1614 Just as great Renaissance artists like
rdo da Vinci can be said to transcend their so too William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is held he a writer for all time.
He was the first man of the English Renaissance 15th to early 17th century): The humanist and
:ocus of the period can be seen in many of s, I ike Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra, the Renaissance's utopian ideals shine forth in Tempest. His attention to human condition, his interest all aspects of the world, and joy he found in his native ge make Shakespeare an lary Renaissance man.
A professional actor as well as right, he was a member acting company known Lord Chamberlain's Men, `Aponsored by Elizabeth l's Lord tbartherlain. Many of his plays were performed at lie Globe Theatre in London, which has become nearly as famous as Shakespeare himself—he bOught shares in the Globe when it was built in 1i98. The Globe was a three-story amphitheater about 100 feet in diameter that held 3,000 spectators who would stand to watch the performance in am area called the pit or sit in stadium-style seats. *rectangular stage, known as an apron stage, jutted out into the middle of the open-air yard. It had trapdoor> that allowed actors to enter and exit born below.
fait) William Shakespeare, born and buried in Stratford-upon-Avon, made his legacy in London. (top) A view of the slaciem seating from the stage of the Globe Theatre.
Elizabeth I (1533-1603) did not attend the Globe Theatre in person, but the actors would perform plays at her court. Shakespeare's career flourished in part because of the support he received from the queen after she came to power in 1558. Her successor, James I (1556-1625), also supported the bard through his patronage of Shakespeare's acting troupe.
From 1589 to 1614, Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays, the first of which is believed to be The Two Gentlemen of Verona in 1589. Most of his early plays were comedies, including A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Merchant of Venice, or histories such as Henry VI and Richard IL In 1595, he wrote his first tragedy—Romeo and Juliet—and it, along with Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, and Hamlet, are the works for which he is most revered. Their multi-dimensional protagonists broke the mold of well-drawn but predictable characters usually found in Renaissance drama.
Known for his poetic language, Shakespeare coined such terms as "sea change," "good riddance," and "foul play." Today we still use expressions of his invention: Love is blind; Beware the Ides of March; and Come what may.
Arguably the most celebrated writer of all time, his work continues to be performed around the world. He has inspired modern theatrical works such as West Side Story (Romeo and Juliet) and Kiss Me Kate (The Taming of the Shrew) and movies including Forbidden Planet (The Tempest) and 0 (Othello), contemporary retellings of some of the Bard's more famous plays.