Monday, June 20, 2011
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564; died 23 April 1616)] was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
William Shakespeare was the son of John Shakespeare, a successful glover originally from Snitterfield, and Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent landowning farmer. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and baptised there on 26 April 1564. He was the third child of eight and the eldest surviving son.
Shakespeare probably was educated at the King's New School in Stratford, a free school chartered in 1553,] about a quarter-mile from his home. Grammar schools varied in quality during the Elizabethan era, but the curriculum was dictated by law throughout England,] and the school would have provided an intensive education in Latin grammar and the classics.
At the age of 18, Shakespeare married the 26-year-old Anne Hathaway and six months after the marriage Anne gave birth to a daughter, Susanna, baptised 26 May 1583. Twins, son Hamnetand daughter Judith, followed almost two years later and were baptised 2 February 1585. Hamnet died of unknown causes at the age of 11 and was buried 11 August 1596.
After the birth of the twins, Shakespeare left few historical traces until he is mentioned as part of the London theatre scene in 1592, and scholars refer to the years between 1585 and 1592 as Shakespeare's "lost years". 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.]He was well enough known in London by then to be attacked in print by the playwright Robert Greene.
Greene’s attack is the first recorded mention of Shakespeare’s career in the theatre. Biographers suggest that his career may have begun any time from the mid-1580s to just before Greene’s remarks. From 1594, Shakespeare's plays were performed only by the Lord Chamberlain's Men, a company owned by a group of players, including Shakespeare, that soon became the leading playing company in London. After the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, the company was awarded a royal patent by the new king, James I, and changed its name to the King's Men.
In 1599, a partnership of company members built their own theatre on the south bank of the Thames, which they called the Globe. In 1608, the partnership also took over the Blackfriars indoor theatre.
Some of Shakespeare's plays were published in quarto editions from 1594. By 1598, his name had become a selling point and began to appear on the title pages.
Shakespeare divided his time between London and Stratford during his career. In 1596, the year before he bought New Place as his family home in Stratford, Shakespeare was living in the parish of St. Helen's, Bishopsgate, north of the River Thames. He moved across the river to Southwark by 1599, the year his company constructed the Globe Theatre there. By 1604, he had moved north of the river again, to an area north of St Paul's Cathedral with many fine houses.
Shakespeare retired to Stratford some years before his death and probably continued to visit London. ] In 1612 he was called as a witness in a court case concerning the marriage settlement of Mountjoy's daughter, Mary In March 1613 he bought a gatehouse in the former Blackfriarspriory; and from November 1614 he was in London for several weeks with his son-in-law, John Hall.
Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616 and was survived by his wife and two daughters. Susanna had married a physician, John Hall, in 1607, and Judith had married Thomas Quiney, a vintner, two months before Shakespeare’s death.
In his will, Shakespeare left the bulk of his large estate to his elder daughter Susanna. The terms instructed that she pass it down intact to "the first son of her body". The Quineys had three children, all of whom died without marrying. The Halls had one child, Elizabeth, who married twice but died without children in 1670, ending Shakespeare’s direct line. Shakespeare's will scarcely mentions his wife, Anne, who was probably entitled to one third of his estate automatically
Shakespeare was buried in the chancel of the Holy Trinity Church two days after his death. The epitaph carved into the stone slab covering his grave includes a curse against moving his bones, which was carefully avoided during restoration of the church in 2008:
Most playwrights of the period typically collaborated with others at some point, and critics agree that Shakespeare did the same, mostly early and late in his career .
