The Life and Times of Billy Shakes

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Who WAS Shakespeare?

Shakespeare was a very, very famous historical figure, playwright, actor, landowner and all around swell guy. Baptised on April 26, 1564, he was raised in Warwickshire, England. At age 18 he married Anne Hathaway, and with her had three kids. At age 21, he became and actor, and started, in his free time, to write plays. He, over the course of his life, wrote dozens of plays, at least 20 of which have yet to be found. He died only a month after signing his will, on April 23, 1616, at age 52. He died a rich man, leaving most of his fortune to his eldest daughter Susanna.

Shakespeare's Relevancy in the Modern Day

William Shakespeare's works are still read in the present day. This is because his writing has the ability to endure the centuries, for various reasons. The primary reason, one could assume, is that they discuss themes and morals that, no matter who you are or when you live, you can identify with.

That's also why we still study Shakespeare in school. On top of simply being a phenomenal writer, he understood the human condition enough to have his work resonate with people hundreds of years later. If anything, it'd be a crime to not read his plays and sonnets and whatnot.

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Hamlet: Plot

Hamlet is the story of Hamlet, a young prince whose father the king was recently murdered by Hamlet's uncle, Claudius. Claudius, after murdering the king, proceeded to marry his widow, Gertrude, and become Hamlet's step dad. On top of that, Hamlet's seen and heard mysterious things, such as the ghost of his recently deceased dad, who orders him to avenge his death however he can. Hamlet from then on struggles with revenge, his own growing madness, his crippling suicidal depression, and more. Along the way a lot of terrible things happen, including murder plots, war with foreign powers, possible suicides, amd many many character deaths. The play explores many themes, the most pertinent one being if revenge is actually worth it, if its cost is greater than its actual reward.

Hamlet: Characters

  • Hamlet is the main character of the play.
  • The ghost, the spirit of Hamlet's father who wants his son to get revenge.
  • Claudius is Hamlet's step-dad/uncle, Gertrude's new husband and the new king.
  • Gertrude is Hamlet's mother, the king's widow and Claudius' new wife.
  • Ophelia is Hamlet's love.
  • Horatio is the friend of Hamlet.
  • Polonius is the king's advisor and Ophelia's dad.
  • Laertes is the other child of Polonius, who hates Hamlet.
  • Rosencratz is a servant of Claudius, probably bald.
  • Guildenstern is also a servant of Claudius, and is notable stockier.