William Shakespeare Essay
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was born in Startford-on-Avon, in the country of Warwick. The third child and first son, William was christened on 26th April, 1564 in the parish chruch. His father, John Shakespeare, was a prosperous businessman. William got his education in a good grammer school. His father’s business failed due to neglect so William could not attend the University. At the age of eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, the daughter of an old family friend and they had three children. The date of his arrival in London is not known but he was said to have been arrived there around 1592.
A theatre company, ‘Lord Chamberlain’s Men’, refounded in 1594, developed into London’s leading company. Shakespeare became an important member in it and this group later got the name, ‘King’s Men’. From 1599, this occupied the Globe Theatre and later in 1608 took over the Blackfriar’s monestry. Shakespearean plays performed here show the change in the stage conditions, having more scenery and lighting effects. Shakespeare, by his Venus and Adonis and Rape of Lucerce, had earned considerable fame in 1594.
The revival of classical drama brought about a change in the attitude of noblemen of that time. The theatre began to be attended by and the quality of the plays improved. In 1597, Shakespeare purchased ‘New Place’, an outstanding residential property. After acquiring a lot of property in Stratford, he retired to his house ih New Place. His career as a dramatist was over and The Tempest was his last play, written in 1611. On 23rd April, 1616, Shakespeare died and was buried in the altar of Stratford Church.
As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600 and first published in the First Folio, 1623. The play’s first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in 1603 has been suggested as a possibility. The play remains a favourite among audiences and has been adapted for radio, film, and musical theatre. Plot Development The plot of As You Like It is complex and comprises of a number of interweaving plots. The inter-linking of plots has been done beautifully by Shakespeare.
The characters have been fashioned and fit into incidents. ‘ As You Like It’ follows its heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle’s court, accompanied by her cousin Celia and Touchstone the court jester, to find safety and eventually, love, in the Forest of Arden. The play features one of Shakespeare’s most famous and oft-quoted speeches, “All the world’s a stage”, and is the origin of the phrase “too much of a good thing”. Themes Envy, Hatered,Jealousy,Conceit The theme of envy, hatred, jealousy and conceit has been brought by Shakespeare with the help of Oliver and Duke Frederick.
Oliver is envoius of his brother Orlando because although he treats him like a rustic he has all the good qualties in him which eclipse the qualities of Oliver. It is because he is jealous of Orlando, he hates him and tries to kill him. In the same way Duke Frederick is jealous of the popularity of Duke Senior and Rosalind. When he comes to know that it is because of Rosalind that the qualities of Celia are hidden, he decides to banish her as well. He had only kept Rosalind back because Celia could not stay without her. Loyalty,Love,Devotion Adam is loyal to Orlando and loves him because he reminds him of Sir Rowland de Boys.
He saves Orlando’s life by helping him escape from the trap laid by Oliver to take his life. Adam also offers Orlando his life savings and his service although he is very old. Duke Senior also has some followers who willingly follow the Duke to banishment. Love and devotion is also seen in Celia for Roslind as they ecape to the forest of Arden together. They are inseperable like the Juno’s swans. Rosalind is in love with Orlando when he bravely defeats Charles the prized wrestler of the Duke. She gives him her necklace. A shepard named Silivius has also fallen in love with Phebe.
Another love-story of Touchstone and Audrey is also taking place. It is anti-romantic story and although Touchstone wants to marry Audrey, he does not want it to be a life-long bond. Background of the Poet Vikram Seth is an Indian novelist and poet. He has written several novel and poetry books. He has also received several awards including Padma Shri, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, WH Smith Literary Award and Crossword Book Award. Seth was born on 20 June 1952 in a Punjabi family to Leila and Prem Seth in Calcutta (now Kolkata). Seth spent part of his youth in London but returned to his homeland in 1957.
He received primary education at Welham Boys’ School and then moved to The Doon School. After commencing secondary education at The Doon School in India, Seth returned to England to Tonbridge School. Having lived in London for many years, Seth now maintains residences near Salisbury, England, where he is a participant in local literary and cultural events, having bought and renovated the house of the Anglican poet George Herbert in 1996 and in Delhi, where he lives with his parents and keeps his extensive library and papers. Structure of the Poem The Frog and the Nightingale is a fable in the form of a poem.
