W. Shakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon to a family of a successful glover and an alderman. He got a good classical education at a local school and started writing his own plays somewhere in the 1590s.
Shakespeare’s popularity grew in 1597–1598 after his 5 novels had been published. He became one of the shareholders of a new theatre, called ‘The Globe’, that was soon built in London.
All his life Shakespeare was an eager learner – he strived for education. He learnt Italian and French. He studied History, the Humanities, the Arts etc. He spent most of the time in London, but finally came back to his homeland in 1612, when he fell ill. During his lifetime Shakespeare created two plays at the average annually. It’s significant, that he was born and died on the same day – the 23rd of April.
The best known works are: The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, King Lear. Special attention should be paid to his sonnets, they are very melodious and harmonious. Shakespeare described foreign countries in his plays, though he never visited them. It’s a testimony to his profound education. Some people believe that real Shakespeare didn’t exist. His literary heritage is a combination of works of different writers.
Leo Tolstoy didn’t estimate Shakespeare’s works. Moreover he criticized the writer. He wrote, that he had expected something of those works, but having read them, he felt disgust and nothing more. ‘Worship of Shakespeare is implanted in people at the moment they are born’, – wrote Tolstoy. He probably was right in some way. People should not create ‘idols’ no matter how ‘majestic’ they are.
Shakespeare influenced greatly the Russian Literature of the 19th century. We use the proper names of his characters as symbols of different types of behaviour. Voltaire once called Shakespeare ‘a barbarian of genius’ for mixing tragedy and comedy, who knew nothing about the laws of art.
At present Shakespeare is not an easy writer to read in the original. You should find an approach to his creative work. Any educated person should read Shakespeare to form an opinion about the writer. No matter what people think, whether they like him or not, Shakespeare remains one of the most important figures in world’s literature and culture. New discoveries are made and new works are found. They are studied widely all over the world. And it’s not at all accidental.
Take a book of Shakespeare’s sonnets to start with, read some of them, think it over and feel the taste of the poetic lines…
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