William Shakespeare

He lived and worked in the 16th century, in the period of the Renaissance. It was the time, when people began to believe in their own reason and senses, when great works were admired. The Renaissance humanists played a great role in the development of mankind when they acknowledged man as the centre of universe. England offered a very favourable soil for the Renaissance way of thinking. In this time the Tudor monarchs were ruling the country and it was a period of stability and prosperity.

His life: he is considered to be of all dramatics all around the world. He was born on 23rd April in Stratford-upon-Avon. He was the son of a glove marker and his wife. He was their youngest son. He attended the local grammar school. In 1582 he married Anne Hathaway from in nearby village Shottery. She was 8 years older than William and they had two daughters - Susan and Judith. Judith had a twin Hamnet but he died at the age of 11. A little of Shakespeare’s life is know until 1592 when he came to London. He joined a group know as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, which became the King’s Men under the patronage of James I. In 1599 he bought the Globe theatre. First he helped adapt or re-write old plays and later he started to write his own plays. He was very successful. Both the Queen Elizabeth I. and James I. very liked him. His plays were first published in 1623. After acting, writing and after his son”s death he came back to Stratford and he lived a quiet life with his family. He died on the same day as he was born( on 23rd April). The legend says that he died after a louder and noisier birthday celebration. He is buried at local Trinity Church.

His works:
Shakespeare wrote 37 beautiful sonnets and plays He wrote comedies, history plays and tragedies.
Comedies: As You Like It, Much Ado about Nothing, Twelfth Night, The Comedy of Errors, The Two Gentlemen of Verona and A Midsummer-Night”s Dream
Tragedies: Juliet and Romeo, Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello and King Lear
History plays: Henry IV., Henry V., Henry VI., Richard II., Richard III. and Julius Caesar

Romeo and Juliet is about the unhappy love and death of Romeo and Juliet, the only children of two powerful houses of Verona-the House of Montague and the House of Capulet. These two houses hate each other. Romeo Montague meets Juliet at the ball and he falls in love with her although he knows that she is Capulet. Juliet loves him too. Friar Laurence to marry them. Their love must be secret. Romeo kills Tybalt who is Juliet”s cousin. Prince of Verona sends Romeo to the exile outside Verona and Juliet is forced to get married a young nobleman called Paris. She asks Friar Laurence for help again and he gives her a magic drops after which she falls asleep for several hours and she looks as if she was dead. Romeo learns about Juliet”s death and he hurries to the Capulet”s Monument in a churchyard. He doesn”t know about a trick and he kills himself. Soon after that Juliet wakes up and when she sees Romeo dead, she kills herself. Both Montague and Capulet Houses reconciliate only after the death of their beloved children.

King Lear is a tragedy of loyalty and treason. King Lear banishes his youngest daughter Cordelia who, being asked how much she loves her father, she doesn”t speak to him with insincere affection like her sisters and she says that she loves him according to her duty. King Lear is also banished by his two daughters between who he has divided his kingdom. He is left in a cruel storm and he loses his wits. Cordelia comes to help him but she is imprisoned and hanged. King Lear also dies of grief. The tragedy illustrates the completely chaos which prevails in a state not properly governed by a weak ruler.

His quotations: To be, or not to be – that is question
There is something rotten in state of Denmark
All the world is a stage and all women and men only players.

Inspiration for Czech Artist:
Shakespeare”s heroes,m oral questions and human sufferings inspired many artists of the periods after him: e.g. Guiseppe Verdi, L.v. Beethoven
Many artist from our country were inspired as well. Shakespeare”s plays were translated for the first time in 1786. Neruda and Hálek pushed his plays on a Czech stage. Among further translators belong: Žantovský and Hilský.
Lots of painters, poets and other artist here draw from Shakespeare”s motives: Karel Purkyně, Werich and Voskovec, Jiří Trnka and Janeček.

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