A fable is narrative, not longer than a short story and has a moral. This poem has animals as its main characters. In this poem the poet has adapted features of modern poetry in following the pattern mixed metre and free verse. However to add the flavor of a ballad, a conscious effort has been made to keep it close to the common speech. The poem follows the iambic meter and regular rhyme immediately following the lines rhyming together. The last word of each line rhymes with the last word of the next line. Mostly the lines are hexasyllabic with variations of one syllable. Theme and Summary of the Poem
The poem, The Frog and the Nightingale is a powerful example of how people are deceived by others because of the wrong self-image and the lack of moral courage. Generally, people build their self-image on what others think of them. They do not have the moral courage to see through their strengths and weaknesses, and thus they fall into traps of selfish people. There are many people who use other people to fullfil their selfish motives. The poet wants to convey the message that we need to realise our potential, have self-confidence and judgement of character so that we do not become victims of the crafty and hypocritical world.
The poem begins with the frog croaking all day long at the Bingle Bog, under the sumac tree. Although the other creatures hated his singing, they had no choice because the frog was to determined to display his hearts elation. One night a nightingale arrived and enchanted everyone withher melodious voice. Everyone cheered the nightingale and she sang all night long. The following night when the nightingale was getting ready to sing the frog came to her and criticised the song as if he was a very good singer. The frog promised to train the nightingale but would charge a reasonable fee.
He made nightingale sing continuously for six hours, not caring whether it is raining or not. He charged fee to everyone who came to sing the nightingale sing and thus she became very famous. The frog used to watch all the audience with joy both sweet and bitter. The frog used to scold her and she grew more morose. Her voice was losing its charm and thus people stopped to listen to her singing. Once, during a performance, the frog began to shout on her asked her to puff up and sing properly. Th nightingale puffed up ,burst a vein and died on the spot. The frog got back his position and continued to sing and display his hearta elation.Undoubtedly, one of the greatest playwrights of all times, William Shakespeare had a great gift. The art of being able to hold the audience captive by creating situations where it was impossible to decide between real and unreal. A blurring of lines that made it difficult for one to decide whether or not what was happening was true or not. It is in Hamlet that this gift shines brilliantly. We are left contemplating whether Hamlet was really mad at one point or was he merely play- acting throughout.
As we go forward, I would explain why I think that Hamlet was simply faking his madness and show that he was intelligent, meticulous and quite logical and reasonable. In other words, he was everything that an insane or mad person would not be. When we first meet Hamlet in Act 1, Scene ii, after the demise of his father, he is accompanied, among others, by his mother Gertrude and Uncle Claudius who have since married. It is evident that he is hurt and angry at the turn of events and feels betrayed by his mother. His interaction with them is sarcastic and veiled.
‘Not so, my lord/I am too much i’ the sun. ‘ (I. ii. 67), says he when questioned by his uncle/step-father about his well-being. His grief and anger is truly understandable and it is only natural that the loss of a father and the sudden and soon remarriage of a mother would affect him so deeply. Further, we hear him condemn this alliance and happenings, ‘She married. O, most wicked speed, to post With such dexterity to incestuous sheets! It is not nor it cannot come to good: (I. ii. 156-7). Therefore, it becomes quite evident that he was upset by everything that his uncle and mother had done.
This is also, probably when he starts to think about turning the tables on his uncle and securing, in his own way, justice for his father’s memory. His decision to act insane was probably prompted by seeing the ghost of his father in Act I, scene iv. The Ghost had already been sighted by Horatio and Marcellus so we cannot say that this was a figment of Hamlet’s imagination. ‘Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder. ‘ (I. iv. 25). This statement by the Ghost of Hamlet’s father sets the stage for everything else that unfolds, including Hamlet’s act of insanity.
