William Shakespeare

English literature. Biography. Theatral author. Periods. Works

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Prácticas del Laboratorio II

Composition II

William Shakespeare

English school system is very centrated on Shakespeare. However, everybody

does not know about him; there are many inmigrants and people in slum areas. The

director we saw in the film went to that areas and looked for people to train “Romeo and

Juliet” papers. He finally was happy with the act, but angry about the fact of that areas

with a lot of wasted talent. These people in slums know very well about real life in the

street and violence, but do not know about Shakespeare and his career.

Shakespeare was born in 1564 and died in 1616. Although the real dates of his

works are not exactly known, his career can be divided in four different periods: 1)

before 1594; 2) between 1594 and 1600; 3) between 1600 and 1608; and 4) after 1608.

First period: was fundamentally characterised for the experimentation. The first

plays, despite of the ones on his ripeness, had a high formality grade, and very often

were predictable and mannered. Related to style and structure it can be found numerous

references to the medieval theatre and to the first Isabellin dramatists.

Second period: was marked for a profundy study to find his individuality as a

theatral author. Some of the most important works related to English History were

written in this period: Richard II (1595) and Henry IV, V, and VI. Besides, the two

biggest tragedies point to the beggining and to the end of this period: Romeo & Juliet

(1595) very famous for his youthful romance with a tragic destiny; and Julius Caesar

(1599) a very intense tragedy about politic rivalry.

Third period: it is here were the best tragedies were written; the also called dark

comedies.

Hamlet (1601), the most universal work, is more than any of the others based

on revenge, since it tells, in a very bloodcurdling way, the mixture of glory and

meanness in human nature. Hamlet feels that she lives in a corrupt and tricky world.

This feeling is confirmed after the murder of her father and the uncontrolled sensuality

of her mother.

Othello (1604), a Moorish general of the Venecian army. This work is about

unjustified jelous in the heart of the protagonist.

Cleopatra (1606), another one of the big tragedies, is based in other kind of love,

the passion of the roman general Marc Anthony for Cleopatra, the Egypt queen. The

most sensual verses from all the shakesperean production.

This period is completed with a group of another three works which reveals the

darkness contained in this tragedies, since his characters does not have any magnitude

or tragic category.

Fourth and last period: this period takes in the pricipal romantic tragicomedies.

These works are written with a seriousness different from the periods before. This

works often have happy ends like parties and reconciliations. One of them is about a

depressed character who has lost his wife and his daughter.

The last two works were the historic drama of Henry VIII (1613) and The two

noble gentlemen (1613, but published in 1634), the story of two young gentlemen in

love with a lady, attributed to Shakespeare, is the result of his colaboration with John

Fletcher.