls in love with her. He loves Juliet so much that he would die for her.
Juliet Capulet is a beautiful thirteen years old girl. At the beginning, she is naive and only thought a little about love and marriage. Quickly, she grows up when falling in love with Romeo. She doesn’t have freedom, because she lives in an aristocratic family. She has a nurse, because she lives in a rich family.
Romeo and Juliet fall in love at a party. But they come from families which hate each other; Capulet and Montague. They are sure they will not be allowed to marry. Nevertheless, helped by Friar Laurence, they marry in secret instead. Unfortunately, before their wedding night, Romeo kills Juliet’s cousin in a duel, and in the morning he is forced to leave her. If he ever come back in the city, he will be put to death.
Juliet’s parents told her she must marry Paris. Her parents do not know she is already married. She refuses in the beginning, but later agrees because she plans to fake her death and escape to be with Romeo forever; again with the help of Friar Laurence.
Friar Laurence designs the plan. He gives Juliet a sleeping potion. She appears to be dead and was put in a tomb. However, Romeo does not know about the plan, visits her grave, thinks she is dead, and kills himself. When Juliet finally wakes up, she discovers that Romeo is dead and then kills herself.
How did Shakespeare change the world?
William Shakespeare influenced us, and helped a lot to create the modern man. With his artworks, that had been read by almost every person on the planet, changed our way to think, and our way to live… But how did it influence us so much? Here’s how:
In all of his work; the plays, the sonnets and the narrative poems; Shakespeare uses 17,677 words. Of those words, Shakespeare ‘invented’ 1700 of them. We say invented, though in reality many of these 1700 words would likely have been in common parlance, just not written down prior to Shakespeare. But, it’s impressive! Also, he helped to the standardization of the English language and established grammar rules.
In the renaissance
The renaissance movement is used to describe how Europeans moved away from the restrictive ideas of the Middle Ages. The ideology that dominated the Middle Ages was heavily focused on the absolute power of God and was enforced by Catholic Church.
At the beginning of the fourteenth century, people started to break away from this idea. The renaissance movement did not necessarily reject the idea of God, but rather questioned humankind’s relationship to God. This focus on humanity created a new freedom for artists, writers and philosophers to be interested about the world around them.
He updated the simple 2 dimensional writing style. He started to create « human » characters with psychologically complexity. They had real emotions and feels. Like if they were real persons.
Theater in Shakespeare’s day
Theater in Shakespeare’s day was much different from today. People did not sit all the time and it was not quiet during the performance. The audience could walk around, eat and drink during the play. They cheered, booed and sometimes even threw objects at the actors.
Theaters were open arenas or playhouses that had room for up to three thousand people. There was no heating and actors got wet when it rained. The stage was higher and there was an open pit in front of it where most of the people could stand in. The richer persons sat in the gallery.
There was no stage crew, so the actors had to make their costumes and to set up the stage by themselves. Also, the actors were only men; women were played by young boys. There was no woman acting, or it wasn’t well seen.
Shakespeare had a big influence on modern life. He wrote many artworks and is considered as the greatest writer in the English language. I think that everybody should know him, at least read or watch one of his artworks. He is a big man that nobody will forget; and I hope you know more about him after you read this essay.
Sources: Wikipedia, biography.com and babelio.com