It all begins with Hamlet putting up an act for Ophelia, knowing well that the information would surely reach Polonius, her father and a loyalist of Claudius. In Act II, Scene i, when Polonius meets Hamlet and questions him, he, himself remarks ‘Though this be madness/ yet there is method in ‘t. ‘ (II. ii. 195-6). This just proves that Hamlet’s insanity was merely an act and there was careful thinking behind it. As we proceed and get deeper into the intricacies of the plot for revenge, Hamlet recounts with perfect clarity a speech he had heard long before to one of the visiting players in Act II, Scene ii.
Although Hamlet is not insane, he is clearly disturbed and depressed as he himself says in his soliloquy at the end of Act II, Scene ii. In Act III, Scene i, when he again meets Ophelia, who he suspects of spying on him, he tells her in no uncertain terms what he thinks of her. His harsh words brushed off as insane ramblings are, in truth, his real feelings concealed and worded with great cleverness. He clearly asks her if she is honest (III. i. 106) and also, with great ingenuity expresses that he knows that she is spying for her father. ‘God has given you one face/ and you make yourselves another’ (III.
i. 144-5) As a matter of fact, even King Claudius and Polonius are not convinced that he is completely insane, ‘Nor what he spake, though it lack’d form a little/Was not like madness. There’s something in his soul/O’er which his melancholy sits on brood; ‘(III. i. 164-6) rather they believe that he is seriously troubled and saddened. Hamlet’s intention to convince everyone that he is losing his mind is quite successful but at the same time, the other players are also, of the opinion that the current circumstances and Ophelia’s aloofness are disturbing him rather than believing that he is mad.
Even if we were to for a moment believe that Hamlet was insane, how would we explain the careful planning that went into the enactment of ‘The Mousetrap’, in Act III, Scene ii? He is in fact, quite a master of the craft and never for once lets his guard down. That is what actually, tends to convince everyone that he is truly insane. He knows that the women he loves –Ophelia and Gertrude are also part of the conspiracy and therefore, does not let them in on his faked madness. His conversation with Gertrude in Act III, Scene iv, is a revelation that he is in perfect control of his senses.
‘Mother, you have my father much offended. ‘ (III. iv. 10). He accuses her of betraying her loving and brave husband (III. iv. 55-77) and even his accidental slaying of Polonius was actually a case of mistaken identity and not an act of madness. If he were a raving lunatic, he would not be able to use words crafted to make Gertrude feel guilty and remorseful. It is also, to Gertrude that he nearly confesses that he is not really mad but simply putting up a facade ‘That I essentially am not in madness/ But mad in craft. ‘ (III. iv. 191-2).
Hamlet’s veiled barbs to Claudius in Act IV, Scene iii also, support the fact that he is not mad. Rather he is able to use words that bring out his innermost emotions quite honestly ‘Nothing but to show you how a king may go a progress through the guts of a beggar. ‘ (IV. iii. 31-2). Insanity, even in episodes, would not have allowed Hamlet to be so clever with words and be such a good planner. It would have cast a heavy burden on him, physically as well as mentally. Hamlet retained his common sense along with his physical agility right till the very end.
The clarity of thought displayed by Hamlet and the meticulous attention to details (V. i. 116-20) makes it even more evident that all his ramblings were really just an act; a way to distract Claudius and everyone else from catching on to his plan for revenge. As he explains to Horatio in Act V, Scene ii, he gave great thought to getting back to Denmark and how he planned the whole episode. Any one who is suffering from insanity would never be able to execute something like that with such finesse.
Hamlet is essentially, a master player and so angry is he with the situation in his family that it expresses itself in the form of sarcasm and speeches that may seem meaningless but are actually deep and profound. It becomes easy for us to believe that he actually is insane if we simply take his speeches at face value. However, if we read between the lines, he makes a lot of sense and is at all times, telling people around him, such as, Claudius and Gertrude what he truly thinks about them. Hamlet is surely one of Shakespeare’s greatest creations.
