'I think therefore I am.'  Descartes            'I AM THAT I AM.'  Exodus.3.        'I am what I am.'  La Cage aux Folles

01 June 2011

William Shakespeare

The greatest of them all . As has been said there has been no greater writer, nor is there likely to be one greater in the future. For 400 years his plays have become the metaphors of life, integrated themselves into everyday language, inspired stories and reflected the psychology of us all. Often though, you do hear the academic question 'Who wrote Shakespeare's plays?" People suggest that some were written by two other great personalities in that time, playwright Christopher Marlowe and Philosopher etc. Francis Bacon (strangely enough, both also gay). They are two contenders, but from this distance does it make much difference to the average audience or reader who is inspired by these works. We know so little about William Shakespeare the man that it is hardly relevant. Similar arguments have raged about one of the other greatest writers of our history, Homer. This was beautifully summed up by Aldous Huxley when he said "The author of the Iliad is either Homer or, if not Homer, somebody else of the same name." He began in the Elizabethan era but under the patronage of James the 1st he became somewhat freed from political restrictions and produced even stronger works. It is surprising to me to know that in those times the pupulation of London was a mere 200,000 and at least 10,000 people went to the theatre every day.
  William Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays!
All's Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Henry VIII
Henry V
Henry IV, Parts I and II
Henry VI, Parts I, II, and III
Julius Caesar
King John
King Lear
Love's Labor's Lost
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Richard II
Richard III
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter's Tale
The boys of Nearly Naked Theatre do Shakespeare's R&J.  Great!

Henry Wriothesley, 3rd. Earl of Southampton.
Patron and possible lover of William Shakespeare. In male and female clothing.
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.
Lord of my love, to whom in vassalage
Thy merit hath my duty strongly knit,
To thee I send this written embassage,
To witness duty, not to show my wit:
Duty so great, which wit so poor as mine
May make seem bare, in wanting words to show it,
But that I hope some good conceit of thine
In thy soul's thought, all naked, will bestow it;
Till whatsoever star that guides my moving
Points on me graciously with fair aspect
And puts apparel on my tatter'd loving,
To show me worthy of thy sweet respect:
Then may I dare to boast how I do love thee;

Till then not show my head where thou mayst prove me

David Tennant-Sonnet 18 'Shall I compare thee to a summer's day' from Touch Press 
Young William Shakespeare was born in the home above.
Family home of  Anne Hathaway where she was wooed by the teenage Will, eight years her junior.
1556 - Anne Hathaway is born.
1564 - William Shakespeare is born 23rd. April  in Stratford-On-Avon

1582 - Married Anne Hathaway on November 27.
1583 - Susanna Shakespeare is born.

1585 - The twins Judith and Hamnet Shakespeare are born.

1592 - Moves to London and recognized as a successful actor, and a leading poet.
1593 - He dedicated the  poem Venus and Adonis to Henry Wriothesley 3rd. Earl of Southampton. (1573 - 1603) who was 19 at the  time.  He was Shakespeare's patron and possible lover.
1596 - Hamnet dies at the age of 11. College of Heralds grants his father a coat of arms.
1597 - He bought a large house called "The Great House of New Place".

1599 - The 'Globe Theatre' is built from the pieces of 'The Theatre' in July.

1613 - The 'Globe Theatre' burns down, is rebuilt, and Shakespeare retires.

1616 - April 23, in Stratford, on his 52nd birthday Shakespeare dies.
Shakespeare's Grave before the alter in the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon and his memorial (centre) in Poet's Corner in 
Westminster Abbey. In his youth he attended services at The Holy Trinity Church and in 1605 he became a lay rector by contributing to its upkeep, which is why he is buried in he church.
At school it was difficult for me to understand and appreciate the language and its beauty in the amateur performances we were dragged to. The magic became clear with exposure to the many great performances both on stage and on film that I have since seen over the years. Unfortunately I prefer to see and hear the interpretations of others, as I still find difficulty in my own untalented reading of the words of the Bard. Now I own 45 DVD's which are of his plays, his sonnets, his life or related to his works.
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