By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™
© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.
Original Pub. Date: Nov. 18, 2011. Last Update: Mar. 15, 2013.
"The Bard of Avon" William "Will" Shakespeare (1564-1616) is not only the greatest playwright who ever lived, but he has become part of the English cultural superiority arsenal, which has evidently worked since almost every educated person on Earth now speaks English whether they can understand him or not. Let's scope Shakespeare and see how deep his rabbit hole goes.
In -536 Greek tragedian Thespis invented Tragedy (Gr. "tragos" = goat, the sacred animal and symbol of wine god Dionysus AKA Bacchus) at the festival of the Greater Dionysia; it eventually developed the elements of Hamartia (fatal flaw, of which hubris is a favorite), Nemesis, and Catharsis - thespian jokes here?
But that was ancient Greece, and we're talking about Merry Olde England, so first a little background. Since the time of Noah's Ark, England and all of Europe W of the Rhine was run by 150 tribes of Celts, known for speaking the Gaelic language, and practicing the Druid religion, whose priests wore cool hooded robes a la Gandalf in "The Lord of the Rings". Too bad, they didn't have an alphabet, so their rich culture of poems and stories was pretty much lost, the most famous that survived being the story of King Arthur and the Roundtable, which became part of the cultural heritage of all English literati.
Starting with Julius Caesar (-100 to -44), the Romans began a systematic conquest of the Celts, wiping them out in Europe and starting in on Britain, finally conquering it in 43 C.E. Any Celts who didn't die in battle or make a run for it and were captured or surrendered were forced to fight their brothers for the Romans while they knocked-up their wives, which we can take as the genesis of the modern English people.
The Romans caused the Gaelic language to become bastardized into Old English (Anglo-Saxon). Then in the early 400s the Roman Empire began coming unglued under relentless assaults by the Germans, causing the Romans to completely pull out of Britain, allowing the remaining Celts hiding in the inaccessible places in Scotland and the west to come back and frolic, only to see the Germans start coming over the British Channel in their place. The three main German tribes were the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. They were all pagan at first, but although the Roman Empire went kaput in 476 C.E., the pope and his hierarchy were still intact in Rome, and sent missionaries wherever the Roman roads could take them to proselytize, eventually Christianizing Britain.
The Germans took over Britain, but they couldn't finish the job the Romans started and exterminate the Celts, because just when things looked darkest, and they were about to wink out, a hero arose, a great king, who kicked the Saxons' butts around the year 500 in the epic Battle of Mons Badonicus (Badon Hill), making West England (Cornwall and Wales) safe for Celts for 50 years during the Golden Age of Camelot, a lot near the village of Queen's Camel in Somerset. That was King Arthur (-537), a real king. His chief druid Merlin was misnamed by Sir Thomas Malory (1405-71) in his Morte d'Arthur (pub. posthumously in 1485), because at this late date he was so mixed up that he thought the Druidic Celtic king Arthur, whose name in Gaelic means rock, was a Christian king living in France, with a name based on Greek Arcturus, which means bear, and that the name Merlin came from Latin for hawk, when actually it was Mervyn (Myrddin the way they spell it in Welsh), meaning sea tower or lighthouse in Gaelic. The name of Arthur's babe Guinevere means soft and white in Gaelic, which makes sense every night, get it? Come here, baby, and let me put my rock in your soft and white, chuckle. Dirty but beautiful and poetic, like all Gaelic words. Gaelic is the most beautiful language in ancient Europe. There isn't an ugly word in it. And it would still would be, if it hadn't gotten corrupted and fragmented by other languages. The reason French is so beautiful is its absorption of Gaelic words, and even English has a large load. In Gaelic even bad babes sound good, like Morgana (Gael. "edge of the sea"), Arthur's evil Druid fairy half-sister. I'd like some Gwina in the evening and some Morgana in the morning, wouldn't you? Compare with guttural German, the ugliest language in Europe. It doesn't have a single beautiful word. The whole lingo sounds like dirty talk you would hear in the back of a sailor's whorehouse. Who'd want a Gretel, for instance, when they could have a Gwina or a Morgana, unless it was for a cheap quickie? How do they say I love you in German? "Ich liebe dich". Just imagine the tenderness of the scene, way back east of the Rhine: "Ich liebe dich, Hansel". "You want to lick my dick, Gretel?" "Jah, Hansel, ich liebe dich gut." "Well okay, but save some for later, will ya?" What a difference the Rhine River makes, eh? Funny, the French claim that St. Genevieve's name means white wave. Sounds like a coverup.
A big setback was the invasions of the pagan Norse (Vikings), particularly the Danes. In Nov. 866 after spending a year looting and gathering reinforcements in East Anglia to create the Great Heathen Army, Danish Vikings under Ivar Ragnarsson the Boneless (-873) sieged and captured Jorvik, later called York (the old Roman fort of Eburacum) in Mercia, settling in and terrorizing the Anglo-Saxons. In 899 Saxon king Alfred the Great (848-99) died after defeating the last Danish invasion, unifying all of Christian Britain as Saxon England. Of course the Norse left their mark on their language too.
Meanwhile the systematic expansion of Christianity received the shock of its life with the rise of the long-awaited Antichrist Muhammad (570-632) of Arabia, whose new world domination cult Islam dispensed with sending missionaries in favor of sending fanatical armies that took over your country first and worried about converting you second. After quickly taking over the Holy Land, Egypt, and North Africa, in 711 they crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and took over Spain, then crossed the Pyreenes hoping to take over France followed by the rest of Europe. Luckily they were stopped in 732 by Frankish Merovingian king Charles Martel (the Hammer) (688-741), who saved Europe from Islamization. Too bad, his grandson king (768-714) Charlemage (Charles the Great) (742-814) got the wrong idea from the Muslims, and instituted the Sword and Cross program on the remaining pesky pagans in Europe, namely, take the cross or we'll give you the sword, spending 30 years crushing the Saxons and Frisians, only to make the mistake of trying it on the Norse, who simply took off in their longships and began terrorizing the coast of France, becoming so successful that they kept at it for the next 200+ years, taking Ireland, the NE part of England, and Denmark, and going east into Russia. Luckily, the missionary hype about Christ returning in the year 1000 to judge the world worked, and they started lining up to get baptized, turning their Thor's Hammers into crosses and joining the Christian side.
In 1066 the French-speaking Norse Viking transplant Normans led by William I the Conqueror (1028-87) invaded and captured Britain, imposing their haughty French culture on the Anglo-Saxons after crushing them like dogs, and crushing the expected revolts so cruelly that they wasted northern England so bad that it still hasn't recovered. William I's elder son William II Rufus (Red) (1056-1100) completed the crushing of the dogs, reducing even the nobility to little more than serfs. Too bad, no matter how hard the Normans tried to make them speak French, the downtrodden Anglo-Saxon dogs wouldn't give up their double bastard German-Celtic language, resulting in the triple bastard language of Middle English, without which there would have been no Shakespeare. After outwitting, outplaying, and outlasting the Normans, their big breakthrough was with Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400), who turned Middle English into a respectable literary language, becoming known as the Father of English Literature, after which Chancery Standard was adopted in London around 1470, allowing Early Modern English (Shakespeare's language) to take over, lasting until 1550, when Modern English took over after the Great Vowel Shift that began in 1350 ended, forever messing up English spelling.
The Normans had no intention of stopping with conquering the Anglo-Saxons. They wanted the entire British Isles, incl. the Welsh, Scots, and Irish. Luckily for them, in 1096-99 the First Crusade to take back Jerusalem from the Muslims diverted their energies. Only when the Seventh (Last) Crusade ended in 1270 did the English kings put their pesky Celtic neighbors back on the top of the list, although Ireland was already conquered in 1170 by Henry II.
In 1100 William I's 4th son Henry I Beauclerc (good clerk, meaning he could read) (1068-1135) became Norman king #3 of England after his elder brother William II was conveniently killed in a hunting accident, pacifying the Anglo-Saxons by marrying a descendant of their royal house. After his death England descended into civil war because his daughter and heir Empress Matilda (Maude) (1102-67) was an er, woman, and her cousin (a grandson of William I) Stephen of Blois (1092-1154) had a large following.
In 1154 England was finally united by Maude's son Henry II (1133-89), first of the House of Plantagenet (Fr. "sprig of broom"), who ruled the rich French county of Anjou, resulting in the Angevin Empire that stretched from the Pyrenees to Ireland and the border with Scotland. His wife was manly woman Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204), see any Katherine Hepburn outtake.
Henry II was succeeded by his illegitimate son Richard I Lionheart (1157-99), who spoke only French and spent most of his reign on Crusade, leaving his evil backstabbing brother (Henry II's youngest son, who didn't inherit any lands, making him bitter) John Lackland (1166-1216) in charge, who took over after Richard was killed in France in 1199, and was such a prick that he was revolted against by his barons and made to sign the Magna Carta (Charta) at Runnymeade near Windsor Castle on June 15, 1215, only to see him renege with papal support, causing them to launch the First Barons' War, which was supported by Louis VIII of France. Before they could win, John died of dysentery (really poisoned by the monks to get rid of the bum?), causing his 9-y.-o. son Henry III (1207-72) to succeed, with the barons acting as regents while they waited to see if he would accept the Magna Carta when he reached adulthood. He did, and went on to rule 56 years, turning into an old fart that was forced to call the first Parliament in 1264, while his eldest son Edward I Longshanks (1239-1307) become de facto king. Edward I spent his reign crushing the Welsh and Scots, calling himself "Hammer of the Scots", until he came up against Scottish hero Sir William Wallace (1272-1305), see the Mel Gibson flick even though it's full of moose hockey.
Meanwhile in the 1220s the Sonnet (Ital. "little song or sound") poetic form was invented by Italian poet Giacomo da Lentini (Giacumu da Lintini) (Jacopo il Notaro) at the court of freethinking Hohenstaufen Holy Roman Emperor (1220-50) Frederick II (1194-1250) in Sicily, after which in 1235 Giacomo da Lentini of Tuscany rediscovered the sonnet form and founded the Neo-Sicilian School (until 1294). Later in 1308-21 Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) produced the #1 medieval poem The Divine Comedy, which set the bar high for the English, who were still considered backward rubes.
When Edward I died, his eldest son Edward II (1284-1327) became king of England. Too bad, his bi ways pissed-off the nobles, allowing his wife Isabella to depose him in Jan. 1327 in favor of his 14-y.-o. son Edward III (1312-77), whom she and her lover Roger Mortimer controlled until he got old enough and overthrew them in 1330. In 1337 he declared himself the rightful heir to the French throne, starting the Hundred Years' War between the House of Plantagenet (Anjou) and the House of Valois, which took until 1453 because the Great Plague threw it for a loop; the net result wass that England was all-but kicked out of France except for Calais.
