Shakespeare and some of his works

Feb, 8 2016

Background Information

Shakespeare was a dramatist and a poet, he wrote at least 38 plays and over 150 short and long poems, many of which are considered to be the finest ever written in English. Shakespeare 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.

Briefing on Romeo and Juliet

Romeo is son and heir of Montague and Lady Montague. He’s a handsome man of about sixteen who falls easily in and out of love demonstrating his immaturity. At the beginning of the play he is hopelessly in love with Rosaline but immediately falls in love with Juliet at first sight. Juliet, is the daughter of Capulet and Lady Capulet. At thirteen, Juliet is beautiful and at a marriageable age. Before meeting Romeo, Juliet has thought little about love and marriage. Her parents are keen to marry her to a husband with good prospects and have the County Paris in mind for a husband – he has expressed his interest in Juliet. However, Juliet soon stumbles upon her fate when she meets Romeo and instantly falls in love with him, despite him being the son of her family’s enemy. Expressing their love for each other and none of their families understand, they'll do anything to show their love for each other even if its death.

Cycles of Shakespeare sonnets

Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, likely composed over an extended period from 1592 to 1598. The majority of the sonnets (1-126) are addressed to a young man, with whom the poet has an intense romantic relationship. The poet spends the first seventeen sonnets trying to convince the young man to marry and have children; beautiful children that will look just like their father, ensuring his immortality. Many of the remaining sonnets in the young man sequence focus on the power of poetry and pure love to defeat death and "all oblivious enmity". The final sonnets (127-154) are addressed to a promiscuous and scheming woman known to modern readers as the dark lady. Both the poet and his young man have become obsessed with the raven-haired temptress in these sonnets, and the poet's whole being is at odds with his insatiable "sickly appetite". The tone is distressing, with language of sensual feasting, uncontrollable urges, and sinful consumption

Shakespeare's sonnet 1

From fairest creatures we desire increase,

That thereby beauty's rose might never die,

But as the riper should by time decease,

His tender heir might bear his memory:

But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,

Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel,

Making a famine where abundance lies,

Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.

Thou that art now the world's fresh ornament

And only herald to the gaudy spring,

Within thine own bud buriest thy content

And, tender churl, makest waste in niggarding.

Pity the world, or else this glutton be,

To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee.

interpretation of sonnet 1

The first sonnet takes it as a given that “From fairest creatures we desire increase”—that is, that we desire beautiful creatures to multiply, in order to preserve their “beauty’s rose” for the world. That way, when the parent dies (“as the riper should by time decease”), the child might continue its beauty (“His tender heir might bear his memory”). In the second quatrain, the speaker chides the young man he loves for being too self-absorbed to think of procreation: he is “contracted” to his own “bright eyes,” and feeds his light with the fuel of his own loveliness. The speaker says that this makes the young man his own unwitting enemy, for it makes “a famine where abundance lies,” and hoards all the young man’s beauty for himself. In the third quatrain, he argues that the young man may now be beautiful—he is “the world’s fresh ornament / And only herald to the gaudy spring”—but that, in time, his beauty will fade, and he will bury his “content” within his flower’s own bud (that is, he will not pass his beauty on; it will wither with him). In the couplet, the speaker asks the young man to “pity the world” and reproduce, or else be a glutton who, like the grave, eats the beauty he owes to the whole world.

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William Shakespeare - Mini Biography