Stratford upon Avon (PDF) by dandanhuanghuang


Day 10                                                    Wednesday, 6 May 2009

W      illiam Shakespeare was born in
       Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564,
which is the town’s primary claim to
                                               About three million people visit
                                            Stratford-upon-Avon every year. While
                                            they are in town, many of the tourists
fame. Stratford-upon-Avon derives its       see plays performed. The town, in
name from the simple fact that it’s right   memory of Shakespeare, has several
beside the Avon River. It was a market      live theatres. The Royal Shakespeare
town during the medieval era, but           Company is based there. In addition,
during Shakespeare’s time, the area was     many visitors like to float down the river
well known for raising, shearing, and       or walk along the riverbank. Attractions
slaughtering sheep to sell, because the     include the Bancroft Gardens, Harvard
area trafficked mainly in sheep, many       House, a haunted museum (Falstaff ’s
tanners lived and worked there.             Experience), the Stratford Butterfly
   Shakespeare was born, lived and          Farm, and the Shakespeare Centre
buried in the town. His birthplace,         Library, which includes a record of the
several sites associated with the family,   RSC’s performances, along with a large
and Holy Trinity Church are still in the    repository of works about Shakespeare.
town. Many of the buildings are the            When I think of the area where
original buildings from Shakespeare’s       Shakespeare was raised, it is easy to see
time. The houses are actually furnished     why he wrote pastoral comedies, like
with some period pieces, and the            As You Like It, with comic shepherds
grounds surrounding the houses are          and sassy little country girls. In fact, I
very lovely and peaceful-looking too.       wonder how many of the characters


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            Day 10                                               Wednesday, 6 May 2009
            in his plays were based off amusing or
            admirable people who he met or grew
            up with in that rural area. I’m sure his
            small-town background is a large part
            of why Shakespeare’s plays are still so
            believable and compelling.
               One woman said of her visit to
            Stratford-upon-Avon, “It was pretty
            cool to stand in front of the fireplace
            and think ‘wow, Shakespeare stood

            here.’” Others called it “amazing” to
            “soak…up Shakespeare” and I have to
            say that I agree. The town has a great
            atmosphere too, and I’m excited to soak
            it all up! I plan to commemorate this
            town with a camera. Maybe I will write
            in my journal too.

              Thought Questions
              • How does Stratford-upon Avon
                help us understand Shakespeare’s
                work more fully?                       • How do the forms of
              • How does association with small-         entertainment in a place add to or
                town people help writers and             detract from its atmosphere?

            “The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
            Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
            And as imagination bodies forth
            The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
            Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
            A local habitation and a name.”
             -William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act V)

            “There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now,
            ‘tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now,
            yet it will come. The readiness is all.”
               -William Shakespeare, Hamlet (Act 5 Scene 2)
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