In 1347-50 the Black Death devastated Europe, killing a third or half of all the people and livestock, and giving it an existential moment, forever changing it because until then the Church had a stranglehold on peoples' minds with its claim of being the doorkeeper to Heaven with a pipeline to God, only to be found unable to stop the plague from even hitting its own prelates, albeit they make a good try of blaming it on the pesky Jews. After that the intelligentsia began to wonder what the world was like before the Church started time over with year one, and began to delve into the hitherto-forbidden works of the pagan ancient Greeks and Romans, launching the Renaissance, which caused a flowering of arts and sciences along with humanism, as people began living for today rather than counting on eternity, drum roll please. Of course the intelligentsia still had to put on that they were devout to avoid the horrors promised heretics. It was also the beginning of the labor movement as the lack of labor allowed them to organize for higher wages, receiving the expected reactionary oppression, which just made them more determined.
In 1377 10-y.-o. Plantagenet Richard II (1367-1400), son of Edward the Black Prince became king of England, until he was done in by Henry of Bolingbroke in Lincolnshire, who became Henry IV (1366-1413), the first king of the House of Lancaster.
In 1413 Henry V (1386-1422) became the 2nd Lancaster king of England, going on to win a big V at the Battle of Agincourt on Oct. 25, 1415 (St. Crispin's Day), which caused Charles VI of France to sign the May 21, 1420 Treaty of Troyes recognizing him as the heir to the French throne, and give his daughter "Kiss Me Kate" Catherine of Valois (1401-37) to him. Too bad, Henry V suddenly died of dysentery in France, leaving infant son Henry VI (1421-71), whom the French wouldn't recognize, ramping up the Hundred Years' War, which the English were winning until "The Maid of Orleans" Joan of Arc (1412-1431) came out of the provinces with a Mission from God and turned things around, albeit at the expense of her own life. Henry VI's periods of insanity helped bring down the House of Lancaster and elevate the House of York, pass the patties please.
In 1439 German Man of the Millennium Bill Gatesenberg, er, Johannes Gutenberg (1398-1468) invented movable type printing, revolutioning the world. Unlike Bill Gates, he wasn't greedy, and gave his invention to the world.
In May 1450 Jack Cade led a peasant revolt to protest high taxes to pay for the Hundred Years' War, leading 5K to London, causing Henry VI to flee to Warwickshire while they looted, only to be defeated in a battle on London Bridge and scatter; Cade was killed on July 12, 1450. Shakespeare made him a character in "Henry VI, Pt. 2", with the soundbyte "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" (4.2.83-4).
In 1453 the Muslim Ottomans finally captured Constantinople, which had withstood all attacks for a thousand years, allowing them to begin moving up the Balkans towards Europe's back door, which absorbed their energies and allowed the west side of Europe to spring ahead.
In 1455 the Wars of the Roses between the two rival branches of the House of Plantagenet, the bloody red rose of Lancaster and the white peppermint pattie of York began. On Mar. 4, 1461 Yorkist Edward VI (1442-83) became king of England, surviving a Lancastrian challenge at the May 4, 1471 Battle of Tewkesbury, only to die a sudden death in the Tower of London (murdered?).
In 1476 William Caxton (1415-92) set up the first printing press in England at Westminster, and in 1485 printed the 21-vol. posth. work Le Morte d'Arthur (Le Morte Arthure) (The Book of King Arthur and His Noble Knights of the Round Table) by Sir Thomas Malory (1405-71), the first book in poetic prose, and the first novel in the English language, which Malory wrote while rotting in prison on trumped-up charges after calling for reform during the Wars of the Roses; it was based on an anon. early 13th cent. 4-part French work La Mort le Roi Artu (1237); Malory put bits of his own life in Arthur's tale; after Arthur is mortally wounded, Sir Bedivere throws Excalibur in the lake so that it will not see him dead, and "there came an arm and an hand [the Lady of the Lake] above the water and met it, and caught it, and so shook it thrice and brandished, and then vanished away the hand with the sword in the water"; Arthur then goes to the "Vale of Avilion (Avalon), to heal me of my grievous wound"; "Yet some men say in many parts of England that King Arthur is not dead, but taken by the will of our Lord Jesu into another place; and men say that he shall come again, and he shall win the holy cross"; "Here lies Arthur, once and future king" becomes the dream of all English kings, who want to claim that they're him, whether or not they are of Celtic heritage?; the Winchester Manuscript was unearthed in 1934.
In 1483 hunchback cripple Yorkist Richard III (1452-85) became king of England after murdering 12-y.-o. 2-mo. king Edward V (1470-83), causing a civil war that kicked his butt at the Aug. 22, 1485 Battle of Bosworth Field, causing Lancastrian Henry VII (1457-1509) to become king, who ended the War of the Roses by marrying Elizabeth of York (1466-1503), thus uniting the houses under the new Tu-Tone name of Tudor.
On Oct. 12, 1492 with Spanish financing, Italian mystery man (probably a secret Jew) Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) discovered the New World of America, wowing Europe and providing more ammunition for the intelligentsia that suspected not only the Church but the Bible itself of being a fake, since there was no mention or even hint of it in its pages. Of course the Church stepped up the repression, creating a relentless war between Science and Religion that ultimately backfired by the 19th cent. The Portuguese soon entered the Space Race and claimed South America, and both of these Catholic countries soon became rich, which ended up ruining them and spilled over to the Church, corrupting the already-corrupt papacy worse than ever. Meanwhile the English were content with pirating the big fat elephantine Spanish treasure galleons on their way to the mother country, keeping them from being interested in the hard work of settlement and conquest in North America for a century.
On Oct. 31, 1519 (Halloween) Roman Catholic monk Martin Luther (1483-1546) finally got tired of the astronomical corruption of the Church and broke with it, nailing his 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg, and launching the Protestant Reformation. At first English Tudor king #2 (1509-47) Henry VIII (1491-1547) was against the Reformation, until his wife Catherine of Aragon was found unable to produce a male heir, causing him to try anything to get a legal annulment of his marriage, and when that failed, he flopped and went Protestant bigtime, breaking with the Church completely and setting up his own national church. After he died, England went into a civil war over religion that was ended by the accession of his daughter Elizabeth I.
In 1542 Edward Halle (1498-1547) pub. The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Famelies of Lancastre and York (Hall's Chronicle), covering English history from Henry IV (1367-1413) to Henry VII (1399-1547); 2nd ed. by Richard Grafton in 1548; it became a main source used by Shakespeare for his historical plays.
In 1557 Richard Tottel (-1594) pub. Songs and Sonnets written by the Ryght Honorable Lorde Henry Howard late Earle of Surrey, and Other (Tottel's Miscellany), the first anthology of English poetry, and the first pub. of the poetry of Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-42) and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517-47), introducing the English 14-line sonnet (based on Italian models); Wyatt uses the Italian or Petrarchan sonnet form (abba, abba, cdc, dee), while Howard invents the English or Shakespearean form of three quatrains (abab, cdcd, efef) and a couplet (gg); later Sir Edmund Spencer invents his own form (abab, bcbc, cdcd, ee).
On Nov. 17, 1558 Henry VIII's daughter (by Anne Boleyn) Elizabeth I (1533-1603) became queen of newly-Protestantized England, starting out with the entire Roman Catholic Church out to kill the "bastard heretic", until she won the epic Battle of the Spanish Armada on Aug. 8, 1588, launching the exhilarating golden Elizabethan Age (Era), marked by national cultural renaissance and international expansion via the seas. Indeed, England got its first ideas about taking over the world, making it necessary to invent a Shakespeare even if there hadn't been one. The Virgin Queen created a national religious cult with herself as the Virgin Mary, just like her daddy Henry VIII broke off from the Church and made himself the English pope, it was great, see the movies, what cocks they were to dress like that with giant ruffles around their necks. Major figures of the Elizabeth Age incl. Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618), and Sir Francis Drake (1540-96),
On Apr. 23, 1564 (Sun.) (St. George's Day) English #1 poet-playwright ("the Bard of Avon") William "Will" Shakespeare (1564-1616) (anagram for "We all make his praise") [Taurus] was born in a tall jar, er, a half-timber Tudor house in Stratford-upon-Avon (Stratford-on-Avon) 100 mi. N of London in Warwickshire (second w not pronounced); he was baptized on Apr. 26, and we're just guessing that he was born on Apr. 23. The eldest of six children, his father John was a glove maker and leather merchant, and worked for the town council tasting locally-produced beer and acting as bailiff (sheriff). His mother Mary was from a wealthy local family. In the summer of 1564 the plague killed more than 200 of his neighbors. He attended King Edward VI Grammar School, whose teachers came from Oxford U.
In 1567 the Red Lion Theatre in Whitechapel (modern-day Tower Hamlets) outside London was built, becoming the first permanent theater in England. Too bad, in 1572 the mayor of London banned plays and playhouses to protect against the plague, and in 1575 he banned players too, causing playhouse owners to begin building outside London's city limits. In 1576 James Burbage (Burbadge) (1531-97) (father of Richard Burbage) built The Theatre on the grounds of the defunct Halliwell (Holywell) Priority in Shoreditch (modern-day Hackney) beyond London's N boundary in an area known for houses of sin, becoming London's second permanent theater.
In Dec. 1576 the Admiral's (Lord Howard's) (Earl of Nottingham's) Men (Company), backed by powerful patron Lord High Adm. Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham (1536-1624) (cmdr. of the English fleet against the 1588 Spanish Armada) began performing, becoming the #2 acting troupe after Shakespeare's Lord Chamberlain's Men.
In 1578 English writer Raphael Holinshed (1529-80) et al. pub. Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (2 vols.); histories of England, Scotland, and Ireland by various writers; incl. Description of Elizabethan England by William Harrison (1534-93); Holinshed wrote the history of England; it started out as a universal history by his boss, Dutch-born printer Reginald (Reyner) Wolfe (-1573), and this is an abridged vers.; used by Elizabethan dramatists incl. Shakespeare.
In 1579 Sir Thomas North (1535-1601) pub. an English trans. of Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, which becomes a major source for Shakespeare's plays.
On Nov. 28, 1582 Shakespeare married 8-year-older farmer's daughter Anne Hathaway (1556-1623) from nearby Shottery on the edge of the Forest of Arden (Lat. "burning for enthusiasm") ("William Shaxpere and Anne Whateley of Temple Grafton", according to the Nov. 27 episcopal register at Worcester). Their children were Susannah Hall (nee Shakespeare) (May 1583-July 1649), and twins Hamnet Shakespeare (Jan. 1585-Aug. 1596) and Judith Quiney (nee Shakespeare) (Jan. 1585-1662).
