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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Shakespeare's Life and Works

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in his 52 years of life William

Shakespeare transformed himself from the

son of a small-town glove maker to a

favorite playwright of Queen Elizabeth

and King James

today he is celebrated as the most

popular writer in the English language

what we know about Shakespeare's life is

limited but how his life experiences

influenced his works has been the source

of much study and speculation this video

explores some of Shakespeare's works in

the context of facts that are known

about his life

Shakespeare is born in 1564 in

stratford-upon-avon a small town in the

English countryside although there's no

record of his schooling he almost

certainly attended the local public

school where he would have studied Latin

literature and rhetoric she experienced

family er with Greek and Latin titus and

dronicus his breakthrough play borrows

plot points from the writers Seneca and

Ovid who may have made a particularly

strong impression on him at age 18

Shakespeare married 26 year-old Anne

Hathaway six months later she gave birth

to their daughter because of their age


some critics suggest Anne was the origin

of Shakespeare's particular interest in

female characters who are older and more

experienced than the usual female

romantic lead many of Shakespeare's most

complex characters are wives and mothers

in Gertrude from Hamlet and Cleopatra

from Anthony and Cleopatra

he showed deep sympathy for the

sexuality of women no longer in their

youth in other plays he explored how the

ambition of a wife like Lady Macbeth

or of a mother like Ville um Nia from

Coriolanus can shape the course of a

husbands or a child's life


we know little about Shakespeare's life

between his marriage and 1592 when he

turns up in London writing his first

plays at the time Theatre was a

disreputable pursuit actors and writers

were part of a London Underground

teeming with taverns and brothels Henry

the fourth parts 1 & 2 written between

1597 and 1598 perfectly capture the grit

and fun of this time in place so well in

fact that many believe that shakespeare

with his family in stratford must have

felt free to indulge in the seedy London

underworld between 1593 and 1595 he

wrote three comedies in which young men

go to enormous and sometimes troubling

lengths to secure the women they have

chosen as partners The Taming of the

Shrew two gentlemen of verona and Love's

Labour's Lost he also wrote the

incomparable love story Romeo and Juliet

during this period based on indications

from his sonnets and the intense male

friendships and plays like The Merchant

of Venice and Twelfth Night some

believed that Shakespeare pursued men at

this time as well while the lack of

direct evidence has done little to stem

speculation about Shakespeare partying

in 1590s London his impressive writing

output during the decade strongly

suggests that whatever else he was doing

he was also dedicated to his craft and

to achieving status and material rewards

starting in 1594 Shakespeare began to

write exclusively for a new company the

Lord Chamberlain's Men in which he was a

shareholder they quickly became London's

most popular theatre company and in 1599

they built their own theatre the globe

later in 1599 Shakespeare wrote henry v

which picks up the story of fun-loving

Prince Hal who spent Henry the fourth

parts 1 & 2 lounging in taverns but now

Hal is the king and he's beginning to

feel the weight of his responsibilities

the author of Henry v was changing as

well by this point

Shakespeare was rich and famous

and he bought a mansion in Stratford


around about $15.99 Shakespeare's

writing focus changed significantly he

shifted away from history's and comedies

and towards tragedies like Hamlet King

Lear and Macbeth no one knows why this

shift occurred but he may have been

influenced by the death of his son

Hamnett and perhaps by the death of his


particularly since grief and loss

emerges major themes in his plays

Hamlet dwells on a son's grief for his

father King Lear culminates and Lear's

ferocious half-mad anguish for his dead


Macbeth hinges on the murder of another

characters children Shakespeare

continued to write comedies as well but

they are colored by grief in Twelfth

Night a twin sister mourns her brother

measure for measure is about a woman's

attempts to save her brother's life the

tone of other comedies written after

1600 is so bleak that some question if

they are really comedies


in 1608 Shakespeare became a grandfather

this experience may have been as

affecting as the earlier loss of his son

because his writing changes again around

this time between 1608 and 1612

Shakespeare wrote to Pericles

Cymbeline The Winter's Tale and The

Tempest for plays about powerful weary

old men whose suffering and bad behavior

is redeemed by their loving daughters in

these final plays magic as possible

wonderful and unexpected things happen

to the characters who least deserve it

The Tempest is often seen as

Shakespeare's farewell to the stage and

the epilogue that ends the play Prospero

the main character turns to the audience

and renounces his magical powers he

asked forgiveness for any harm he has

done and says as you from crimes would

pardon'd be let your indulgence set me


Shakespeare retired from writing in 1613

around then he also moved back to

Stratford where he died in 1616 at the

age of 52 Shakespeare is credited

writing 37 plays including numerous

works that are revered to this day a

number of those plays seem to have

transcended even the category of

brilliance becoming so influential as to

profoundly affect the course of Western

literature and culture even after


The Description of Shakespeare's Life and Works