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 plays are difficult to date, however, and studies of the texts suggest that Titus Andronicus, The Comedy of Errors,The Taming of the Shrew and The Two Gentlemen of Verona may also belong to Shakespeare’s earliest period. The early plays were influenced by the works of other Elizabethan dramatists, especially Thomas Kyd and Christopher Marlowe, by the traditions of medieval drama, and by the plays of Seneca. The Comedy of Errors was also based on classical models, but no source for The Taming of the Shrew has been found, though it is related to a separate play of the same name and may have derived from a folk story Like The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
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. A Midsummer Night's Dream is a witty mixture of romance, fairy magic, and comic lowlife scenes Shakespeare's next comedy, the equally romantic Merchant of Venice, contains a portrayal of the vengeful Jewish moneylender Shylock, which reflects Elizabethan views but may appear derogatory to modern audiences The wit and wordplay of Much Ado About Nothing, the charming rural setting of As You Like It, and the lively merrymaking of Twelfth Night complete Shakespeare's sequence of great comedies. ] After the lyrical Richard II, written almost entirely in verse, Shakespeare introduced prose comedy into the histories of the late 1590s, Henry IV, parts 1 and 2, and Henry V. His characters become more complex and tender as he switches deftly between comic and serious scenes, prose and poetry, and achieves the narrative variety of his mature work. This period begins and ends with two tragedies: Romeo and Juliet, the famous romantic tragedy of sexually charged adolescence, love, and death and Julius Caesar—based on Sir Thomas North's 1579 translation of Plutarch's Parallel Lives—which introduced a new kind of drama.
In the early 17th century, Shakespeare wrote the so-called "problem plays" Measure for Measure,Troilus and Cressida, and All's Well That Ends Well and a number of his best known tragedies. ]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 "To be or not to be; that is the question". In Macbeth, the shortest and most compressed of Shakespeare's tragedies, uncontrollable ambition incites Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth, to murder the rightful king and usurp the throne, until their own guilt destroys them in turn. In this play, Shakespeare adds a supernatural element to the tragic structure. His last major tragedies, Antony and Cleopatra and Coriolanus, contain some of Shakespeare's finest poetry and were considered his most successful tragedies by the poet and critic T. S. Eliot.
In his final period, Shakespeare turned to romance or tragicomedy and completed three more major plays: Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale and The Tempest, as well as the collaboration, Pericles, Prince of Tyre. Less bleak than the tragedies, these four plays are graver in tone than the comedies of the 1590s, but they end with reconciliation and the forgiveness of potentially tragic errors. Some commentators have seen this change in mood as evidence of a more serene view of life on Shakespeare's part, but it may merely reflect the theatrical fashion of the day. Shakespeare collaborated on two further surviving plays, Henry VIII and The Two Noble Kinsmen, probably with John Fletcher
Ebenezer Scrooge is the protagonist of “ A Christmas Carol “.
Scrooge is a miserly stingy and rich businessman from London.
He is unfriendly and lonely. His only friend was Marley who died some years ago. He hates Christmas and all festivals and reproaches God for the Sunday rest.
He forces his humble clerk Cratchit to work the day before Christmas.
On the road he doesn’t answer the people who do him good wishes, including the lovely nephew Fred, son of his dead sister.
Because of his avid interest in money, he is hated by all people.
One night Scrooge dreams of Marley and meets three ghosts :
The Ghosts of the past Christmas, of the present Christmas and of the future Christmas.
He understands his mistakes, he repents and decides to change his life.
Footloose is an american musical-drama, staged in 1984, and tells the story of Ren McCormack. He’s a teenager and he loves dancing. Ren and his mother lives in Chicago, a very lively city. When his father leaves them alone, they move to a small town called Boumont and they live with his aunt and uncle. Bomont is a very religious town. Infact, the most important person is the Reverend Shaw Moore. Ren soon makes a friend, Willard, and from him he learns that Rev. Moore has prohibited dancing and rock music. He also understands that Boumont is very different from Chicago. Ren soon meets a rebellious girl, Ariel. She’s Rev.Moore’s daughter and she has a boyfriend, Chuck Cranston. Rev.Moore is very strict and ,to go out with Chuck, Ariel often lies to him. Ariel and Ren become good friends and Ariel begins to like Ren. Chuck doesn’t accept their friendship and he and Ariel have an awful row. Ren speaks to the city council. He and his classmates want to dance! Rev.Moore’s wife approves them but the Reverend tries to convince the council that dancing isn’t positive for the city. But, after thinking a lot about Ren’s idea, he approves it! Now, Ren and his friends have realized their dream: they can dance!!!
Ariel is Vi and Rev. Moore’s daughter. Rev.Moore is very strict with Ariel and he pretends an impeccable behaviour from her. But Ariel is rebellious; she’s a young girl and she wants to dance, enjoy or go out with her friends or with her boyfriend. So, she often lies to her father. After losing his son in an accident while he was returning from a dancing evening , Rev.Moore prohibited dancing inhis town. Ariel is very embarrassed for this situation. She is “the girl with a dark side” in the story because she must be the religious and obedient Rev.’s daughter, on one side, and a rebellious girl that wants to have fun, on the other side. She sees Ren as a “wild spirit” and she likes him! They become friends and share their problems: Ariel tells Ren about the difficult relation she has with her father. At the end, she helps Ren with his speech in front of the city council and they dance all together!