Speaking of Sir Walter Raleigh, on Apr. 27, 1584 after English cleric Richard Hakluyt (1552-1616) began writing books inciting the English to begin colonizing North America, Raleigh sent an expedition, which landed in Roanoke Island, Virginia on July 4; too bad, by 1590 the settlers went injun, leaving the word "Croatoan" carved into a post at their fort.
Before we get to Shakespeare, we might as well mention his rivals, other Elizabethan Poets and Playwrights, including Edmund Spenser (1552-99), author of The Faerie Queene (1590-6), Sir Philip Sidney (1554-86), author of Astrophel and Stella, Robert Greene (1558-92), who left the posthumous Greene's Groats Worth of Witte (1592), taking a swipe at new kid on the block Shakespeare, Thomas Kyd (1558-94), author of The Spanish Tragedy (1582-92), the first English revenge play, and the most popular Elizabethan play, containing a play within a play, copied by Shakespeare in "Hamlet", George Chapman (1559-1634), the Rival Poet of Shakespeare's Sonnets, known for his translation of Homer, Christopher "Kit" Marowe (1564-93), author of Tamburlaine the Great (1587) Doctor Faustus, and The Jew of Malta (1592), Thomas Nashe (1567-1601), author of Summers Last Will and Testament (1592), with the famous lyric: "Adieu, farewell earths blisse,/ This world uncertain is/ Fond are life lustful joyes,/ Death proves them all but toyes,/ None from his darts can flye;/ I am sick, I must dye:/ Lord, have mercy on us", Sir William Alexander, Earl of Stirling (1567-1640), Ben Johnson (1572-1637), author of Volpone (1605-6), The Alchemist (1610), and Bartholomew Fayre (1614), and John Webster (1580-1635), the last. Excuse me while I yawn?
In 1585 left the provinces for London, the lights, the crowds, the excitement, joining a band of actors and promising to send money back to his family (an unhappy marriage, or too dangerous for them to come along?) In 1587 he signed up with one of the two chief playing companies, that of James Burbage, beginning his Johannes Factotum (Jack of All Trades) Age (1587-92).
Note: The Chronology of Shakespeare's Plays is disputed, but we will mostly stick to the one in Wikipedia since it's as good as any, and the price is right.
In 1589-91 Shakespeare wrote the comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona, his first play, which showed that he wasn't ready to handle scenes with more than four characters. It has the smallest cast of any Shakespeare play, and was the first in which the heroine (Julia) dresses as a boy. It borrows from Jorge de Montemayor's 1559 romance "Diana Enamorada", and John Lyly's 1589 play "Midas". It was not performed until 1762. Summary: Valentine, his clownish servant Speed and babe Silvia (daughter of the duke of Milan); friend Proteus, whose servant is Launce (whose dog is Crab), and who jilts his babe Julia (whose maid is Lucetta) for Sylvia, and gets Valentine banished so he can close in; meanwhile foolish Thurio has been chosen for Sylvia by her daddy, and closes in on her, while pissed-off Julia dresses in drag and becomes Proteus' page Sebastian to win him back, after which Proteus tries in vain to woo Silvia, and finally tries to rape her, but she is saved by Valentine, who then turns around and gives her to him for friendship's sake, causing Julia to faint, give her identity away, and cause Proteus to suddenly fall in love with her, allowing Valentine to marry Silvia. "To be in love, where scorn is bought with groans" (Valentine) (1.1.30); "I have no other, but a woman's reason;/ I think him so because I think him so" (1.2.23-4) (Lucetta); "They do not love that do not show their love. (Julia)/ O! they love least that let men know their love (Lucetta)" (1.2.31); "Though ne'er so black, say they have angels' faces./ That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man,/ If with his tongue he cannot win a woman" (3.1.103-4) (Valentine); "Nay then, the wanton lies; my face is black" (Thurio)/ "But pearls are fair, and the old saying is,/ Black men are pearls in beauteous ladies' eyes" (Proteus)/ 'Tis true, such pearls as put out ladies' eyes;/ For I had rather wink than look on them" (5.2.10-14) (Julia).
In 1590-4 Shakespeare wrote the comedy The Taming of the Shrew, which was first performed on June 13, 1594 at Newington Butts Theatre. Summary: Baptista of Padua has two daughters, the shrew Katherina and the beautiful money daughter Bianca, and holds off marrying Bianca until somebody takes Katherina off his hands; enter Petruchio, who tames her, allowing Lucentio to pay a fortune for the other. "I'll not budge an inch" (1.14); "Such duty as the subject owes the prince/ Even such a woman oweth to her husband" (Katherina) (5.2.156-7).
In 1590-1 Shakespeare wrote the history Henry VI, Pt. 2 ("The First part of the Contention betwixt the two famous Houses of Yorke and Lancaster, with the death of the good Duke Humphrey: And the banishment and death of the Duke of Suffolke, and the Tragicall end of the proud Cardinal of Winchester, with the notable Rebellion of Jack Cade: and the Duke of Yorke's first claim unto the Crowne"). Summary: Henry VI and his son Prince Edward of Wales (Edward VI), Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, Cardinal Beaufort, bishop of Winchester (great-uncle of Henry VI); Duke Richard Plantagenet of York and his son Duke Richard of Gloucester (Richard III); Edmund Beaufort, 2nd duke of Somerset; William de la Pole, 1st duke of Suffolk; Humphrey Stafford, 1st duke of Buckingham, Thomas Clifford, 8th baron de Clifford and his son John, Richard Neville, 5th earl of Salisbury; Richard Neville, 16th earl of Warwick, Thomas de Scales, 7th baron Scales; James Fiennes, 1st baron Saye and Sele. "Open your ears; for which of you will stop/ The vent of hearing when loud Rumor speaks?" (Intro., lines 1-2); "To weep is to make less the depth of grief" (2.1.85); "The game's afoot" (3.1.32); "Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep" (3.1.53); "Small things make base men proud" (4.1.106); "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" (Dick the Butcher) (4.2.83-4); "Presume not that I am the thing I was" (5.5.57). In 1590-1 he also wrote the history Henry VI, Pt. 3 (best of the three?). Summary: Henry VI, Queen Margaret of Anjou and son Prince Edward of Wales (Edward VI), Louis XI of France, Edmund Beaufort, 4th Duke of Somerset, Henry Holland, 3rd Duke of Exeter, John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford, Henry Percy, 3rd Earl of Northumberland, Ralph Neville, 2nd Earl of Westmorland, John Clifford, 9th Baron de Clifford, Duke Richard Plantagenet of York and his son Duke Richard of York (Richard III), Earl Edmund of Rutland, Duke George of Clarence, John Mowbray, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu, Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings. "O tiger's heart wrapped in a woman's hide!" (1.4.137); "The battle fares like to the morning's war,/ When dying clouds contend with growing light,/ What time the shepherd, blowing of his nails,/ Can neither call it perfect day nor night." (2.5.1-4); "Peace! Impudent and shameless Warwick, peace;/ Proud setter up and puller down of kings!" (3.3.156); "I'll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall;/ I'll slay more gazers than the basilisk;/ I'll play the orator as well as Nestor,/ Deceive more slily than Ulysses could,/ And, like a Sinon, take another Troy./ I can add colours to the chameleon,/ Change shapes with Proteus for advantages,/ And set the murderous Michiavel to school./ Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?/ Tut, were it farther off, I'll pluck it down." (3.3.187-94); "Hasty marriage seldom proveth well" (4.1.18); "A little fire is quickly trodden out/ Which, being suffered, rivers cannot quench" (Duke of Clarence) (4.8.7); "Why, what is pomp, rule, reign, but earth and dust?/ And, live how we can, yet die we must" (5.2.23-28); "Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind;/ The thief doth fear each bush an officer" (5.6.11-12); "Down, down to hell; and say I sent thee thither" (Gloucester) (5.6.69).
In 1591 Shakespeare wrote the history Henry VI, Pt. 1; his weakest play? In 1591-2 he wrote his first tragedy, the gory Titus Andronicus; Titus has 687 lines, 14th most. Summary: Roman Gen. Titus Andronicus vs. Gothic Queen Tamora; Titus' sons Lucius, Quintus, Martius, and Mutius; Tamora's sons Demetrius, Chiron, and Alarbus; Tamora's lover Aaron the Moor.
In 1592 Shakespeare wrote the history Richard III; Richard III has 1,124 lines, 3rd most. Summary: Edward IV of England (who usurped the throne from Henry VI), his brother George, Duke of Clarence, his other brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester (Richard III), his wife Elizabeth, Richard's ally the Duke of Buckingham, Lady Anne (widow of Edward, prince of Wales) (later Richard's wife), Henry VI's widow Margaret, the Earl of Richmond (Henry VII). "Now is the winter of our discontent/ Made glorious summer by this sun of York" (1.1.1); "No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity" (1.2.71); "Talkers are no good doers" (1.3.351); "A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!" (5.4.7).
In 1592-3 Thomas Kyd (1558-94) and Shakespeare wrote the history Edward III, which is filled with gibes against Scotland and its people. It was printed anonymously in 1596, and not incl. in the First Folio, which was pub. during the reign of Scottish king James I. Coincidence or not, on May 11, 1593 the English privy council ordered the arrest of all authors of "divers lewd and mutinous libels" that had been posted around London, and on May 12 Kyd was arrested at the Chislehurst home of Thomas Walsingham of Scadbury (1561-1630) (where he lived with Christopher Marlowe, who had been given the home to ride out the plague), and an Arian tract was found that "denies the eternal deity of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour", causing him to be tortured and rat out rommate Marlowe, who is arrested on May 20 to obtain his release; after appearing before the privy council and awaiting their decision, gay pedophile playwright ("They that love not tobacco and boys are fools") and blasphemy-loving ("Christ was a bastard and his mother unchaste", "The woman of Samaria and her sister were whores and Christ porked them", "St. John the Evangelist was Christ's gay bud and that's why he always leaned in his bosom, he used him as the sinners of Sodom") Christopher "Kit" Marlowe (1564-93) was killed (stabbed above the right eye) in a Deptford house brawl (after arguing over bill) by Ingram Frizer (-1627) (a member of Walsingham's secret service, along with Marlowe?) with a dagger that he snatched from Marlowe's hand (after Marlowe snatched it from him and attacked him first?), dying theatrically with a blood-curdling scream, cursing and blaspheming; Frizer got a royal pardon for self-defense on June 28; Kyd was ruined and soon died bankrupt; was Marlowe meeting with agents of Sir Robert Cecil about a secret mission to Scotland concerning James VI?; was the corpse of a murdered sailor substituted for Marlowe's for the inquiry, and Marlowe faked his death, going on to be the real Shakespeare?; the murder took place 4 mi. from the site of John Penry's execution. Marlowe's work established blank verse in English theater, although his bombastic, blood-and-thunder plots, filled with improbabilites and impossibilities and wildly ranting dialogue are no match for Shakespeare?
