How to Write a William Shakespeare Biography
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An Outline of a Biographical Research Paper On William Shakespeare and his plays
- Introduction- briefly describe the years in which Shakespeare lived, his techniques for tragedy, and introductions to his works MacBeth, Romeo and Juliet, and Othello.
- A short description of his life and how his life influenced his work, in particular- how his life influenced the writing of tragedy.
- Discuss the techniques of his tragedies, paying particular attention to their Aristotelian principles. In addition, discuss the dramatic fascination with evil and how that applies to Shakespeare.
- Finally, introduce patterns in Shakespearean Tragedy, such as the use of delusions.
- Apply the discussion from part three to MacBeth, Romeo and Juliet and Othello, hitting specifically on the evils that lurk within both and the function of delusions as they operate within the protagonist of each play.
- Conclusion - Tie together facts from Shakespeare’s life to part four, the discussion of the two plays.
Life of William Shakespeare
This is a suggested outline for a research paper on William Shakespeare. You can order a Shakespeare research paper using this outline or you can submit your own criteria. It doesn't matter to us since every project is custom written!
William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564 in Stratford-on-Avon. He was the most documented Elizabethean playwright who was recognized in his own lifetime. After retiring and making his will out on March 25, 1616, Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616. There was nothing recorded of the cause of his death.
John Shakespeare, William's father, was a glover and a whittawer. He was a highly successful and respected man of high status. His father held many public official positions: mayor, town council man, and justice of peace. Shakespeare's father was not able to write. In 1576, John's business went down. He stopped attending meetings and social events. Shakespeare was twelve at this point in time.
Shakespeare's mother was Mary Arden. She came from a wealthy family who paid a handsome dowry to marry her off. While living on Henly Street, she bore eight children with the Shakespeare name.
Shakespeare went to Stratford Grammar School where he studied classics written in Greek and Latin. His teachers gave him the incentive to read. Two Oxford graduates, Simon Hunt and Thomas Jenkins taught him. Shakespeare had an unusual keen observation of both nature and mankind. His education was said to have ended here.
On November 27, 1582, Shakespeare married Ann Hathaway who was twenty-eight years old. On May 26, 1583, Ann bore their first daughter, Susanna. In 1585, a set of twins were born, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet died at the age of eleven in 1596. No evidence was found of Shakespeare between the years of 1585-1592. These years of Shakespeare's life were called "The Hidden Years".
During Shakespeare's Hidden Years, many people suspected that he ran away from the law or became a butcher's apprentice. Christopher Beston, called "The Chronicle of the Stage", was also a prominent theatrical manager. Beston told John Aubry, who wrote "Brief Lies", that Shakespeare was probably a schoolteacher during these years. No evidence was found of Shakespeare's where-abouts until 1592 in London.
In London, Shakespeare established himself as an actor who began to write many plays. In 1593, he found a patron, Henry Wriothsley, to sponsor him. During this time, he wrote two long poems. His first long poem, "Venus and Adonius", was written in 1593. In 1594, he wrote his second long poem, "Rape of Lucrece". The theaters opened back up after the plague during this year also.
Shakespeare worked for "Lord Chamberlain's Men" company who later became "The King's Men" in 1603 after King James I took over. This company became the largest and most famous acting company because Shakespeare performed and worked for them. This company usually performed his plays. All 154 of his sonnets were published in 1609. At this time, Richard Burbage was considered the greatest actor. James Burbage, Richard's father, was the first to build a theater in London called "The Theater" in 1576. In 1599, "The Globe" was built in a circular shape. The plays in this theater usually lasted for three days. The first day, expenses were paid, the second day, the actors were paid, and the third day, the playwright was paid. Other theaters to follow were the following: "The Curtain", "The Rose", "The Swan", "The Fortune", "The Red Bull", and "The Hope".
As an actor, writer, director, and a stockholder in "The King's Men" company, Shakespeare had multiple sources of income. He was becoming a very wealthy man. In 1597, Shakespeare bought New Place which was a very large house for his family to live in.
Shakespeare left London in 1611 and retired. On March 25, 1616, Shakespeare made a will. He died April 23, 1616 at the age of fifty-two. The cause of his death was unknown. Many people believe that Shakespeare knew he was dying; however, he didn't want anyone to know that he was. At Shakespeare's time, after the graveyard was full, they would dig one's corpse up and burn the person's bones in a huge fireplace. Some people would strip the corpse after the burial. Shakespeare hated this type of treatment after death, so he wrote his own epitaph.
"Good Friends, for Jesus' sake forbear,
To dig the bones enclosed here!
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
And curst be he that moves my bones."
Due to the fact that the people at this time were superstitious, no one ever bothered his corpse. A while ago, a few people wanted to dig him up and check his bones to be sure that the person buried there was Shakespeare. However, the government would not allow it.
Four Stages of William Shakespeare's Work
His works fall into 4 stages. The first period has its roots in Roman and medieval drama--the construction of the plays, while good, is obvious and shows the author's hand morose than the later works. The earliest Shakespeare also owes a debt to Christopher Marlowe, whose writing probably gave much inspiration at the onset of the Bard's career.
The second period showed more growth in style, and the construction becoming less labored. The histories of this period are Shakespeare's best, portraying the lives of kings and royalty in most human terms. He also begins the interweaving, in these histories, of comedy and tragedy, which would become one of his stylistic signatures. His comedies mature in this period as well, portraying more characterization in their subjects than previously.
The third period marks the great tragedies, and the principal works, which would earn the Bard his fame in later centuries. His tragic figures rival those of Sophocles, and might well have walked off the Greek stage straight onto the Elizabethan. Shakespeare is at his best in these tragedies. The comedies of this period, however, show Shakespeare at a literary crossroads--moody and without the clear comic resolution of previous comedies. Hence, the term "problem plays" to describe them.
The fourth period encompasses romantic tragicomedy. Shakespeare at the end of his career seemed preoccupied with themes of redemption. The writing is more serious yet more lyrical, and the plays show Shakespeare at his most symbolic. It is argued between scholars whether this period owed more to Shakespeare's maturity as a playwright or merely signified a changing trend in Elizabethan theatre at the time.
Many books and articles have been written arguing that someone other than William Shakespeare, the glover's son from Stratford-upon-Avon, wrote the plays and poems published under his name. There exist sincere and intelligent people who believe there is strong evidence that Edward de Vere, Seventeenth Earl of Oxford, was the author of these plays and poems. Yet professional Shakespeare scholars -- those whose job it is to study, write, and teach about Shakespeare -- are unanimous in finding Oxfordian claims to be groundless.
In his time, Shakespeare was the most popular playwright of London. As centuries have passed, his genius eclipses all others of his age; Kyd, Greene, Marlowe, Johnson, Dekker, Heywood--none approach the craft or the humanity of character that marks the Bard's work. He took the art of dramatic verse and honed it to perfection. He created the most vivid characters of the Elizabethan--or any other--stage. His usage of language, both lofty and low, shows a remarkable wit and subtlety. Most importantly, his themes are so universal that they transcend generations to stir the imaginations of audiences everywhere to this day.