He brings to life the dilemmas faced by a man whose life is in turmoil; the pressures and the stress that he must face and the ingenuity that he must employ in order to battle these challenges. His soliloquies throughout the play are clear expressions of the confusion, disillusionment and stress that prevailed in his mind. Hamlet was not insane, not for one minute. He was angry, disappointed and felt deeply betrayed by those he held closest. It was only natural for him to devise a plan to avenge his father’s death, even though eventually, that plan took his own life.
He was a loving and devoted son, who felt let down by his mother as well as other people, whom he had trusted. He was a good actor, probably even, a great one to be able to convince everyone of his insanity. Shakespeare truly succeeded in his aim of leaving the audience wondering whether or not Hamlet was insane, yet in my opinion and as demonstrated by the textual evidence above, Hamlet was at all times, sane, sensible, articulate and supremely confident of his actions. Works Cited Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. http://shakespeare. mit. edu/hamlet/full. htmlThe full title of the book is Julius Caesar. It is a tragic play that shows the life of Julius Caesar, the Roman leader and his betrayal behind by his friend and associate, Brutus. It clearly portrays the conspiracy initiated by roman senators led by Cassius incorporating Marcus Brutus, his assassination and the concomitant events that ensued thereafter. Although the book is named after Julius Caesar, scholars have agreed that the main character is Marcus Brutus who placed the nation before his friend and made a political mistake marked with inherent greed without confirming details before joining the conspirators.
It begins with the rise of Julius Caesar as one of Rome’s highest officials and the possibility of being crowned as king. Then the conspiracy began… Cassius convinces Brutus of the need to eliminate Julius Caesar because of the possibility of turning Rome’s republic into a monarchy through Caesar’s lineage. The senators agree to this. Cesar approaches senate in the morning of the assassination; on his way, he was warned by a soothsayer to ‘Beware of the Ides of March’. He ignores the warning and heads for the Senate where he rejects a request brought before him, as expected. There, he was beaten to death.
He however notices the presence of Brutus among his killers, and exclaims the popular clause: ‘Et tu, Brutus’ meaning ‘And you, Brutus’. Thereafter, Brutus delivers a logical speech at his funeral to convince the Roman people of the reason for Caesar’s assassination which was followed closely by the powerful and excellent rhetoric of Marcus Antonio that moves the mob to drive Marcus and his cohorts from Rome. The triumvirate comprising Marcus Antonio, Octavius and Aemilus become the rulers of Rome and fights to victory with the army of the assassinators; Brutus and Cassius commits suicide in the face of defeat.
III. Julius Caesar is a tragic play with a number of theme which includes detest for the political tyranny of Julius Caesar and the use of rhetoric to win a crowd. Out of these emerges the central idea of the struggle between honour and friendship. Marcus, as the protagonist, joins the conspiracy because of the honour for patriotism that would accrue to him for laying down friendship for slaughter at the altar of an unconfirmed allegation: it is not that he ‘loved Caesar less but loved Rome more’.
William Shakespeare is a master dramatist who showed his vast knowledge of human history through the play, and his mastery of rhetoric as well. Just like many of his plays, the book is set in the ancient British pattern of Shakespearean writing, in art and scenes. The play is based on the Sir Thomas North’s translation of Plutarch’s Parallel Lives specifically from passages on Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Brutus. However, there are subtle deviations from the real life events upon which the play was based; many facts were condensed into scenes that would be easy to act.
It has an underlying emotional tone of the homosociality that occurred amongst the men depicted in the play. V The play which was performed in 1599 at the Globe Theatre by Shakespeare acting company is filled with beautiful representation of the main theme, the struggle between honour for patriotism and friendship. It clearly shows these in three main events: the assassination of Julius Caesar by the senators, the funeral and the battle between the assassinators and the triumvirate.
These are the main events of the tragic play and revolve around characters like Caesar, Brutus, Cassius, and Mark Antony. Prior to his assassination, Julius Caesar was warned about the danger ahead of him y the soothsayer, ‘Beware of Ides of March’. In his pride and complacency, he ignores the signal. And he heads for the Senate forum that morning to face his death borne out of conspiracy accumulated on the platform of greedy senators and the noble Brutus.
