O Blog “We Love the Beatles Forever” presta uma homenagem ao maior escritor e dramaturgo inglês, William Shakespeare!
Shakespeare nasceu em 23 de abril de 1564 e morreu no mesmo 23 de abril de 1616, aos 52 anos.
Trabalhava como empregado, cuidando de cavalos, quando iniciou no teatro como ator. Em cinco anos ele ficou rico!
Consta que aos 18 anos casou-se com Anne Hathaway, que lhe concedeu três filhos: Susanna, e os gêmeos Hamnet e Judith mas teve um filho que morreu com 12 anos de idade…
As peças que escrevia eram para o Rei, que na época era James, sucessor da Rainha Elizabeth em 1603.
Morreu em Stratford aos 52 anos, em 1616 e foi enterrado no coro de uma igreja, e em sua lapide estão esses versos, talvez de sua própria autoria:
“Good friend, for Jesus`sake forbear
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blesses be the man that spares these stones
And cursed be he that moves my bones.”
“Bom amigo, eu te rogo
Para enterrar o pó guardado aqui.
Bendito será o homem que preservar estas pedras
E amaldiçoado será aquele que mover os meus ossos.”
William Shakespeare was Born at Stratford-on-Avon on 23rd April 1564. He was the third child, and eldest son of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden. His father was one of the most prosperous men in Stratford, and held several municipal offices including those of alderman and major.
Although most of the records are lost it is certain that Shakespeare studied at the local Grammar School where the masters held Oxford degrees. The Elizabethan curriculum excluded mathematics and the natural sciences but taught a good deal of Latin rhetoric, logic and literature, Greed, History and the Bible.
In December 1582, Shakespeare married Ann Hathaway, daughter of a farmer and eight years his senior. Their first child, Suzanna, was born six months later and in 1585 twins, Hamlet and Judith, were born.
Little is known of Shakespeare`s early married life, or of when and why he went to London. Although in 1593 and 1594 he published two narrative poems dedicated to the Earl of Southampton, “Venus and Adonis” and “The Rape of Lucrece”, and probably wrote most of this 154 sonnets in the middle nineties, Shakespeare`s literary activity seems to have been almost entirely devoted to the theatre.
There was little playing in 1593, for the theatres were closed during a severe outbreak of the plague; but in the autumn of 1594, when the plague ceased, the playing companies were reorganized, and Shakespeare became not only an actor but a sharer in the Lord Chamberlain`s Company, later known as the “King`s Men” who went to play in the Theatre in Shoreditch. During these months Marlowe and Kyd died and for a time Shakespeare was without a rival as a playwright. Although the actual dates of composition are uncertain it is probable that he had already written the three parts of “Henry VI”, “Richard III”, “Titus Andronicus”, “Two Gentlemen of Verona”, “Love`s Labour`s Lost”, “The Comedy of Errors”, and the “The Taming of the Shrew”. Soon afterwards he wrote the first of his greater plays – “Romeo and Juliet” – and he followed this success is the next three years with “A Midsummer Night`s Dream”, “Richard II”, and “The Merchant of Venice”. The two parts of “Henry IV”, introducing Falstaff, the most popular of all his comic characters, were written in 1597-8.
The Company left the Theatre in 1597 owing to disputes over the lease. A new playhouse called the Globe was erected on the South bank of the River Thames. The expenses of the new building were shared by the chief members of the company, including Shakespeare, who by now was a man of some means. In 1596 he had bought New Place, a large house in the centre of Stratford, and through his father had purchased a coat-of-arms from the Heralds, which was the official recognition that he and his family were gentlefolk. His wife and children lived at New Place in Statford while Shakespeare continued in London. His son died in the summer of 1595.
By the summer of 1598 Shakespeare was recognized as the greatest of English dramatists. In the book “Paladis Tamia”, an anthology of English Literature written at that time by Francis Meres, many playwrights are mentioned but Shakespeare`s name occurs more often than any other, and Shakespeare is the writer whose plays are listed.
After the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, her successor, King James took over the Lord Chamberlain`s Company and promoted them to be his own servants, so henceforward they were known as the King`s Men. They acted very frequently at Court, and prospered accordingly. In the early years of the reign Shakespeare wrote the more somber comedies, “All`well that ends well”, and “Measure for Measure”, which were followed by “Othello”, “Macbeth”, and “King Lear”. Then he returned to the Roman themes with “Anthony and Cleopatra” and “Coriolanus”.
Since 1601 Shakespeare had been writing less, and there were now a number of rival dramatists who were introducing new styles of drama, particularly Ben Jonson.
In 1608 the King`s Men acquired a second playhouse, an indoor private theatre in Black friars. Shakespeare seems to have retired from the stage at about this time: his name does not appear in the various lists of actors after 1607. He now lived most of his time at Stratford, where he was regarded as one of the most important citizens. In these last years he wrote four tragic-comedies – a play with tragic incidents but a happy ending – “Pericles”, “Cymbeline”, “The Winter`s Tale” and “The Tempest”, making a total of 37 plays written in 25 years.
Shakespeare died at Stratford on his fifty-second birthday in 1616, and was buried in the chancel of the church. Over the grave are the lines (perhaps by Shakespeare himself), that have kept his bones undisturbed in the crowded burial ground whre old bones were often dislodged to make way for new:
Good friend, for Jesus` sake forbear
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spared these stones
And cursed be he that moves my bones.
