William Shakespeare


Information from World Book Encyclopedia online 2004 edition. Click HERE to go to the most recent online version of this article:
Lander, Jesse M. “Shakespeare, William.” World Book Student. World Book, 2014. Web. 7 May 2014.

Tips on making your own notes:
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An example of simplifying:
– many can identify lines & passages from Shakespeare
– many of Shakespeare’s lines are well-known
– many lines famous

    Shakespeare “was an English playwright and poet. He is generally considered the greatest dramatist the world has ever known and the finest poet who has written in the English language. Shakespeare has also been the world’s most popular author. No other writer’s plays have been produced so many times or read so widely in so many countries.”

– an _____________  ___________ & ___________
– considered greatest _________________________
– considered the finest ______________ in  ______________
– has been world’s most _____________
– plays have been  _______________ more often than anyone else’s in world

    “Many reasons can be given for Shakespeare’s broad appeal. But his fame basically rests on his understanding of human nature. Shakespeare understood people as few other artists have. He could see in a specific dramatic situation the qualities that relate to all human beings. He could thus create characters that have meaning beyond the time and place of his plays. Yet his characters are not symbolic figures. They are remarkably individual human beings. They struggle just as people do in real life, sometimes successfully and sometimes with painful and tragic failure.”

 – famous:  he ________________ human nature
– saw how people have qualities that relate to all _________________
– created ___________ that relate to people all around the ________ and throughout ___________
– characters aren’t just ___________ though but  individuals who ___________  just like people do in ________life
– just like in real life, sometimes his characters are ___________ and sometimes they end in ______________

    “Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays, which have traditionally been divided into comedies, histories, and tragedies. These plays contain vivid characters of all types and from many walks of life. Kings, pickpockets, drunkards, generals, hired killers, shepherds, and philosophers all mingle in Shakespeare’s works.
    “In addition to his deep understanding of human nature, Shakespeare had knowledge in a wide variety of other subjects. These subjects include music, the law, the Bible, military science, the stage, art, politics, the sea, history, hunting, woodcraft, and sports. Yet as far as scholars know, Shakespeare had no professional experience in any field except the theater.”

– wrote ___ plays
– plays divided into ___ groups: ________, ______________ and ______________
– lots of different types of characters in his plays, including
______________ ,
______________ ,
______________ .
– he knew a lot about other subjects, too, including _________ ,
______________ ,
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_______________ ,
– his only paid job: working in the _______________

    “Shakespeare was born to what today would be called middle-class parents. His birthplace was the small market town of Stratford-upon-Avon. Shortly after he married at the age of 18, Shakespeare apparently left Stratford to seek his fortune in the theatrical world of London. Within a few years, he had become one of the city’s leading actors and playwrights. By 1612, when he seems to have partially retired to Stratford, Shakespeare had become England’s most popular playwright.
    “Shakespeare has had enormous influence on culture throughout the world. His works have helped shape the literature of all English-speaking countries and of such countries as Germany and Russia. Shakespeare also contributed greatly to the development of the English language. He freely experimented with grammar and vocabulary and so helped prevent literary English from becoming fixed and artificial.
    “Shakespeare’s influence on language has not been limited to writers and scholars. Many words and phrases from Shakespeare’s plays and poems have become part of our everyday speech. They are used by millions of people who are unaware that Shakespeare created them. For example, Shakespeare originated such familiar phrases as fair play, a foregone conclusion, catch cold, and disgraceful conduct. As far as scholars can tell, Shakespeare also invented such common words as assassination, bump, eventful, and lonely.”

– born to __________ parents
– born in town of  ________________
– got married at age __
– moved to ________ after he was _______

– soon became famous as  __________ & _________________
– retired in ________
– influenced c________ around ___________
– influenced literature in
– influenced development of _______
– we now have lots of ______ and ________ made up by Shakespeare
– he made up these words and phrases:

    “Many people can identify lines and passages as Shakespeare’s even though they have never seen or read one of his plays. Examples include “To be, or not to be,” “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears,” and “A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!””

Make up your own notes:

    “Shakespeare’s widespread influence reflects his astonishing popularity. His plays have been a vital part of the theater in the Western world since they were written more than 300 years ago. Through the years, most serious actors and actresses have considered the major roles of Shakespeare to be the supreme test of their art.
    “Shakespeare’s plays have attracted large audiences in big, sophisticated cities and in small, rural towns. His works have been performed on the frontiers of Australia and New Zealand. They were part of the cultural life of the American Colonies and provided entertainment in the mining camps of the Old West. Today, there are theaters in England, the United States, and Canada dedicated to staging some of Shakespeare’s works yearly.”

Make up your own notes:

    “Shakespeare’s plays appeal to readers as well as to theatergoers. His plays-and his poems-have been reprinted and translated countless times. Indeed, a publishing industry flourishes around Shakespeare, as critics and scholars examine every aspect of the man, his writings, and his influence. Each year, hundred of books and articles appear on Shakespearean subjects. Thousands of scholars from all over the world gather in dozens of meetings annually to discuss topics related to Shakespeare. Special libraries and library collections focus upon Shakespeare. Numerous motion pictures have been made of his plays. Composers have written operas, musical comedies, and instrumental works based on his stories and characters.
    “The world has admired and respected many great writers. But only Shakespeare has generated such varied and continuing interest-and such constant affection.”

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