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William Shakespeare

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10. William Shakespeare The name Shakespeare is known to everybody. He is the most famous writer who ever lived. However, we don’t know much about him. All we known comes from town records. So let us remember him and offer you some facts of his life. He was born on 23 rd April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon as a son of a glove maker John Shakespeare and his wife Mary Arden. Stratford of those days was a quiet little place of some 200 houses. It was full of orchards, gardens and trees. They have given place to houses now, but still a good deal of the 16th century remains. There is the house in Henley Street, where John Shakespeare lived and worked and kept his shop, and where his children were born - eight in all, of whom two died young. Shakespeare’s birthplace is one of the biggest tourist attractions in England. There is Harvard House, the most beautiful house in Stratford, too. John Harvard, who had lived in it, founded Harvard University in the United States Shakespeare attended the local grammar school. His education has often been discussed. He never went to university or travelled abroad. After leaving school, and during the hard times of his father’s money troubles, he most likely helped his father at his trade. At the age of 18 he entangled with a young woman of 26. This girl – Anne Hathaway became pregnant and had to be married. In the later 1580s he left Stratford for London and joined a group of actors called theKing’s man. In 1599 he boughtthe Globe Theatre. He started acting and writing his own plays. He became very successful. Both the Queen Elizabeth I and James I liked him very much. He made a fortune, sent money back to Stratford so he could buy the largest house there. At the age of 50, he returned to Stratford and lived there until his death 2 years later in 1616. It is said that he died on the same day as he was born after his birthday celebration. He is buried at local Trinity Church. He wrote more than 30 plays (they were published after his death), including comedies, tragedies, history plays and beautiful sonnets. Comedies: The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Merry Wives of Windsor, Much Ado about Nothing, As You Like It, Twelfth Night… History plays: Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI, Richard III, Richard II, Julius Caesar… Tragedies: Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, Romeo and Juliet… Romeo and Juliet: Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet lived in Verona, and when they met, it was love at first sight. But the Montagues and Capulets were enemies, so Romeo and Juliet married in secret by Friar Lawrence. Shortly afterwards, Mercutio, a friend of Romeo’s, met Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt, in the street. They started arguing, and although Romeo tried to stop them, Tybalt killed Mercutio in the fight. Romeo was so upset that he attacked and killed Tybalt. He visited Juliet secretly that night but he had to leave Verona for Mantua. To avoid marrying Paris Juliet took a drug to make her sleep for 42 hours so that people would think she was dead. When she woke up, she could join Romeo in Mantua. Unfortunately, Romeo returned to Verona without getting the Friar’s letter of explanation. He found Juliet’s body and he killed himself in despair. When Juliet woke up and saw Romeo lying dead beside her, she killed herself with his dagger. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre was a circular theatre with seats in rows, as in the Roman Coliseum. In the centre of the circle was a stage. People who couldn’t afford a seat stood around the stage in an area called “ the pit”. There were no women actors, so men played the women’s parts.

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