William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is sometimes considered the greatest playwright of all
time. What is it that made Shakespeare so famous? In his plays he combined the
elements that people of his time loved and that people still like today. Many
things greatly influenced the writing of Shakespeare’s plays.

William Shakespeare had a very interesting life that undoubtedly greatly
affected his plays. He was born on April 23, 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon and was
the third of eight children. Shakespeare went to grammar school and learned
Latin and literature. He went on and married a woman named Annie Hathaway on
November 27, 1582 and had three children. His first daughter was named Susanna
and was born on May 26, 1583 and then, two years later, he had twins-Hamnet and
Judith-that were born on February 2, 1585. By 1592, Shakespeare was a well-known
popular actor in the Elizabethan theatres. Without a doubt, this probably had a
great affect on him when he later on became a playwright. Shakespeare retired
completely in 1613. On April 23, 1616, three years after his retirement, and on
his fifty-second birthday, William Shakespeare died.

Shakespeare gathered ideas for some of his plays from other popular writers
of his time. Although this may not have made for one hundred percent
originality, his plays were interesting and became very popular. For The Winter’s
Tale, Shakespeare got the names for some of his characters from Sir Phillip
Sidney’s Arcadia. This was one of the most popular romances appealing to a
courtly audience. People of Shakespeare’s time enjoyed romances set in far
away lands, which was one of the reasons why people enjoyed Sir Phillip Sidney’s
Arcadia so much. Such stories like, Guy of Warwick, Bevis of Hampton, Amadis of
Gaul, Plamerin of England, and many others may have also inspired The Winter’s
Tale. Shakespeare was very smart to have taken ideas from other popular plays of
the time when writing The Winter’s Tale. Shakespeare used a very popular
technique of the time called pastoral romance. Pastoral romance is romance that
is not true to life and unreal. By using ideas from other popular plays and
using the popular writing technique of pastoral romance, Shakespeare’s The
Winter’s Tale, as many of his other plays, were sure to captivate the
audience.

Theatre in the sixteenth century was extremely different from theatre today.
For one thing, there was no curtain like there is today. This made it more
difficult to perform and sometimes playwrights had to add special scenes to
clear everyone from the stage to signify the ending of a scene or act and the
beginning of a new one. Also, the place on the main floor right in front of the
stage (called the pit but now called the orchestra) was the place where the poor
people stood to watch the show and it was the worst place to watch from.
However, in modern theatres, orchestra seats are the most expensive and the best
seats. Another big difference was that there were very few props whereas today
there are many. The kind of props one would’ve found may have included a
curtained area that could’ve been used as an inside room, etc., a balcony that
could’ve been used as a window or as the deck of a ship, and a trap door that
could\'ve provided a way for ghosts and such to come onto the stage. These may
seem like very simple and primitive things and when compared to what theatres
have today, but in Elizabethan times those simple things helped for many of the
elements in the plays. One other big difference was that there were no female
actors like there are today, therefore a woman’s part had to be played by a
young man who still had a high voice. Theatres have come a long way since the
sixteenth century and there are many more differences between the theatres of
the sixteenth century and the present day theatres.

In conclusion, many things influenced the writing of Shakespeare’s plays,
including The Winter’s Tale. Without Sir Phillip Sidney’s Arcadia and other
plays of the time, Shakespeare’s acting career and the theatres of the
sixteenth century; Shakespeare’s writing would not have been the same. William
Shakespeare is sometimes considered the greatest playwright of all time and may
not have been without the many things that influenced his writing

Category: Book Reports