In 1593 Shakespeare began writing the 154 "sugred" Sonnets (finished 1609) about the Dark Lady, "black as hell as dark as night"; "Then I will swear Beauty herself is black/ And all they foul that thy complexion lack" (#132); "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" (#18); earliest was written in 1589?
In 1594 the Lord Chamberlain's Men was chartered by Lord Chamberlain (1585-96) Henry Carey (1687-1743), 1st Baron Hunsdon (1526-96), son of Anne Boleyn's sister Mary and first cousin to Elizabeth I; when he died his son George Carey, 2nd Baron Hunsdon (1547-1603) took over; Shakespeare worked for the company for most of his career. Besides Shakeaspare, the company's main actor was Richard Burbage (1568-1619), son of impresario James Burbage, who played the title role in Shakespeare's "Hamlet", "Othello", "Richard III", and "King Lear", having no problemo with the unprecedented number of lines he had to memorize. Too bad, he had to play second fiddle to tall London thespian Edward Alleyn (1566-1626), who specialized in Marlowe's and Kyd's plays, and never acted in one of Shakespeare's.
In 1594 Shakespeare wrote the comedy (his shortest play) The Comedy of Errors (The Night of Errors) (1770 lines total), about two sets of twins, Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant Dromio, and Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant Dromio; Adriana, Luciana, Egeon and Emilia, Angelo; only play to mention America. In 1594-5 he wrote the comedy Love's Labour's Lost, first pub. in 1597. Inspired by Sir Francis Bacon's travels in 1576-9 with Sir Amyas Paulet, English ambassador in France, incl. Navarre. Summary: the king of Navarre and his lords Berowne, Longaville and Dumain, the princess of France and her attendants Rosaline, Maria, and Katherine, and her advisor Boyet, Don Armado from Spain, country girl Jacquenetta and her beau Costard the clown, who plays "fast and loose" (1.2.153) by breaking the king's commandment to keep all women at least 1 mi. from his court for 3 years; Act 1 Scene 5 contains Shakespeare's longest word (27 letters) (uttered by Costard), "honorificabilitudinitatibus" (the state of being able to achieve honors); an anagram for "hi ludi, F. Baconis nati, tuiti orbi" (these plays, F. Bacon's offspring, are preserved for the world" and/or "I, B. Ionsonii, uurit a lift'd batch" (I, Ben Johnson, writ a lift'd batch) - let me floccinaucinihilipilificate about that a minute?
In 1595 Shakespeare might have written the comedy Love's Labour's Won, which was mentioned by Christopher Hunt in Aug. 1603 but never found.
Also in 1595 Shakespeare wrote the history Richard II (Richard II has 753 lines, 11th most). Summary: Richard II of England and his cousin Henry Bolingbroke (Henry IV), Henry's daddy John of Gaunt, Duke Edmund of York (John's brother), Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk. "The purest treasure mortal times afford/ Is spotless reputation" (1.1.177); "How long a time lies in one little word!" (1.3.213); "This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle/... This happy breed of men, this little world,/... This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,/ This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,/ Fear'd by their breed and famous by their birth" (2.1.40); "The ripest fruit first falls" (2.1.154); "You pluck a thousand dangers on your head/ You lose a thousand well-disposed hearts" (Edmund) (2.1.205-6); "Not all the water in the rough rude sea/ Can wash the balm from an anointed king" (3.2.54); "The worst is death, and death will have his day" (3.2.103); "And nothing can we call our own but death,/ And that small model of the barren earth/ Which serves as paste and cover to our bones./ For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground/ And tell sad stories of the death of kings.../ All murdered; for within the hollow crown/ That rounds the mortal temples of a king/ Keeps Death his court... and with a little pin/ Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king!" (3.2.152-170). "He is come to open/ the purple testament of bleeding war" (3.3.93); "And my large kingdom for a little grave,/ A little little grave, an obscure grave" (3.3.153).
Also in 1595 Shakespeare wrote the tragedy Romeo and Juliet, an update on the Pyramus and Thisbe story. Summary: Romeo Montague and his friend Mercutio, Juliet Capulet and her nurse and cousin Tybalt, Friar Laurence, Count Paris (whom Juliet jilts for Romeo); Romeo means "pilgrim to Rome" in Italian, Juliet means "youthful". "Two households, both alike in dignity"; "A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life" (Prologue, line 6); "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?/ Deny thy father, and refuse thy name;/ Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,/ And I'll no longer be a Capulet" (2.2.33); "What's in a name? that which we call a rose/ By any other name would smell as sweet" (2.2.43); "Call me but love, and I'll be new baptized" (2.2.50); "For stony limits cannot hold love out" (2.2.67); "At lovers' perjuries/ They say, Jove laughs" (2.2.92); "In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond" (2.2.98); "O! swear not by the Moon, the inconstant Moon,/ That monthly changes in her circled orb,/ Lest that thy love prove likewise variable" (2.2.109-11); "Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow,/ That I shall say good night till it be morrow" (Juliet) (2.2.184); "Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast" (2.3.94); "O flesh, flesh, how art thou fishified!" (2.4.41); "A plague o' both your houses!/ They have made worms' meat of me" (3.1.112); "Adversity's sweet milk, philosophy" (3.3.54); "Hang up philosophy!/ Unless philosophy can make a Juliet" (3.3.54); "My only love sprung from my only hate" (Juliet).
Also in 1595-6 Shakespeare wrote the comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream, composed for a noble marriage in the winter as a visualization of an ideal summer, and one of the few plots he didn't borrow from others. Ben Jonson points out that it is set on the eve of May Day. Summary: Duke Theseus of Athens and his fiance Hipollyta the Amazon are to be married on the first night of the new Moon, and are approached by lovers Lysander and Hermia for permission to marry, but he orders her to marry Demetrius instead or face death or a nunnery, causing Lysander and Hermia to plan a secret elopement in the woods, filled with fairies ruled by King Oberon (whose servant is Puck AKA Robin Goodfellow) and Queen Titania; meanwhile Helena, who was jilted by Demetrius tries to get him back by giving away their plan, while in the woods, Quince the Carpenter, Snug the Joiner, Bottom the Weaver, Flute the Bellows-Mender, Snout the Tinker, and Starvelin the Tailor decide to stage a play about tragic lovers Pyramus and Thisby, which they turn into a comedy, while Titania falls in love with an ass; after a bunch of doo doo all four lovers are found in the woods by the duke, who first wants to kill Lysander, then changes his mind after Demetrius says he now loves Helena, allowing the two marriages to proceed after viewing the play. "The course of true love never did run smooth" (1.1.132) (Lysander); "Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,/ And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind" (1.1.234) (Helena); "The most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death of/ Pyramus and Thisby" (1.2.11); "Over hill, over dale,/ Thorough bush, thorough brier,/ Over park, over pale,/ Thorough flood, thorough fire" (2.1.2); "Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania" (2.1.60); "I'll put a girdle round the earth/ In forty minutes" (2.1.175); "Lord, what fools these mortals be!" (3.2.115).
In June 1596 the Spanish merchant vessel San Andreas ran aground in Essex, England, causing William Shakespeare to refer to it in "The Merchant of Venice" when Salarino refers to "my wealthy Andrew docked in sand". In Aug. 1596 William Shakespeare's only son Hamnet (b. 1585) died, and he made the 2-day journey to Stratford-upon-Avon to see his family, after which he entered his Age of Histories (1596-99); his daddy John Shakespeare successfully applied for promotion to the rank of gentleman with a coat of arms, which has a falcon and golden guess what? In 1596 Shakespeare wrote the tragi-comedy The Merchant of Venice, written to capitalize on the success of Christopher Marlowe's 1592 play "The Jew of Malta". Summary: Shylock the Jew and his daughter Jessica, her lover Lorenzo, servant Launcelot, rich heiress Portia, merchant Antonio and his friend Bassanio (Portia's beau); the name Jessica (the original Jewish American princess?) is invented for the play; a rich Jew lends 3K ducats with the surety being a pound of Antonio's flesh (to get even for all his mistreatment), but it backfires bigtime. "Your mind is tossing on the ocean" (1.1.8); "You have too much respect upon the world:/ They lose it that do buy it with much care" (1.1.74); "What news on the Rialto?" (1.3.34); "The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose" (1.3.99); "But love is blind, and lovers cannot see/ The pretty follies that themselves commit" (2.6.36); "Young in limbs, in judgment old" (2.7.71); "Here are a few of the unpleasant'st words that ever blotted paper" (3.2.252); "I am not bound to please thee with my answers" (Shylock) (4.1.65); "The quality of mercy is not strain'd,/ It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven/ Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd" (4.1.184-6); "To do a great right, do a little wrong" (4.1.216); "He is well paid that is well satisfied" (4.1.416); "How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!/ Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music/ Creep in our ears" (5.1.54-6).
In 1596 James Burbage purchased the old Blackfriars Theatre in London (founded on the site of a 13th cent. Dominican monastery), whose lease was held in the mid-1580s by well-connected courtier and art patron Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604), but because of neighborhood pressure he couldn't use it for his company, so in 1599 it ended up being used by the pre-pubescent boys from the Chapel Royal under the name Children of the Chapel, who innovated with artificial lighting and music between acts while successfully charging high prices. In 1608 Burbage finally got control again, and used it for winter performances, with the Globe used during the summer. It was demolished on Aug. 6, 1655.
