Who is Shakespear?

William Shakespeare (1564–1616), `The Bard of Avon’, English poet and playwright wrote the famous 154 Sonnets and numerous highly successful oft quoted dramatic works including the tragedy of the Prince of Denmark, Hamlet.While Shakespeare caused much controversy, he also earned lavish praise and has profoundly impacted the world over in areas of literature, culture, art, theatre, and film and is considered one of the best English language writers ever. From the Preface of the First Folio (1623) “To the memory of my beloved, The Author, Mr. William Shakespeare: and what he hath left us”–Ben Jonson.

Over the centuries there has been much speculation surrounding various aspects of Shakespeare’s life including his religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sources for collaborations, authorship of and chronology of the plays and sonnets. Many of the dates of play performances, when they were written, adapted or revised and printed are imprecise. This biography attempts only to give an overview of his life, while leaving the more learned perspectives to the countless scholars and historians who have devoted their lives to the study and demystification of the man and his works.

England’s celebration of their patron Saint George is on 23 April, which is also the day claimed to be the birth date of Shakespeare. Although birth and death dates were not recorded in Shakespeare’s time, churches did record baptisms and burials, usually a few days after the actual event. The infant William was baptised on 26 April 1564 in the parish church Holy Trinity of Stratford upon Avon. He lived with his fairly well-to-do parents on Henley Street, the first of the four sons born to John Shakespeare (c1530-1601) and Mary Arden (c1540-1608), who also had four daughters. John Shakespeare was a local businessman and also involved in municipal affairs as Alderman and Bailiff, but a decline in his fortunes in his later years surely had an effect on William.

In his younger years Shakespeare attended the Christian Holy Trinity church, the now famous elegant limestone cross shaped cathedral on the banks of the Avon river, studying the Book of Common Prayer and the English Bible. In 1605 he became lay rector when he paid £440 towards its upkeep, hence why he is buried in the chancel. Early on Shakespeare likely attended the Elizabethan theatrical productions of travelling theatre troups, come to Stratford to entertain the local official townsmen, including the Queen’s Men, Worcester’s Men, Leicester’s Men, and Lord Strange’s Men. There is also the time when Queen Elizabeth herself visited nearby Kenilworth Castle and Shakespeare, said to have been duly impressed by the procession, recreated it in some of his later plays.

Although enrolment registers did not survive, around the age of eleven Shakespeare probably entered the grammar school of Stratford, King’s New School, where he would have studied theatre and acting, as well as Latin literature and history. When he finished school he might have apprenticed for a time with his father, but there is also mention of his being a school teacher. The next record of his life is in 1582, when still a minor at the age of eighteen and requiring his father’s consent, Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway (1556–1623) married in the village of Temple Grafton. Baptisms of three children were recorded; Susanna (1583-1649), who went on to marry noted physician John Hall, and twins Judith (1585-1662) who married Richard Quiney, and Hamnet (1585-1596) his only son and heir who died at the age of eleven.

By 1593 the plague was haunting London and many who were able fled the teeming city for the cleansing airs of open country. While it was a time for many upstart theatres, the popular public entertainment of the day, they were often shut down and forbidden to open for stretches of time. Shakespeare probably spent these dark days travelling between London, Stratford, and the provinces, which gave him time to pen many more plays and sonnets. Among the first of his known printed works is the comedic and erotically charged Ovidian narrative poem Venus and Adonis (1593). It was wildly popular, dedicated with great esteem to his patron Henry Wriothesly, third earl of Southampton, the young man that some say Shakespeare may have had more than platonic affection for. It was followed by the much darker The Rape of Lucrece in 1594, The Passionate Pilgrim in 1599 and the allegorical The Phoenix and the Turtle (1601).

At this time of prolific writing, Shakespeare began his association until his death with The Lord Chamberlain’s Men. With the accession of James I they became the King’s Men, who bought and performed most of Shakespeare’s plays. The troupe included his friend and actor Richard Burbage. They performed frequently at court, and in the theatres that Shakespeare was co-owner of including the Blackfriars, The Theatre, and The Globe in London until it burnt down during a performance of King Henry VIII. It is said that Shakespeare himself acted in a number of roles including the ghost in Hamlet and Old Adam in As You Like It. In the late 1590s he bought `New Place’ on Chapel Street in Stratford, one of his many real estate investments.

Shakespeare wrote most of his plays as `quarto texts’, that being on a sheet of paper folded four ways. A few of his plays were printed in his lifetime, though they appeared more voluminously after his death, sometimes plagiarised and often changed at the whim of the printer. First Folio would be the first collection of his dramatic works, a massive undertaking to compile thirty-six plays from the quarto texts, playbooks, transcriptions, and the memories of actors. The approximately nine hundred page manuscript took about two years to complete and was printed in 1623 as Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. It also featured on the frontispiece the famous engraved portrait of Shakespeare said to be by Martin Droeshout (1601-c1651).

