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• He was born on 23rd
  April 1564 in
• He went to Stratford
  Grammar School
  where he received a
  good education, but
  he did not go to
There’s a legend about
Shakespeare’s life. He
had to leave Stratford
because he was
caught stealing a deer.
He went to London
where his career with
theatre really began.
Maybe he was an actor
before becoming a
playwright. He joined
the Lord Chamberlain’s
Men (a company of
actors) who often
played before Queen
Elizabeth I
Shakespeare was greatly appreciated and
popular as a writer.
He became a shareholder in the Globe
In 1597 he bought
New Place
the finest house in
where he retired in
1611 and
 where he died in

Shakespeare earliest works were long
poems and sonnets.
His plays were collected by two friends of
his, John Hennings and Henry Condell,
and were published in a single book, now
known as the “First Folio”, in 1623
• They can be grouped into:

• Histories ( Henry VI – Richard III – Julius
  Ceasar, etc)
• Comedies / Romances ( The Comedy of
  Errors – The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – The
  Merchant of Venice, etc)
• Tragedies ( Romeo and Juliet – Hamlet –
  Othello –Macbeth, etc)
         General features of a
          Shakespearan play
• Characters
Shakespeare’s characters belong to
  different social classes: there is always a
  man of royal or aristocratic blood, nurses,
  servants, etc.
The emphasis, however, is on aristocracy.
• Another important feature is the
  importance of family ties:

            Father and children
            Mother and children
            Brothers and sisters

These relationships often suggest conflict
 between the older and younger
• Finally there are symmetrical

Three lords and three ladies
Two lovers, two princes, two brothers
• Stage directions
They were added by editors, especially in
  18th century.
Actually it is the text that provides
  information about the atmosphere of a
  scene, about the way in which the
  characters enter and leave the scene.
These directions are often given indirectly,so
  Shakespeare asks for the active co-
  operation of the reader in making the play
  come alive in his/her imagination
• Structure
Shakespeare didn’t give importance to the
  division between the acts; sometimes the
  division was imposed later.
In the Elizabethan theatre there was no
  curtain fall between the acts and the play
  were performed without any interval
• Soliloquies, asides, introductory passages
  spoken by prologue or chorus, funeral
  orations and death-bed speeches were
  some of the conventions used by
• Variety of style

Shakespeare used different levels of speech
 and action to portray his characters from
 different angles. His language is
 characterised by a wide variety of
 rethorical figures: similes, metaphors,
 puns, assonance, alliterations.

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