In 1596-7 Shakespeare wrote the history Henry IV, Pt. 1. Summary: Henry IV of England, his son Prince Hal, Hotspur (Henry Percy) (son of the earl of Northumberland), Sir John Falstaff, Welsh rebel Owen Glendower, English rebel Edmund Mortimer, Scottish rebel Earl of Douglas. "Sink or swim" (1.3.194); "I am not in the roll of common men" (3.1.43); "He was but as the cuckoo is in June,/ Heard, not regarded" (3.2.75); "My nearest and dearest enemy" (3.2.123); "The better part of valor is discretion" (5.4.130); "I have more flesh than another man, and therefore more frailty" (3.3.187); "The very life-blood of our enterprise" (4.1.28). In 1596-7 he also wrote Henry IV, Pt. 2; Falstaff has a total of 1,178 lines in Pts. 1 & 2. Summary: "It was always yet the trick of our English nation, if they have a good thing, to make it too common" (1.2.244); "He hath eaten me out of house and home" (2.1.82); "Let the end try the man" (2.2.53); "Is it not strange that desire should so many years outlive performance?" (2.4.283); "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown" (3.1.31); "O God! that one might read the book of fate" (3.1.45); "There is a history in all men's lives" (3.1.80); "A man can die but once; we owe God a death" (3.2.253); "We see which way the stream of time doth run/ And are enforc'd from our most quiet sphere/ By the rough torrent of occasion" (4.1.70); "The wish was father, Harry, to that thought!" (4.5.91); "Before thy hour be ripe" (4.5.95); "Commit the oldest sins the newest kind of ways" (4.5.124); "His cares are now all ended" (5.2.3); "How ill white hairs become a fool and jester!" (5.5.52).
In 1596-7 Shakespeare also wrote the comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor; Falstaff has 436 lines, which would make his the role with the most lines if the 1,178 from "Henry IV, Pts. 1&2" were added). Summary: Falstaff, Mistress Ford, Mistress Page, Master Ford, Master Page, Anne Page, Fenton and Anne, Doctor Caius, Hugh Evans. "in despite of the teeth of all rhyme and reason, that they were fairies" (Falstaff) (5.5.126-7).
In 1597 Love's Labour's Lost became the first play pub. under William Shakespeare's name. Financially fixed, he bought the timber-brick New Place on Chapel St., "a praty howse of brike and tymbar" (John Leland, Itinerary, 1540) (with 10 fireplaces), the 2nd largest house in Stratford-upon-Avon, built in 1486 by future lord mayor of London (1491-) Sir Hugh Clopton (1440-96), from William Underhall for £60 for his family; it was demolished in 1759 by Rev. Francis Gastrell.
In 1598-9 Shakespeare wrote the omedy, er, comedy Much Ado About Nothing, a pun on Much Ado About an O Thing, i.e., vagina. Summary: Prince Don Pedro of Arragon and his bastard brother Don Juan, Gov. Leonato of Messina and his niece Beatrice and her lover Benedick (bent his what on an O thing?), Leonato's daughter Hero and her lover Claudio, silly constable Dogberry. "I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your books (1.1.79); "I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face:/ I had rather lie in the woollen" (2.1.31); "As merry as the day is long" (2.1.52); "She speaks poniards, and every word stabs" (2.1.257); "I will tell you my drift" (2.1.406); ""To be a well-favored man is the gift of fortune, but to write and read comes by nature" (3.3.14); "There was never yet philosopher/ That could endure the toothache patiently" (5.1.35); "What though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle/ enough in thee to kill care" (5.1.135); "I was not born under a riming planet" (5.2.40).
In 1598-9 Shakespeare also wrote the history Henry V; Henry V has 1,025 lines, 5th most. Summary: Henry V of England, Charles of France and his daughter Princess Katherine ("Kiss me, Kate"), Welsh Capt. Fluellen, Pistol, Corporal Bardolph. "this wooden O" (Prologue 13); "That's the humor of it" (2.1.63); "As cold as any stone" (2.3.26); "I would give all my fame for a pot of ale, and safety" (3.2.14); "Men of few words are the best men" (3.2.40); "The fewer men, the greater share of honour" (4.3.22); "O Kate! Nice customs curtsy to great kings" (5.2.291).
In 1599 the Lord Chamberlain's Men built the 2.5K-seat open-roofed Globe Theatre (a 20-sided icosagon) in Southwark, London after Giles Allen, owner of the land under the N London Playhouse they had been performing in claimed to own the playhouse as well, causing them to dismantle the building at night and ferry it across the Thames to the S bank and rebuild it; Allen tried to take them to court but lost.
In 1599 Shakespeare wrote the tragedy Julius Caesar; Brutus has 701 lines, 12th most; Caesar speaks less than 150 lines, and is murdered in Act 3 Scene 1. Summary: Julius Caesar and his wife Calphurnia, Mark Antony, Octavius Caesar, Marcus Brutus ("the noblest Roman of them all" - Antony, 5.5.68), Cassius ("Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: Such men are dangerous" - Caesar), Lepidus; the 2nd of four Shakespeare plays to have a ghost on stage ("Great Caesar's ghost") (Richard III, Hamlet, Macbeth). "It was Greek to me" (Casca) (1.2.288); "... and there have sat/ The livelong day, with patient expectation,/ To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome" (Marullus) (1.1.38-43); "Beware the ides of March" (1.2.18); "Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world/ Like a Colossus" (Cassius) (1.2.133-4); "Cowards die many times before their deaths;/ The valiant never taste of death but once." (Caesar) (2.2.32-3); "I am constant as the northern star" (Caesar) (3.1.60); "Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar" (Caesar's last words) (3.1.77); "Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more" (Brutus) (3.2.21); "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;/ I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him./ The evil that men do lives after them,/ The good is oft interred with their bones" (Antony) (3.2.79-82); "For Brutus is an honorable man;/ So are they all, all honorable men" (3.2.88-9); "Ambition should be made of sterner stuff" (3.2.98); "This was the most unkindest cut of all" (3.2.188); "Cry Havoc!, and let slip the dogs of war" (3.1.273); "Put a tongue/ In every wound of Caesar, that should move/ The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny" (3.2.232-3); "Forever and forever, farewell, Cassius!/ If we do meet again, why, we shall smile;/ If not, why then, this parting was well made" (5.1.117); "It is is impossible... to look without a revulsion... at this travestying of a great man as a silly braggart, whilst the pitiful gang of mischief-makers who destroyed him are lauded as statesmen and patriots" (George Bernard Shaw).
In 1599-1600 Shakespeare wrote the comedy As You Like It, based on Thomas Lodge's prose romance "Rosalynde" (1590); Rosalind has 668 lines, 16th most. Summary: Set in the Arden Forest in Warwickshire or the Ardennes in France; The Duke, his cross-dressing daughter Rosalind/Ganymede (most admirable Shakespeare character?) and her Herculean wrestler lover Orlando (son of Sir Rowland de Boys), the Duke's brother Duke Frederick, his attending lords Jaques (pr. likes Jakes) and Amiens, his courtier Le Beau, "motley fool" Touchstone the clown (truant court jester) (a touchstone to prove Rosalind's golden spirit), vicar Sir Oliver Martext, Orlando's brother Oliver and Rosalind's friend Celia/Aliena (daughter of Frederick), lovesick shepherd Silvius and Phoebe, old faithful servant Adam (played by Shakespeare); "Sweep on, you fat and greasy citizens" (2.1.55); "I met a fool i' th' forest,/ A motley fool" (Jaques) (2.7.12-13); "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players" (Jaques) (2.7.139-40); "Time travels in divers paces with divers persons" (3.2.328); "When a man's verses cannot be understood, nor a man's good wit seconded with the forward child, understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room" (Touchstone) (3.3.9-11) (reference to Marlowe?); "Dead shepherd, now I find thy saw of might: "Who ever lov'd that lov'd not at first sight?" (3.5.91) (from Christopher Marlowe); "Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love" (Rosalind) (4.1.103); "Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?" (Rosalind) (4.1.116-7); "Men are April when they woo, December when they wed. Maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives" (Rosalind) (4.1.136-8).
In 1600-8 William Shakespeare entered his Dark Vision Age. Meanwhile in Feb.-Mar. 1600 William Kempe (-1603), an actor in Shakespeare's plays (Falstaff) did his "Nine Daies Wonder", a Morris dance from London to Norich in nine days spread over several weeks to cheering crowds.
On Feb. 7, 1601 after Elizabeth's fallen favorite Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex (1565-1601) was placed under arrest for messing up a 1599 campaign against the Irish, Shakespeare and the Lord Chamberlain's Men were paid by Essex's Welsh friend Sir Gelly (Gelli) Meyrick (1556-1601) to stage a production of Richard II with its banned abdication scene at the Globe Theatre in Southwark in order to rouse the London pop.; on Feb. 8 the half-baked tragicomical Essex Rebellion against old fart Elizabeth I (whom he claims he just wants to protect, assuming the title of Lord Protector after putting her under house arrest for her own good?) failed after the pop. doesn't go for it, and Lord Adm. Charles Howard et al. suppress the rebels; on Feb. 25 Essex was beheaded after "he acknowledged, with thankfulness to God, that he was justly spewed out of the realm"; Sir Walter Raleigh, who took part in suppressing the rebellion presided over the execution as capt. of the guard; four others were executed, 49 imprisoned or fined, and Lady Rich and 30 others set free; the popular songs Essex's Last Good Night and Sweet England's Pride Is Gone, Well-a-day, Well-a-day are born; on Feb. 12 Capt. Lea was arrested in the palace kitchen on the way to the chamber where the queen sups, planning to force her at knifepoint to release Essex; he was tried at Newgate on Feb. 14 and hanged at Tyburn on Feb. 15 by Thomas Derrick, who invented a spar with a topping lift and pulleys for hanging, causing the word "derrick" to be coined; on Feb. 19 Shakespeare's handsome bi blue-eyed patron Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton (1573-1624) was tried along with Essex for treason and condemned to death, but eventually released by James I.
