By Jeff Harbin
Square #2: William Shakespeare - Mini Biography
- Born April 23, 1564
- Educated at King's School in Stratford
- Didn't go to University
- Married to Anne Hathaway in 1585.
- Had a daughter and a set of twins.
- Moved to London in the late '80s.
- Writing and acting by the '90s.
- Completed 15/37 plays by 1597.
- Built the Globe Theater (largest open-air theater in London) in 1599.
- King James became the patron of Shakespeare's company in 1603, company changed name to Kingsmen.
- During early 1590's, plague closed theaters. Shakespeare resorted to writing poetry.
- Wrote 154 sonnets and several narrative poems.
- Believed to have died on April 23, 1616.
- Second-most quoted literature behind the Bible.
- Credited with adding over 3,000 words to the English language.
Square #3: So Why is Shakespeare Really So Famous?
- Over 80 different recorded spellings of his name
- Plays total 884,429 words.
- Largest category of plays was comedies, making up almost half of his plays written
- King John and Richard II are the only two of his plays written entirely in verse.
- Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing have both been translated into Klingon.
- A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It, Cymbeline, Merchant of Venice, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Twelfth Night all have people of one gender disguised as someone of the other gender.
- His longest play was Anthony and Cleopatra and his shortest play was A Midsummer Night's Dream.
- He created 1,380 characters, 1,221 of which had speaking parts.
Square #6: Hamlet Background
- First performed in 1602
- Published in printed form in 1603 and in an enlarged edition in 1604
- Takes place in Denmark in late medieval period
- Hamlet is 30, nephew of king, melancholy, bitter, cynical, hates uncle and is disgusted by mother, reflective and thoughtful but occasionally acts rashly.
- Claudius is king, uncle of Hamlet, antagonist, ambitious politician, occasionally shows signs of guilt and human emotion, married to Hamlet's mother (Gertrude).
- Gertrude is a weak, shallow woman with a higher need for affection than moral rectitude
- Lord Chamberlain is lord of Claudius' court. Pompous, old, father of Laertes and Ophelia.
- Horatio is Hamlet's friend, loyal and helpful.
- Ophelia is a young, innocent girl with whom Hamlet is infatuated, obeys her father and brother.
- Laertes spends much time in France, quick to action, foil for Hamlet.
- Fortinbras, prince of Norway, is eager to avenge his father, who was killed by Hamlet's father. Wishes to attack Denmark, is another foil for Hamlet.
Square #7: Why Shakespeare Loved Iambic Pentameter
Square #8: Chiwetel Ejiofor's Hamlet from 'Why Shakespeare'
This video shows how animated and realistic the play is when performed, rather than monotonously read from a page. I wish more people would read like that. It also made me think; we typically associate Shakespeare's works with an English accent. However, it wasn't until the late 1800's that our modern-day 'English accent' came to be. The plays would have been read more similarly to how we speak today.
Square #9: Which Shakespeare Character Are You?
Hey, I still got a character played by Leonardo DiCaprio, so I guess that's something.