Under the favour of the court The Kings’ Men became the eminent company of the day. Most likely Anne and the children lived in Stratford while Shakespeare spent his time travelling between Stratford and London, dealing with business affairs and writing and acting. In 1616 his daughter Judith married Quiney who subsequently admitted to fornication with Margaret Wheeler, and Shakespeare took steps to bequeath a sum to Judith in her own name. William Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616, according to his monument, and lies buried in the chancel of the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford upon Avon. While there is little known of her life, Anne Hathaway outlived her husband by seven years, dying in 1623 and is buried beside him. It is not clear as to how or why Shakespeare died, but in 1664 the reverend John Ward, vicar of Stratford recorded that “Shakespeare, Drayton and Ben Johnson had a merie meeting, and itt seems drank too hard, for Shakespeare died of a feavour there contracted.” His tombstone is inscribed with the following epitaph;

Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare
To digg the dust encloased heare
Blessed by y man y spares hes stones
And curst be he y moves my bones

 

 

Access students literary productions

 

Life is pink

This play was written by :

Mariam Essakili

– Asma Elouazkiti

Yassir Zaaiter

– Mohamed Elmaskini

 Characters :

– The sad boy

– The pessimist

– The optimist

– The beautiful girl

Scene One

 A sad boy standing in front of a black wall and his back to the audience. 

Pessimist : I appreciate what you are doing It  keeps problems away from you?

Sad boy : Sure it does. I feel relaxed every time I do like this.

Optimist : What do you do pessimist? You try to burry another person, don’t you murderer?

Pessimist : You again. Until when you keep ruining what I build?

Optimist : I will face your evil as long as I live to prevent you from ruining human beings.

Optimist talking to the sad boy : you should know that life is not always black. Haven’t you heard that the bank is always greener on the other side of the river?

Optimist to pessimist: get the hell out of here now. I  wish not to meet you again.

Optimist moves out of stage with the boy and a white light which weakens the pessimist.

Scene Two 

The sad boy together with the optimist in an empty bank

 Optimist: This is the best day in your life and that silly pessimist is trying to make you unhappy

Pessimist : don’t listen to him. It’s better for you to stay away of the people, the source of trouble.

Optimist : Don’t be afraid of trouble boy. God has plans for everyone of us.

Boy: how is that.?

Optimist: nothing out of God’s schedule is going to harm you. Just have faith and deal with problems ,try to solve them instead of running away from them.

Boy : yes that’s true . How comes I never thought this way before today?

Pessimist: Come on . Don’t get impressed by his words , he is nothing but a big liar.

Optimist: look in front of you rather than behind and you’ll see how many sweet things could happen to you.

The “sad” boy is happy now and sees a beautiful girl as he raises his eyes and looks ahead.

The beautiful girl: nice to meet you finally.

The boy: where have you been before today?

The girl:  I have always been around; Always near you but you couldn’t see me because your face was always against the wall , all you could see is its black coulour.

The boy: never again. Now I have learnt how to be me and not someone else.

 

 

Friendship

 

The following play is written by:
– Haja Nmirach
– Hajar Smatt
– Manar Amouss
– Sanae Immanou

Main characters :
– Vanessa ( the heroine )
– Demi ( the villain )
– Miley
– Gabriella

Vanessa is a very beautiful and lovely star whose popularity has been growing considerably along the recent years.She has got three dear friends and they live in the same house. They have the habit of singing together from time to time. Miley and Demi have an invisible feeling of envy towards Vanessa as she is cute and always receives awards.
One day, she won a very interesting prize which made Demi furious and mad of jealousy and that was the reason behind the events you are about to read.

Vanessa : Where is my new suit. I’ve made it for my next party. It’s very special.
Demi : I don’t know. Just look for it. I see that you are becoming irresponsible these days.
Vanessa : I’m just asking dear. You don’t look comfortable this morning, what’s wrong?
Miley : ask yourself.
Vanessa : What?! Have I done anything bad?
Miley : Nothing except keeping the prize for yourself and ignoring our help and efforts. By the way, you are nothing without us.
Vanessa : Me?! I’ve always been loving and proud of our relation.
Demi : Your pride doesn’t mean anything to me and you have never been helpful as you claim.
Gabriella : What’s going on here? I heard your voices from the garden.
Demi : Ask your angel.
Gabriella : What’s the matter Vanny?
Miley and Demi : Vany?! How sweet!
Vanessa : I’m really surprised. It has never crossed my mind you would envy me.
Demi : Oh! Come on. Stop playing games with us. We know how hypocrite and black hearted you are. For this, you will go down soon.
Miley : Don’t be surprised. You know yourself better than we do. You saw it coming.
Gabriella : Don’t let your jealousy break our friendship girls, please. We are nothing without each other. Prizes are cheaper than relations. You have to be wiser than this. You don’t know what she has been thinking to do for you because you are so impatient. She never thought only about herself. She told me she is going to buy a car each to satisfy every one of us.
Demi : You always sympathize with her
Miley : It would be better if you had a stronger personality.
Gabriella : Girls. Stop. We’re friends. Don’t go be evil.
Vanessa (crying) : I’m really embarrassed.
Gabriella : You’re sure that Vanny loves you. So, you needn’t complicate things anymore.
Demi : You’ve been too busy recently and hardly cared about us.
Miley : All that counted for you was your parties and not our feelings.
Vanessa : My parties were just a way to get money which we use all of us.
Demi : We miss you all the time. We are afraid of losing you.
Vanessa : I’m sure you were just freaking out. You miss me and I understand. Don’t worry, my love will never change.
Gabriella : They were only stressed. That’s why they behaved that awkward way.
Demi : and I promise not to do it again.


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