In 1600-1 Shakespeare wrote the tragedy The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, based on Gesta Romanorum (Historia Danica), a history of Denmark until 1185 in 16 vols. by Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus (1150-1220); a first vers. was written in 1588-93?; set in Elsinore (Helsingor) (site of Kronborg Castle); hammy Hamlet has 1,422 lines, most of any Shakespearean role. Summary: Danish prince Hamlet avenges the murder of his father the king by killing evil uncle Claudius while fighting bipolar disease?; Prince Hamlet of Denmark, King Claudius of Denmark (Hamlet's uncle) and Queen Gertrude (Hamlet's mother), sententious advisor Polonius and his son Laertes and daughter (Hamlet's babe?) Ophelia (who goes mad); Norwegian Prince Fortinbras; Hamlet's loyal friend Horatio and disloyal friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; the fictitious play "The Murder of Gonzago". "Not a mouse stirring" (1.1.10); "The memory be green" (1.2.2); "Frailty, thy name is woman!" (1.2.146); "It is not nor it cannot come to good" (1.2.158); "Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral baked meats/ Did coldly furnish forth the marriage table" (Hamlet) (1.2.180-1); "In my mind's eye, Horatio" (1.2.185); "I doubt some foul play" (1.2.254); "Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,/ Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,/ Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,/ Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,/ And recks not his own rede" (1.3.51-5); "Neither a borrower nor a lender be,/ For loan oft loses both itself and friend" (Polonius) (1.3.75-6); "This above all: to thine own self be true,/ And it must follow, as the night the day,/ Thou canst not then be false to any man" (Polonius to Laertes) (1.3.78-82); "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" (1.4.90); "Murder most foul, as in the best it is" (1.5.27); "Yea, from the table of my memory/ I'll wipe away all trivial fond records" (1.5.98-9); "Within the book and volume of my brain" (1.5.103); "One may smile, and smile, and be a villain" (1.5.108); "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy" (Hamlet) (1:5.166); "To put an antic disposition on" (1.5.172); "The time is out of joint" (1.5.188); "They say an old man is twice a child" (2.2.413); "The play, I remember, pleased not the million; 'twas/ caviare to the general" (2.2.465); "They are the abstracts and brief chronicles of the time" (2.2.555); "Oh! what a rogue and peasant slave am I" (2.2.584); "What's Hecuba to him or he to Hecuba,/ That he should weep for her?" (2.2.593); "Brevity is the soul of wit... More matter, with less art" (2.2.90-5); "The apparel oft proclaims the man" (Polonius); "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" (2.2.259); "This goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory" (2.2.317); "What a piece of work is a man! How noble in/ reason! how infinite in faculty! in form, in moving,/ how express and admirable! in action how like an/ angel! in apprehension how like a god!" (2.2.322-5); "The play's the thing/ Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king" (Hamlet) (2.2.641); "To be, or not to be: that is the question/ Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer/ The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,/ Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,/ And by opposing end them?/... To die, to sleep;/ To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;/ For in that sleep of death what dreams may come/ When we have shuffled off this mortal coil/ Must give us pause" (Hamlet) (3.1.56-68); "The undiscover'd country from whose bourn/ No traveler returns" (3.1.79-80); "There's hope a great man's memory may outlive his life half a year" (3.2.141); "For 'tis a question left us yet to prove,/ Whether love lead fortune or else fortune love" (Player King) (3.2.197-8); "The lady doth protest too much, methinks" (3.2.242); "My words fly up, my thoughts remain below/ Words without thoughts never to heaven go" (Claudius) (3.3); "Oh shame! where is thy blush?" (3.4.82); "I must be cruel only to be kind" (3.4.178); "A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king,/ and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm" (4.3.29); "We know what we are, but know what we may be" (4.5.43); "Alas! poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of/ infinite jest, or most excellent fancy" (5.1.201-2); "Sweets to the sweet: farewell" (5.1.265); "And dog will have his day" (5.1.313); "There's a divinity that shapes our ends,/ Rough-hew them how we will" (5.2.10); "It did me yeoman's service" (5.2.36); "The rest is silence" (Hamlet's last words) (5.2.372); "Good night, sweet prince,/ And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!" (5.2.373); an "artistic failure" (T.S. Eliot); "The only objection to Hamlet is that it exists" (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
In 1601-4 William Shakespeare entered his Dark (Bitter) Comedy Age, producing three "dark comedies" "Twelfth Night", "All's Well That Ends Well", and "Measure for Measure". In 1601 Shakespeare wrote the comedy (his funniest play?) Twelfth Night (What You Will), named after it debuts on Jan. 6, 1602 (Epiphany, manifestation of the Christ child to the Magi). Summary: Countess Olivia and her suitor Duke Orsino of Illyria on the E coast of the Adriatic, shipwrecked Viola/Cesario and her twin brother Sebastian, rescued by homoerotic Antonio (played by Shakespeare?), Olivia's drunken uncle Toby Belch, never-smiling steward Malvolio (satire of Ben Jonson and his comedy of the two humors, choler and blood, AKA Thanatos and Eros, the first of which causes fury, the second lust?), silly knight-suitor Sir Andrew Aguecheek, maid Maria, butler Fabian, and clown Feste; Viola pretends to be a eunuch named Cesario so she can work for her dream man Orsino, and when she attempts to convince his love Olivia (whose family died earlier, causing her to become an ice queen), it backfires and Olivia goes for him/her, suggesting a lez relationship that cannot be in this Jacobean era where everyone has a natural place; meanwhile drunken Toby Belch pushes Aguecheek on Olivia, and after a bunch of antics, where Maria fools Malvolio into thinking Olivia's in love with him with a fake letter, which causes him to get locked up in a dark room for lunacy, and Sebastian is confused with Cesario by Olivia, it all comes out right when Olivia marries Sebastian, Viola marries Orsino, and Belch marries Maria, restoring the natural order (it works just as good when Olivia pairs with Viola, and Sebastian with Orsino, and Antonio, Aguecheek, Fabian and Malvolio meet again in a gay bar?); Antonio ends up pairless after crying, "Which is Sebastian"; poor Malvolio is so mistreated he walks off swearing that he'll "be revenged on the whole pack of you". "If music be the food of love, play on" (Orsino) (1.1.1); "Love's night is noon" (Olivia) (3.1.162); "Then westward-ho!" (3.1.148); "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them" (Malvolio).
In 1601 Shakespeare wrote the comedy-tragedy Troilus and Cressida, which was not performed at the Globe because of the resemblance between Achilles and the Earl of Essex, or because lying "dog-fox" politician Ulysses resembles court personages. Summary: Trojan lovers Troilus and Cressida, who leaves him for Diomedes after being sent to the Greek camp in a POW exchange, after which Troilus' brother Hector is murdered by Achilles; Paris, Ulysses, Ajax, Margarelon (Priam's bastard son), Cressida's VD-infected pimp uncle Pandarus (source of the verb "to pander"), Greek slave Thersites ("a deformed and scurrilous Greek"); a speech by Ulysses to Achilles makes the word "fashionable" fashionable. "Men prize the thing ungain'd more than it is" (1.2.313); "This is the monstruosity in love, lady: That the will is infinite, and the execution confined: that the desire is boundless, and the act a slave to limit" (Troilus) (3.2.79-81); "The fractions of her faith, orts of her love... are given to Diomed" (Troilus) (5.2.157-9); "O, 'tis fair play" (Troilus) (5.3.40-43).
On Jan. 17, 1603 Elizabeth I dined with Lord Thomas Howard at the Charterhouse, and created him Lord Howard de Walden, then on Jan. 21 moved her court from Whitehall to "her warm winter box" of Richmond, wearing summer clothes in the cold weather, and telling Lord Nottingham, "My seat hath been the seat of kings, and I will have no rascal to succeed me; and who should succeed me but a king?"; on Feb. 6 she made her last public appearance, receiving Venetian envoy (first during her reign) Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli, speaking to him in Italian and gloating about scoring a coup against the pope by getting the Doge to recognize her after 45 years; on Feb. 16 she okayed a pardon for Irish rebel Hugh O'Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone, and attended the funeral of her cousin and closest female friend the Countess of Notthingham, daughter of Lord Hunsdon at Richmond, going into a depression and having to have her coronation ring sawed off after it became impacted, then wrote to Henry IV of France that "All the fabric of my reign, little by little, is beginning to fail"; on Feb. 26 she delayed a meeting with French ambassador de Beaumont; in Mar. she developed a fever, rallied on Mar. 11, relapsed on Mar. 12, refused medical treatment and food, lay on the floor on cushions in her clothes, developed pneumonia, and refused to be put in bed, explaining that "If she once lay down, she would never rise"; on Mar. 17 after being lifted into a low chair, and being helped to rise, she remained standing for 15 hours, then was helped back onto her cushions, remaining for 4 more days in 3-week-old clothes, then on Mar. 21 finally took to bed; meanwhile the rumors caused tons of people to head for Scotland to be with King James VI when the good, er, bad news arrived; after a bunch of woo woo woo stuff and giving her soul to Jesus she finally died before 3 a.m. on Mar. 24 (Thur.), lying on her back with her face to the wall "mildly like a lamb, easily, like a ripe apple from a tree, as the most resplendent sun setteth at last in a western cloud", according to her chaplain Dr. Parry; she died after viewing Hamlet, which debuted earlier in the year; at her death, there was not a single known English colonist in the New World (except possibly the lost colonists of Roanoke, who went injun). On Mar. 24, 1603 James I (1566-1625) (James VI of Scotland since 1567) became king of England, attempting in vain to unite Scotland with England, while dissing tobacco and sponsoring the King James Bible (1604-11), which Shakespeare probably helped with, at least the Psalms. He launched the Bible-thumping Jacobean Era, which saw England move into North America, starting with Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, Newfoundland in 1610, and Plymouth, Mass. in 1620.
On May 19, 1603 James I "licences and authorizes" Elizabeth I's Lord Chamberlain's Men, who are renamed the King's Men, and perform at the English royal court more than any other company, giving almost 200 performances in the next 10 years, modulo a little self-censorship to avoid boring or shocking kingey. James I visited widowed brain babe (poet, scholar and theologian) Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke (1561-1621) in her estate at Wilton, where she was entertained by the King's Men and probably met Shakespeare, after which she moved to London; is she the real author of the First Folio, her connections to executed traitor Lady Jane Grey and her gender causing her to have to use him as her front, stay tuned? Too bad, in Dec. 1603 bubonic plague kills 33K in London (25% of the pop.), causing the theaters to be closed; on Nov. 1, 1604 William Shakespeare's Othello premieres at London's Whitehall Palace after the theaters are allowed to open. Also in 1603 the Mermaid Tavern in London was founded by Sir Walter Raleigh, and was frequented by literary wits including Shakespeare, Ben Jonson (1572-1637), Francis Beaumont (1584-1616), John Fletcher (1579-1625), John Donne (1572-1631) et al.
On July 19, 1603 after the "Main Plot" (dethronement of James I) was uncovered, naughty Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618) was arrested on charges of treason against James I and canned in the Tower, tried under commissioner Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton, found guilty and sentenced to death, then reprieved 24 hours before the scheduled execution, spending the next 13 years there (until 1616), where he proceeded to research in alchemy and write The History of the World.