‘And you, Brutus’ [Julius Caesar, V.iv] were Caesar’s last words when he sights his close friend among the assassinators; there, he bows to death. Brutus accepted the invitation to join in this conspiracy in honour and patriotism of Rome so that it would not become a monarchy under Caesar and thereafter; the senators initiated it because of envy and greed for power. After the assassination, the Roman people gather to pay their last tribute to their leader, Julius Caesar unknown to them that sooner than they stood to listen, they would be swayed into a tumultuous action.
Marcus Brutus delivers a sound and logical speech stating in clear terms why it was pertinent for them assassinate Caesar because of the latter’s ambition to become King of Rome; he convinces the people that his involvement in the conspiracy is for the good of Rome and not for selfish reasons. Then, Mark Antony, Caesar’s associate, speaks on the consent of Brutus against Cassius’ decision. He tells the people that Brutus is honourable like the other senators who took part in the assassination.
In mockery of this, he exclaims: ‘O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts/ men have lost their reason’. [Julius Caesar, III,ii, 114] He is quick to state that Caesar’s ambition has made him achieve all that he did, and same made him reject the crown thrice. He uses his eloquent speech filled with allegories, allusions to sexuality and climaxes in orgasm of mob action that drives the people to eject Brutus and his cohorts out of Rome. The triumvirate comprising Mark Antony, Octavius [Caesar’s nephew and adopted son] and Oedipus become the leaders of the new Rome.
Brutus and Cassius soon reconcile after a brief quarrel; Brutus accuses Cassius for debasing regicide by accepting bribes; ‘Did not great Caesar bleed for justice sake? /What villain touch’d his body, that did stab/And not for justice? [Julius Caesar, IV. iii, 19-21]. They prepare for war against the triumvirate. Caesar’s ghost appears to Brutus with a threat, ‘thou shalt meet me at Philippi’ [Julius Caesar, IV. iii]. The army of the conspirators is defeated a second time and Brutus and Cassius chooses to die a noble death; they commit suicide.
The play ends with a tribute to Marcus by Antony who proclaimed him as ‘the noblest Roman of them all’ [Julius Caesar, V. v 68] VI Although the title of the book is Julius Caesar, the protagonist of the play is Marcus Brutus whose passion leads him to make a hasty decision. He is the most interesting person in the play checking from his role throughout from Caesar’s assassination to the Battle at Philippi. Casca, one of the conspirators praises him: ‘Oh, he sits high in all the people’s hearts/And that which would appear offence in us/His countenance, like richest alchemy’ [Julius Caesar, I.e. 158-60]]
He stands out as the ‘noblest of them all’ His role in the assassination contributed immensely to its success. It would have been an exposed secret if he remains true to his close friend. He is led be his passion for continuous honour ‘ as he sits high in all the people’s hearts’. He is interested in maintaining that status more than any thing else. Even Antony understands this as he calls him, ‘Brutus, the honourable’ [Julius Caesar, III, 1, 113] in his excellent use of rhetoric without significant appeal to logic to sway the people into anger against the conspirators.
If he does anything less than that, it would reduce the strength of his speech and his influence on the crowd. His nobility did not end in Rome: he chooses to be noble all the time as he accuses Cassius for his wrong, of collecting bribe: ‘Did not great Caesar bleed for justice sake? /What villain touch’d his body, that did stab/And not for justice? [Julius Caesar, IV. iii, 19-21]. He ends goes into battle in alliance his Cassius hoping to defeat the triumvirate and restore Rome to her place of honour. He fails in this quest as he meets defeat in Philippi.
He chooses the noble pain of suicide to end his life. Before his death, however, Brutus realises in the end his mistake when he says, ‘Caesar, now be still:/I kill’d not thee with half so good a will’ [Julius Caesar, V. v 50-51]]. VII Williams Shakespeare demonstrates his mastery of rhetoric and the art of drama with yet another interesting and though-provoking tragic play, Julius Caesar. He asserts his dislike for assassination of leaders, and his cynicism for its concomitant mob action. And Marcus teaches a noble lesson: live a balanced life, confirm before condemn.