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Archive for August 25th, 2011

William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) British
Dramatist and poet

The colossous who bestrode English literary scene with his immortal plays so diverse in subject, unrivalled in brilliance and depth, ironically remains still an enigma. Even its authorship has been doubted by scholars and critics who have analysed his plays – confronted with works of such grandeur can not attribute their authorship to who had such a humble beginnings.
It is true that all known facts of his life would fill only a page or two; He was born at Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire in the year 1564, probably on April 23, the son of John Shakespeare, a yeoman who later became an alderman at Startford.
William courted Anne Hathaway (1582), daughter of a substantial yeoman, who was eight years older to him. At the age of eighteen he married her. Later we hear him making a name in London as a playwright and actor. In those days and times a playwright was a mere play – provider – a man of the theatre, a master of the company, whose sole duty was to provide text. It was unheard of printing a mere playwright’s story, especially one who was not even of courtly status.
So little is known of his career in London. He appears to have been a handy man and a play provider rather than an actor at the Globe and other theatres. It was not until seven years after his death that two of his old friends and fellow actors saw to the production of the First Folio of his play. Similarly it was not until nearly a hundred years after Shakespeare’s death that his first biography appeared. We may have to rest content for want of better proof in the adage, “the life of an artist survives not in his biography but in the products of his art.”
But if his plays tell us little about himself, they reveal a mind rich in the knowledge of his fellow creatures with their greatness and their faults. He was a warm, pleasant and unassuming companion, the local boy who made good by his sharp business sense, was a boon companion as vouched by many of his contemporaries.

Anecdote:
One day Burbage who played Richard III in the Bard’s Company made a tryst for the night with a lady and the password for her chamber was Richard III. Overhearing this the Bard knocked at the lady’s door and gained admission using the password. While they were making merry the actor knocked at the door. In response the Bard sent word to Burbage that William the Conqueror was before Richard the Third.

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