In 1603-4 Shakespeare wrote the comedy Measure for Measure; Vincentio has 820 lines, 7th most). Based on "Promos and Cassandra" by George Whetstone. The title is an allusion to Christ's Sermon on the Mount ("With what measure yet mete, it shall be measured to you again"); the first play Shakey writes after giving up acting? Summary: Duke Vicentio of Vienna and dickteaser Isabella, Isabella's brother Claudio and Juliet, Angelo and Mariana, ducal advisor Escalus, rogue ("fantastic") Lucio and the whore Kate Keepdown, condemned murderer Barnardine; Vienna is a hotbed of lechery according to Duke Vicentio, so he entrusts supposedly pure Angelo to clean it up by enforcing a capital law against unmarried sex while pretending to leave town but actually disguising himself as a friar; Angelo condemns Claudio to death for doing it with his wife before marriage, causing his sister, wannabe nun Isabella to plead for him, but she's such a babe that he can't control his lusts and makes her decide between giving herself to him or having Claudio tortured, which she refuses even though Claudio says go for it; meanwhile he has rogue Lucio condemned for you know what with a whore; the disguised duke overhears it all and gets Angelo's past jilted lover Mariana to sub for Isabella in a bed trick, but Angelo orders Claudio executed anyway; happily, the duke gets the jailer to substitute condemned prisoner Barnardine for him, who refuses to be executed, then returns sansa disguise, straightens everything out, saves all the necks, and makes Angelo marry Mariana, Claudio marry Juliet, and Lucio marry his whore, then asks for Isabella's hand for himself, which she apparently consents to without saying anything?; "It is excellent to have a giant's strength, but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant" (Isabella) (2.2.107-9); "I swear I will not die today for any man's persuasion" (Bernardine) (4.3.59); "Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure,/ Like doth quit like, and Measure still for Measure" (5.1.411); "What's mine is yours, and what is yours is mine" (5.1.539).
Also in 1603-4 Shakespeare wrote the tragedy Othello; Othello has 860 lines, 6th most, and Iago 1,094, 4th most. Based on Cinthio's "Hecatommithi". Summary: black Venetian Gen. Othello the Moor and his way younger white Venetian wife Desdemona, daughter of Brabantio, who marries him because "she did pity them" (1.3.169); "demi-devil" villain Iago, 3rd in command to Othello, who resents his promotion over his head of Cassio ("motiveless malignity" - Samuel Taylor Coleridge) escorts them along with his wife Emilia on a little jaunt to Cyprus to kick Turk butt, poisoning his mind about her by framing her hooking up with Cassio, causing Othello to murder her, find out that he was tricked, and stab and kill himself, with the soundbyte "One that loved not wisely, but too well"; Desdemona's former beau Roderigo. "An old black ram is tupping your white ewe" (1.1.88); "Play the villain" (2.3.345); "O beware, my lord, of jealousy/ It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock/ That meat it feeds on" (3.3.165-7); "I am declined into the vale of years" (3.3.265); "But this denoted a foregone conclusion" (Iago) (3.3.429-30); "Pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war" (3.3.355); "I hate the Moor" (Iago).
In 1605-6 Shakespeare wrote the tragedy (his best play?) King Lear; Lear has 697 lines, 13th most. Summary: Aging English King Lear asks his daughters Goneril (eldest) (bad) (wife of the Duke of Albany), Regan (Gael. "little king") (bad) (wife of the Duke of Cornwall), and Cordelia (Lat. "heart") (good) to tell him who loves him most, and the bad liars split faithful Cordelia's share of the kingdom, while she is exiled to France along with his former trusted adviser the Earl of Kent; the bad sisters then turn on daddy, take away his servants and force him to spend the night outdoors during a storm accompanied only by his jester the Fool, causing him to go mad, after which Cordelia returns and helps him restore his sanity, only to see the armies of the bad sisters capture them and kill Cordelia; Goneril then poisons Regan over a man they both love, then kills herself, leaving Lear mourning over the body of Cordelia; meanwhile the Earl of Gloucester banishes his good son Edgar in favor of bad son Edmund after he forges a document to ruin him, then Edmund has Regan's husband blind his father, causing him to see the er, light too late; "Nothing will come of nothing" (1.1.92); "Come not between the dragon and his wrath" (1.1.124); "The infirmity of his age" (1.1.296); "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is/ To have a thankless child" (Lear) (1.4.312); "The prince of darkness is a gentleman" (3.4.147); "Do me no foul play, friends" (Gloucester) (3.7.30-31); "The wheel is come full circle" (5.3.176).
In 1605-6 Shakespeare also wrote the tragedy Timon of Athens; Timon has 795 lines, 9th most. Summary: Timon and his faithful steward Flavius and false friend Vertidius, philosopher Apemantius, "planetary plague" Athenian Capt. Alcibiades.
In 1606 Shakespeare wrote the tragedy Macbeth; Macbeth has 681 lines, 15th most). Summary: Set in Dunsinane (Glamis) Castle 5 mi. S of Forfar in Angus; "a tempest set to music"; a ripoff of the Adam and Eve story, of course blaming Eve?; the Three Weird Sisters; King Duncan I "the Sick" (-1040) of Scotland and sons Malcolm (Malcom III Canmore) ("big head") (1031-93) and Donalbain (Donalbane) (Donald Bane) "the Fair" (-1099); "red king" (1040-57) Macbeth (-1057), thane (earl) of Glamis and Cawdor, and his goading ambitious wife Lady Macbeth (Gruoch), Macbeth's friend Banquo and his son Fleance, Macduff (loyal to Duncan), "untimely ripped from his mother's womb" (5.8.15-16) (Cesarian section?); "Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him" (4.1.92-3) (see 1054 C.E.); "So foul and fair a day I have not seen" (Macbeth) (1.3.38); "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well/ It were done quickly" (Macbeth) (1.7.1-3); "I have no spur/ To prick the sides of my intent, but only/ Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself/ And falls on th' other" (Macbeth) (1.7.25-28); "I am one, my liege,/ Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world/ Hath so incensed that I am reckless what/ I do to spite the world" (3.1.108-11); "Double, double, toil and trouble;/ Fire burn and caldron bubble" (4.1.10-11); "Bleed, bleed, poor country:/ Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure" (Macduff) (4.3.32-33); "What, all my pretty chickens, and their dam,/ At one fell swoop?" (Macduff) (4.3.218-9); "Out, damned spot!" (Lady Macbeth) (5.1.36); "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow/ Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,/ To the last syllable of recorded time;/ And all our yesterdays have lighted fools/ The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!/ Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player/ That struts and frets his hour upon the stage/ And then is heard no more. It is a tale/ Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury/ Signifying nothing" (Macbeth) (5.5.19-28). That year Shakespeare's Macbeth debuted at Hampton Court before James I and his brother-in-law Christian of Denmark.
In 1606 Shakespeare also wrote the tragedy Antony and Cleopatra; Antony has 766 lines, 10th most. Summary: Roman Gen. Mark Antony (ruler of the E) and his babe Queen Cleopatra of Egypt, Octavius Caesar (ruler of the W) and sister Octavia (Antony's wife), Lepidus (ruler of the S), Pompey; Cleopatra's attendant Charmian, who follows her to aspy death. "My salad days,/ When I was green in judgment" (Cleopatra) (1.5.73); "The triple pillar of the world transform'd/ Into a strumpet's fool" (1.1.12-13) (Philo, about Antony); "Ambition,/ The soldier's virtue" (3.1.22).
In 1606-7 Shakespeare wrote the comedy All's Well That Ends Well (last play in which Shakespeare acted?), based on "The Palace of Pleasure", tr. by William Painter. Summary: Bertram, Count of Rossillion marries adoring wife Helena (an orphan who was raised by his mother the Countess of Rossillion), then dumps her as too low class, writing her a letter saying that she can never call him husband unless she gets a ring from his finger and becomes pregnant by him, which she proceeds to do by taking the place of a girl he falls for; Lord Lafew, Diana, Parolles ("words"); "My friends were poor, but honest" (1.3.203); "They say miracles are past" (2.3.1); "A young man married is a man that's marr'd" (2.3.314); "The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together" (4.3.68); "All's well that ends well; still the fine's the crown./ Whate'er the course, the end is the renown" (Helena) (4.4.35-6).
In 1607 Shakespeare wrote the comedy Pericles, Prince of Tyre; Pericles has 592 lines, 20th most. Summary: Pericles and his wife Princess Thalsa of Pentapolis, their daughter Marina, and their counselor Lord Helicanus; Tarsus Gov. Haymarket Square, Cleon, Lord Cerimon of Ephesus; Pericles is parted from his wife and daughter and presumes them dead, but reunites with them at the end; Pericles discovers the secret that King Antiochus had incest with his daughter Thalsa.
In 1607-8 Shakespeare wrote the tragedy The Tragedy of Coriolanus; Coriolanus has 809 lines, 8th most). Summary: Set in 490 B.C.E.; Roman Gen. Caius Martius (Coriolanus), his mother Volumnia and friend Menenius Agrippa, Rome's sole consul Gen. Cominius (no tribunes), Volscian Gen. Tullus Aufidius (Coriolanus' enemy); Corioli is the Volscian city that you-know-how single-handedly conquers, then is banished from Rome, joins his enemies, and returns, being talked out of it at the last moment by mommy, causing the Volscians to kill him. "Action is eloquence" (3.2.76) (Volumnia).
In Aug. 1608 the King's Men took over the roofed-in Blackfriars Theatre, which was smaller than the Globe but could stage performances at night and in winter and charge more; in Sept. (momma's boy?) William Shakespeare's mother Mary died, and he entered his Fancy Free Age (1608-13).
In 1609-10 Shakespeare wrote the comedy A Winter's Tale; Leontes has 648 lines, 17th most. Summary: King Leontes of Sicilia and his wife Queen Hermione, son Prince Mamillius, and daughter Perdita ("marooned"), who is marooned on "the sea-coast of Bohemia"; King Polixenes of Bohemia and his son Prince Florizel; thief Autolycus, Sicilian lord Antigonus and his wife Paulina; Leontes' advisor Camillo, who refuses to poison Polixenes and helps him escape after Leontes gets jealous of Polixenes, thinking he's hooking up with his wife Hermione, with Leontes uttering the soundbyte "And many a man there is, even at this present,/ Now while I speak this, holds his wife by th'arm,/ That little thinks she has been sluiced in's absence/ And his pond fished by his next neighbor, by/ Sir Smile, his neigbor" (1.2.192-6); after Polixenes escapes, Leontes imprisons Hermione and has her newborn child Perdita abandoned, after which Mamillius dies pining for his mother Hermione, who dies of a broken heart, after which Leontes wakes up, and tries to find Perdita in vain, after which she grows up and hooks up 16 years later with Florizel, is revealed as Leontes' daughter, and Perdita is found to be playing a statue to keep away from him, but now hooks back up with him, for a happy ending, except for Mammilius; "You pay a great deal too dear for what's given freely" (1.1); We were, fair queen,/ Two lads that thought there was no more behind/ But such a day to-morrow as to-day,/ And to be boy eternal/... We were as twinned lambs that did frisk i' the sun,/ And bleat the one at the other: what we changed/ Was innocence for innocence; we knew not/ The doctrine of ill-doing, nor dream/d/ That any did/... 1.2.78-87) (Polixenes to Hermione about him and Leontes in their youth); "But to be paddling palms and pinching fingers,/ As now they are, and making practised smiles,/ As in a looking-glass" (Leontes) (1.2.115-7); "How like, methought, I then was to this kernel, This squash, this Gentleman" (1.2); "A sad tale's best for winter: I have one/ Of sprites and goblins" (Mamilius) (2.1.25-26); "It is a heretic that makes the fire,/ Not she who burns in 't" (2.3); "I am a feather for each wind that blows" (2.3); "What's gone and what's past help/ Should be past grief" (3.2.223-4) (Paulina to Hermione); "Exit, pursued by a bear" (meaning Antigonus) (3.3.58); "For the red blood reigns in the winter's pale" (Autolycus) (4.3.4); "A snapper-up of unconsidered trifles" (Autolycus) (4.3.1); "Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance" (Autolycus) (4.4.712-3); "I love a ballad in print o'life, for then we are sure they are true" (4.4); "To unpathed waters, undreamed shores" (4.4); "'Tis time; descend; be stone no more; approach" (Paulina to the statue of Hermione) (5.3.99).
