What's So Special About Shakespeare?
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So what was it like to live in Shakespeare's time? What do we actually know about him? And how does someone become that famous? These are just a few of the questions addressed in this lively and accessible book on the life and works of William Shakespeare by award-winning author Michael Rosen. Ideal for browsing, the text is divided into clear sections and includes studies of four of Shakespeare's plays, intriguing facts and information about Shakespeare himself and the world at this time, accompanied by a useful timeline.
people don’t often make speeches out loud when they’re on their own, but in Shakespeare’s plays we find ourselves listening to these speeches and what they tell us about the workings of the human mind. Here’s Juliet, in an earlier scene, talking to herself and us: Come night, come Romeo; come, thou day in night, For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night Whiter than new snow on a raven’s back. Come, gentle night; come, loving, black-browed night, Give me my Romeo, and when I shall die Take
Shakespeare’s Insults, Educating Your Wit (London, Vermilion, 1991) ◆ Holden, Anthony William Shakespeare (London, Little, Brown and Company, 1999) ◆ Honan, Park Shakespeare: A Life (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1999) ◆ Laroque, Francois Shakespeare: Court, Crowd and Playhouse (London, Thames and Hudson Ltd, 1993) ◆ Manley, Lawrence (ed.) London in the Age of Shakespeare: An Anthology (London, Croom Helm, 1986) ◆ Morgan, Kenneth O. (ed.) The Oxford History of Britain (Oxford,
glimpse of one or two unpleasant Puritans in his plays! In some parts of Europe, Roman Catholics were in power; in others, Protestants. So the discussions over who should be king and what makes a good ruler were intertwined in Shakespeare’s lifetime with questions about the right way to be a Christian. Shakespeare lived amid all this political and religious talk. But it wasn’t all talk. There was a lot of plotting and spying and murder going on as well. You often find people in his plays
the historian John Stow wrote, many living in “multitudes of base tenements”. Right through the middle of the city ran the River Thames. It was packed with boats, and its three miles of quayside were busy with people loading and unloading goods from all over Britain, Europe and newly explored parts of the world. “Most of the inhabitants are employed in buying and selling merchandise, and trading in almost every corner of the world,” said the Duke of Wurtemberg, who was visiting London in 1592.
Shakespeare’s plays teem with life. Theatre in the making As you look across the centuries, the kinds of entertainment that people enjoy change. Once there was no such thing as a film, then in the space of a few years millions of people all over the world were going to cinemas and watching them. But though they came quickly, films did not come out of nowhere: they were, in part, based on other kinds of entertainment that were already around, like plays and music hall shows. It was a bit like