MY OPINION ABOUT THE MUSICAL
I think “footloose” is a fantastic musical because it is about teenager’s difficult relations. It’s a story about their problems, their emotions, their dreams. The musical is exciting and fun. Ren can rapresent every common teenager that loves dancing , has problems with his father and wants to realize his dream. I liked this story very much!!!
The young Charles John Huffman Dickens (his full name) spent the first four years of his life in different places following the family transfers , showing already in early adolescence a deep passion for reading. His favourite works ranges from Elizabethan drama to the novels of Defoe, Fielding and Smollett, the "Arabian Nights" to "Don Quixote" by Cervantes.
In 1824 his father was arrested for debt: he was sent to prison where he remained only a few months until a small inheritance through the family enabled them to pay their debts. In those dark months the twelve year old Charles will know the hard work of the laborer, the exploitation of minors (real scandal of England at the time) and the brutality of some representatives of the lower classes. Working conditions were appalling: thrown into a factory like a dirty rat-infested barracks, together with other children of the slums pasted labels on bottles of shoe polish.
These are experiences that will remain forever in the soul like a wound never healed and that will be fruitful "humus" for his inexhaustible literary invention.
Since 1825 Charles could go back to school at the Wellington Academy, Hampstead Road, but he must leave school after two years because his father could no longer afford the tuition fee.
In May he began to work as a messenger at a law firm and spend the next two years as a parliamentary reporter , until in 1829 he got the job of journalist at the Law Courts of Doctors which he shared with his cousin Thomas Charlton.
The following year, the nineteen year older Charles fell in love with the young daughter of a banker, but both for reasons of social inequality and the opposition of her parents, the engagement dissolved three years later with a break that will leave more of a signs in the mind of Charles.
He met Catherine Hogarth in 1835, married her the next year. Significant the relationship between the writer and the two sister in-laws, Mary (whose death at the age of 16 in 1837 caused Charles an infinite sorrow and severe psychological crisis) and Georgina, 12 years younger than Catherine, who later went into the family of the writer gradually replacing the older sister in the administration of the house and did not leave even when the couple obtained a legal separation, tolerating the new love and the new relationship with Ellen Ternan.
Those who read the novels of Dickens found hidden in some female characters, the same characteristics of these unusual cognate.
On January 6th 1837 the first of eight children was born, but 1837 is the year of the first great success with both the files in episodes of "Oliver Twist" that the "Pickwick Papers" (later to become the famous "Circle Pickwick "): two masterpieces that will remain forever in the history of world literature.
This is an amazing creative period for Dickens during which the writer creates his major works, culminating with the publication of the sublime "David Copperfield".
His fame eventually spread in Europe and in America. In 1842 he made a long journey in the United States, where among other things, affected the prison system.
In July 1844 arrived in Italy and settled in Genoa with the entire family until April 1845. In 1846 he visited Switzerland and France and even in these cases confirmed its special attention to the detention facilities, their organization and purpose, a sign of great social sensitivity undoubtedly matured as a result of childhood experiences.
In May 1855, his life took an abrupt change due to the meeting with Ellen Ternan, a love that will push him to leave his family and start a new life with her. Despite the still young age of Charles Dickens he was almost a national glory: he was always engaged in public readings of his work both at home and abroad .
At the end of 1867 Dickens began a new journey in America for a tour of readings in December but he was seriously ill, so as to recover . In 1869 he began to write his latest work, "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," unfortunately remained unfinished.
His physical condition was now critical.
He suffered a brain hemorrhage that led to his death the next day: it was June 9th, 1870.June 14th will be buried with honor in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey.
The novels of Dickens, but with different results, are one of the high points of the social novel of the nineteenth century a mixture of classical and journalistic prose narration with a sharp eye sensitive to social realities and needs of the reader. His descriptions of environments, situations and characters are a fresco crucial to understand the English society of the nineteenth century.