Works of Shakespeare
(Stratford Upon Avon, 26 April 1564 – Stratford Upon Avon, 23 April 1616)
Third of the eight children of John Shakespeare, a rich local merchant and politician, and Mary Arden, whose family had experienced religious persecution as a result of their Catholic confession, little is known of William Shakespeare’s childhood and adolescence. It seems likely that he was a student at the Grammar School in his birthplace, although it is not known how many years and under what conditions. It also seems likely that he left school at an early age because of the difficulties his father was experiencing, be they economic or political.
His trajectory as a dramaturg began after his move to London. His stay in the British capital was dated, approximately, between 1590 and 1613, the last year in which he stopped writing and retired to his native town, where he acquired a house known as New Place, while investing in real estate in London the fortune he had amassed, where he would die April 23, 1616 of the old Julian calendar, used at that time in England.
10 most famous works of Shakespeare
1 – Romeo and Juliet (1595)
First of the works of Shakespeare that has become a classic of tragic love, of which numerous theatrical, literary and film versions and adaptations have been made. It is considered its first tragedy.
The impossible love between two adolescents, Romeo and Juliet, who have become the model for romantic lovers. It combines destiny and personal choice, factors that will lead to the terrible end.
2 – The Merchant of Venice (1595-96)
In this piece Shakespeare tries to draw a social backwardness by showing the class differences and the relationship between them. His view is not precisely classist, but quite the contrary. He proposes that what is important is not birth but formation, something that clashes with the structural and conservative idea of class society. In spite of this differentiation, the ruling classes will be accepting that they need those they consider inferior, even if they disdain them.
3 – Henry V (1597-99)
He treats another of Shakespeare’s most interesting themes: the historical portrait.
It contains one of the best-known monologues of all his work, the king’s speech before the battle of Azincourt against the French on St Crispin’s Day. It presents a king very different from the young prince he was, dissolute and reveling, now embodying the ideal ruler.
4 – Much Ado About Nothing (1598)
It could be called an experiment, an attempt to mix the two genres he cultivated: comedy and drama.
The first Act is about comedy, agile, ingenious and funny, with loves that arise almost by surprise, between characters that initially seem opposite. The second act takes on a dark tone, weaving betrayals and conspiracies that threaten to destroy the almost idyllic atmosphere initially created by the author.
5 – Hamlet (1601)
Possibly, in spite of his extensive and well-known theatrical repertoire, this is the most universal of all his works, giving Hamlet’s character a priority place in world literature.
It deals with two of his great themes: betrayal and revenge. And the consequences that this betrayal will have not only on the tormented prince, but on all those around him, in an epic and dramatic final.
6 – Three Kings Night (1601-02)
In this work he returns to the social portrait, but unlike the Merchant of Venice, here the landscape is darker, more decayed, full of sordid and often malicious characters. It projects a vision of the most cynical society, everything has a price. It marks a stage of darker, less optimistic works.
7 – Othello (1603-04)
Probably, the main contribution of this work of jealousy and intrigue, of overflowing passions that lead to crime, is the character of Yago, the incarnation of perfidy, subtlety and deception. He is the perfect manipulator as he gets everyone to trust him, thus being able to carry out their plans. The strength of the character will move Othello from the center of attention throughout the play.
8 – King Lear (1605-06)
Once again the family as the main axis of the story, the tensions between parents and children, their relationships and the shadows they hide. Ambition, another of the central points through which a large number of his works are structured, is shown in the daughters of the king who ends up stripped of his power and even of his dignity.
9 – Macbeth (1606)
If we speak of ambition, this will undoubtedly be the work that best exemplifies this drive for power, without limits. And in this case it will not be a man his representative, but a woman of great will, Lady Macbeth, who will not hesitate to push her husband to murder to achieve their targets. A strong female character, at a time when women could not have any connection with theatre, even female roles had to be played by men.
10 – Coriolanum (1608)
Possibly one of the least known works of Shakespeare by the public and yet has received good critical acclaim. In it he places his gaze on one of the environments that aroused his greatest interest: Rome in its period of glory. Unlike Julius Caesar a more choral piece, here the action centers on Coriolanus, in his relationship with the multitude, which he despises.