Shakespeare`s first plays were anonymous, and it is probable that he began his life as a dramatist by improving the works of other writers. The three plays which tell the story of Henry VI may be examples of this.
“Romeo and Juliet” is the first of Shakespeare`s great tragedies. The plot of this story of tragic love was known all over Europe. The deaths of Romeo and Juliet are necessary: their families are enemies and death is the only way out of their hopeless situation.
The tragedy is deeply moving and sad but without the violence of his later tragedies. From the first the play was popular. It was written at a time when the bried vogue for sonnet-writng was at its height, and it fitted perfectly with the general mood of those poets who were exploring and expressing the sensations of love during the early 1590`s.
In “The Merchant of Venice” Antonio, the Merchant, borrows money from Shylock, a Jewish money-lender, to help his friend Bassanio, who wants to marry the rich and beautiful Portia. Shylock hates Antonio and only agreed to lend the money on condition that, if it is not repaid at the right time, Antonio shall pay with a pound of flesh taken from any parte of Antonio`s body that Shylock choses. When Antonio`s ships are wrecked and to everyone`s surprise he cannot pay the money, Shylock demands his pound of flesh. The case is taken to court and Antonio has no hope. Then suddenly Portia, dressed as a lawyer, appears in court. At first she tries to persuade Shylock to have mercy, but she does not succeed, even with the famous speech about mercy:
“It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath; it is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives nd him that takes.
`T is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown.”
Then Portia herself becomes hard: Shylock may have his pound of flesh – but not one drop of blood; there is nothing about blood in the agreement. As Shylock cannot take the flesh without spilling some blood, Antonio is saved.
From the day of it original production “The Merchant of Venice” has been one of Shakespeare`s most popular plays. The reason for this popularity is found in the quality of the poetry, the clarity of the characterization, and the romantic elements. Shakespeare is dealing with Love and Hate, and Love comes out supreme in the person of Portia, one of the most attractive of Shakespeare`s heroines.
The historical play “Julius Caesar” is probably one of the easiest to understand. The action is clear: the rise from the introduction to the climax, the killing of Caesar, in Act III, and the dradual fall to the tragic end of the play with the death of the conspirators. The hero is Brutus, who joins Cassius and the other conspirators to kill Caesar, because they believe he wants to make himself king. Before a large crowd of Roman citizens Antony makes his great speech over the body of Caesar beginning:
“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.”
On seeing the body of his enemy, Brutus, at the end of the play, Antonio says:
“This was the noblest Roman of them all
All the conspirators, save only he,
Did that they did in envy of great Caesar.”
In this play and in “Antony and Cleopatra” and “Coriolanus”, the fatal weakness of character, and the tragic course of evetns, which together led a great man to ruin, are clear enough. Brutus is not a practical man. He loves Rome more than he loves his friend Ceasar; but he is thrown into a situation whre he must deal with practical life and war. He makes several bad mistakes. For example, he allows Antony to speak to the people after himself; and the crowd remembers Antony`s speech better because it is later. A practical man would speak last to an uneducated crowd. He uses reasons to show the people that the murder was necessary. Antony more wisely stirs up their feelings.
In “Hamlet”, the prince of that name suspects that his dead father, king of Denamark, has been murdered by his uncle, Claudius, who has since become king and has married Hamlet`s mother. The ghost of his father appears to him on the battlements of the castle and tells him about the murder. Hamlet must find proof of the murder. In the crisis in Act III Hamlet has his proof when his uncle gives himself away as a troup pf actors act the murder as Hamlet imagines it. But still Hamlet hesitates and this is his undoing. The play still holds our attention and our sympathy is with Hamlet, but the end is certain and unavoidable. The Queen dies after drinking poisoned wine that the king intended for Hamlet. Seeing this Hamlet stabs the king even as he himself is dying from a wound caused by a poisoned sword used by his opponent in a duel.
Hamlet`s tragic weakness is hesitation, inability to act when action is needed. He is too much of a thinker.
In “Macbeth”, the hero, Macbeth, must be considered together with his wife, Lady Macbeth. Returning victorious from a battle he meets three old witches who tell him that he will receive high honours and then become king. The honours come almost immediately, and he decides to help fate to make him king. Together with his wife he plans to murder king Duncan when he stays in their castle. When he fears failure his wife urges him on. Macbeth becomes king, but feels unsafe until Banquo, his friend and truly noble soldier, is dead and can no longer influence the people against their new ruler. He brings about the murder of Banquo using hired assassins. This means that Macbeth is safe for the moment; he is king as the witches prophesied.
After this climax the forces ranged against him become more powerful as the people suspect foul play. His subjects are appalled at the cruel murder of Lady Macduff and her children, after Macduff has joined forces with Duncan`s sons against Macbeth. Lady Macbeth becomes mad and kills herself because of the deeds she had taken part in. Duncans sons bring an army against Macbeth and he is killed in a fight with Macduff, and Malcolm, the rightful heir of Duncan is declared king in his place.
“Twelfth Night” has been called the perfection of English comedy. The whole play is alive with humour and…
(… to be continued in the pictures below…)