Hamlet - looking at the history of the play, the genre, Shakespeare himself and the globe theatre in which so many of Shakespeare's plays were preformed.

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Hamlet essay

        Hamlet. One of the, if not the, most famous of the plays written by William Shakespeare. In this, the first section, I will be looking at the history of the play, the genre, Shakespeare himself and the globe theatre in which so many of Shakespeare's plays were preformed.

        This play, like many other famous plays from this era, was written by William Shakespeare. Shakespeare was born in a small English town named Stratford-upon-Avon, located in Warwickshire and although the exact date of Shakespeare's birth cannot be confirmed the consensus is that Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564. He was baptized on April 26, 1564, at the Holy Trinity parish church in his hometown of Stratford. Shakespeare's parents, Mary Arden and John Shakespeare, had eight children. Shakespeare had two sisters named Joan, one born in 1558 and the other in 1569. No one knows first-born Joan’s exact date of death, but it is assumed that she died in infancy. Second-born Joan survived her famous brother by more than 30 years.  

Shakespeare probably began his education at the age of six or seven at the Stratford grammar school, which is still standing only a short distance from his house on Henley Street and is in the care of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Although we have no record of Shakespeare attending the school, due to the official position held by John Shakespeare it seems likely that he would have decided to educate young William at the school, which was under the care of Stratford's governing body. In 1582, at the age of 16, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway. When Shakespeare married Hathaway he was still a minor, while she was twenty-six and already several months pregnant. Shakespeare had three children. The first child born was Susanna, christened on May 26, 1583, and twins arrived in January 1585. They were baptized on February 2 of that year and named Hamlet and Judith. We know very little about Shakespeare's life during two major spans of time, commonly referred to as the "lost years". The lost years fall into two periods: 1578-82 and 1585-92. The first period covers the time after Shakespeare left grammar school until his marriage to Anne Hathaway in November of 1582. The second period covers the seven years of Shakespeare's life in which he must have been perfecting his dramatic skills and collecting sources for the plots of his plays. "What could such a genius accomplish in this direction during six or eight years? The histories alone must have required unending hours of labour to gather facts for the plots and counter-plots of these stories. When we think of the time he must have spent in reading about the pre-Tudor dynasties, we are at a loss to estimate what a day's work meant to him. Perhaps he was one of those singular geniuses who absorbs books. George Douglas Brown, when discussing Shakespeare, often used to say he knew how to 'pluck the guts' out of a tome” Tragically, Hamlet died on August 11, 1596, at the age of eleven. We do not know the cause of his death. Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616. The cause of Shakespeare's death is a mystery, but tradition tells us that: "Shakespeare, Drayton, and Ben Jonson had a merry meeting and it seems drank too hard, for Shakespeare died of a fever there contracted." Shakespeare is buried in the chancel of Holy Trinity Church in his hometown of Stratford, Warwickshire. His gravestone bears an epitaph which Shakespeare himself supposedly wrote. It warns:

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“Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare,
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones.”

Hamlet was first published in 1603. Due to the fact that nothing could be copywriter in this time people would not release a work until it was already fully established that it was them that had written it. Therefore although 1603 was when the first publish copy of Hamlet appeared it was likely to have been written several years before this date. In fact, Shakespeare himself is said to have played the role ...

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