Notes On Shakespeare (1)

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In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Notes On Shakespeare  (1)


By: Abdal-Rahman Muhammad Abdal-Majed.

Part One: The Age of Shakespeare

Social and Literary Background (1558 - 1625).

      Europe in the sixteenth century was dominated by kings. Culture was moulded by the Church of Rome. In England Elizabeth managed to part politics (state) from religion (church). Literature was centred on Crown.

      In that time, a gentleman of any ambition needed some accomplishment in language and Literature. Such a culture was reflected in the Roman and Mediterranean settings of the drama. That is to say, the age was characterized by the vitality of language- the persistence of popular customs of speech and thought and entertainment rooted in the communal life of medieval towns and villages. In fact, language was addressed to a mixed public, more trained in listening than in reading, and more accustomed to group life than to privacy. Although the Elizabethan writing lacks the intimate conversation and psychology of the modern novel, it is all the more supreme in expressing sensation and the outward demonstrative aspects of feeling. It tends continually towards eloquence. These factors explain why the drama was the chief form of Elizabethan art. 

Part Two: Shakespeare's Life and Works

(1564 - 1616)

      William Shakespeare was born at Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, on the 23rd of April in 1564, and died on the same date in 1616. He went to Stratford Grammar School where he received a free education because of his father's position in the town.

      Shakespeare started his professional life as a schoolmaster in the country, but soon he moved to London as an actor and playwright. In 1603, he was the principal dramatist in the famous company of actors known as The King Men

      His plays include tragedies and comedies. Among these famous tragedies we can read the following: Romeo and Juliet (1595), Othello (1604), King Lear (1606), and Macbeth (1606).

      As for his comedies, we find: Much Ado About Nothing (1598), As You Like It (1599), The Taming of the Shrew (1596), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1596), Twelfth Night (1600), and The Tempest (1611).  


                                                                                           To be Continued