Also in 1609 the quarto ed. of Shakespeare's Sonnets was pub.. ""When forty winters shall seige thy brow,/ And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field" (Sonnet 2, line 1); "Everything that grows/ Holds in perfection but a little moment" (Sonnet 15, line 1); "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?/ Thou art more lovely and more temperate./ Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,/ And summer's lease hath all too short a date." (Sonnet 18, lines 1-4); "Clean starved for a look" (Sonnet 75, line 10); "Lillies that fester smell far worse than weeds" (Sonnet 94, line 14); "To me, fair friend, you never can be old,/ For as you were when first your eye I ey'd,/ Such seems your beauty still" (Sonnet 104, line 1); "For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright,/ Who art as black as hell, as dark as night" (Sonnet 147, line 13).
In 1610-11 Shakespeare wrote the comedy The Tragedy of Cymbeline. Summary: Cymbeline, Celtic king of Britain and his queen, Posthumous and Imogen, Pisanio, Cloten, Belarius, Guiderius (Polydore), Arviragus (Cadwal), Iachimo. "Hath his bellyful of fighting" (2.1.24); "Hark! hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings" (2.3.22); "The game is up" (3.3.107); "Slander,/ Whose edge is sharper than the sword" (3.4.35); "I have not slept one wink" (3.4.103).
In 1610 Shakespeare wrote the comedy The Tempest for the marriage of German "Winter King" Friedrich V and Elizabeth of Bohemia; his last play written without the collaboration of John Fletcher, and the first play in the First Folio; Prospero has 603 lines, 19th most. Summary: Prospero (duke of Milan) ("the favored one") (It. trans. of Faustus), Miranda, Alonso, Ferdinand, Antonio, Sebastian, Ariel (Heb. "lion of God") (a sprite), "savage and deformed slave", "howling monster", "drunken monster", "most scurvy monster: Caliban (father is a sea devil, mother is the Algerian witch Sycorax), Trinculo; In 1878 French writer Ernest Renan (1823-92) pub. Caliban, claiming that Caliban represents democracy, Prospero autocracy, and Ariel the religious establishment, which flourishes in the service of Prospero under the govt. of the many-headed brute Caliban. "Our revels now are ended. These our actors,/ As I foretold you, were all spirits, and/ Are melted into air, into thin air" (Prospero) (4.1.148-50); "How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, /That has such people in 't!" (Miranda) (5.1.183-4); "strange bedfellows" (Trinculo and Caliban) (2.2). The 1956 film Forbidden Planet, starring Walter Pidgeon, Leslie Nielsen, and Anne Francis was based on this play.
In 1612-13 Shakespeare and John Fletcher (1579-1625) wrote the comedy Cardenio, based on Miguel Cervants' "Don Quixote"; it is now lost; in 2010 English prof. Brean Hammond claimed that Lewis Theobald's 1727 play "Double Falsehood" is based on it, like he claimed all along.
Also in 1612-13 Shakespeare and Fletcher wrote the history Henry VIII, or All Is True. "No man's pie is freed/ From his ambitious finger" (1.1.52); "The mirror of all courtesy" 2.1.53); "I would not be a queen/ For all the world" (2.3.45); "Press not a falling man too far" (3.2.334).
In 1613 Shakespeare and Fletcher wrote the comedy The Two Noble Kinsmen. Summary: Theseus, Duke of Athens and Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, Emilia, Palamon, and Arcite. "O grief and time,/ Fearful consumers, you will all devour!" (1.1.69-70);
On June 29, 1613 the Globe Theatre in Southwark, London burned down in two hours after a loose dick, er, tom, er cannon was set off during a performance of Shakespeare's "Henry VIII"; no one was hurt and the Globe was rebuilt in June 1614, and closed in 1642. Too bad, at the pinnacle of his career Shakespeare retired to New Place in Stratford-upon-Avon, also buying a house in Blackfriars. John Fletcher took over as the house playwright for the King's Men, from spears to arrows.
In Feb. 1616 William Shakespeare's and Anne Hathaway's daughter Judith Shakespeare (1585-1662) married Thomas Quiney (1589-1655), a vintner in Stratford-upon-Avon; they had sons Shakespeare Quiney (1616-17), Richard Quiney (1617-39), and Thomas Quiney (1619-39). On Apr. 23, 1616 (his birthday?) well-to-do retired William Shakespeare (b. 1564) died of fever in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, leaving 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems et al.; he coined 6.7K English words; his last will and testament leaves the bulk of his estate to his daughter and her husband, leaving his "second best bed" to his wife; his literary work isn't mention in his will; he was buried in the same place where he had been christened, Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon; his epitaph is "Curst be he that moves my bones", keeping him from being buried in Westminster Abbey?
In 1616 Wurttemberg-born theologian Johann Valentin Andreae (1586-1654) anon. pub. Chymische Hochzeit Christiani Rosenkreutz Anno 1459 (The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz in 1459 C.E.) in Strasbourg, one of the three founding works of the Rosicrucians (1614, 1615); Sir Francis Bacon (who is suspected of being the real Shakespeare) is a Rosicrucian, as are many of Shakespeare's plays?; Andreae later claims authorship in his autobio., and calls it a "ludibrium" (lampoon).
In Nov. 1623 the First Folio (Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, Published According to the True Originall Copies), ed. by Ben Jonson is pub. in London; it contains 36 plays; "an office to the dead, to procure his orphans' guardians", "to keep the memory of so worthy a friend and fellow alive as was our Shakespeare"; dedicated to Jonson's patron William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke (1580-1630) (chancellor of Oxford U.) and his brother Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke (1584-1650); the title page engraving of WS by Martin Droeshout (1601-51) was drawn from instructions only, since he never saw his subject, and was 15 when Shakespeare died; the "monstrous" drawing of Big S is oddly assymetrical, with a funny line behind his ear down to his chin, as if he has a mask on, giving conspiracy theorists plenty to munch on; "The play's the thing... look not on his picture but his book"; "He was not of an age, but for all time!"; "Soul of the Age! The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage!" (Ben Jonson); by the 21st cent. only 40 copies survive; on Oct. 8, 2001 one sold at a New York City Christie's Auction for $6,166,000; on July 13, 2006 Sotheby's auctioned one for $5.2M.
After Shakespeare died, his works made him a god to millions, causing Shakespeare Memorials to be erected, starting with a funerary monument in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1623, a statue of him in Poets' Corner in Westerminster Abbey in 1740, and another statue in Central Park in New York City in 1872.
Too bad, at first the mass reading of the King James Bible caused the pleasure-hating Bible-thumping movement of Puritanism to spread. Already in 1623 William Prynne (1600-69) pub. Histrio-Mastix (Histriomastix): The Players Sourge, or Actors Tragedie, detailing how the Bible proves "that popular stage-playes are sinfull, heathenish, lewde, ungodly spectacles, and most pernicious corruptions". The English Civil War in 1642-51 was a V for the the Puritan Roundheads (Parliamentarians) over the Anglican Cavaliers (Royalists), putting a Bible police state in power that shut down the theaters until the death of leader Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), yes, it was Shakespeare against the Bible.
In 1690 English antiquarian John Aubrey (1626-97) pub. Aubrey's Brief Lives, short pithy bios. of Tudor and Jacobean figures, pub. anon. until 1813; he writes about "Mr. William Shakespeare" that "His father was a butcher, and I have been told heretofore by some of the neighbors that when he was a boy he exercised his father's trade, but when he killed a calf he would do it in a high style and make a speech".
In 1741 English actor David Garrick (1717-79), pupil of Irish actor Charles Macklin (1697-1797) made his acting debut in Thomas Southerne's "Oroonoko or the Royal Slave" in Ipswich, followed by the title role in Shakespeare's "Richard III" in Goodman's Fields, London, displaying a new more realistic acting syle that makes him a star, appearing in 18 different roles in 6 mo. in London's Drury Lane and Covent Garden; his career raised acting to a more respected profession? - now that's a man that's confident? In 1747 Garrick became owner and co-mgr. of Drury Lane Theatre, enforcing his own acting style on all the actors and creating an ensemble, ending the custom of letting the privileged sit on the stage, and producing 24 Shakespeare plays - I was completely in tears until I clicked?
In 1752 the first major prof. theatrical co. in British Am. opened in Williamsburg, Va. under the mgt. of Lewis Hallam (1712-58), touring from the Carolinas to New England and introducing David Garrick's acting style.
In 1759 German dramatist-critic Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-81) founded the critical journal Briefe, die Neueste Literatur Betreffend with Moses Mendelssohn and Christoph Friedrich Nicolai, which pub. essays promoting Shakespeare as a model for German dramatists in preference to Frenchies such as Corneille, Racine, and Voltaire, causing German literati to cast off French influence. In 1762-6 German poet Christoph Martin Wieland (1733-1813) translated 17 Shakespeare plays into German in 8 vols., becoming the first look the Krauts got at the Anglo-Saxon god, I guess they didn't buy it else there might not have been WWI and WWII. Also in 1797 German Romantic poet August Wilhelm von Schlegel (1767-1845) began translating Shakespeare into German, which is like translating silk purses into sows' ears. No surprise, in 1831 German dramatist Christian Dietrich Grabbe (1801-36) pub. Comedy, Satire, Irony and Deeper Meaning, dissing Germany's fascination with Shakespeare, and that was pretty much all she wrote for English culture stopping Hitler.
On Sept. 6, 1769 famed Shakespearean actor David Garrick (1717-79) organized the first Shakespeare Jubilee in Stratford-upon-Avon, which thousands braved rainy weather to see. Also in 1769 Jean-Francois Ducis (1733-1816), whose own first tragedy "Amelis" was a flop in 1768 produced Shakespeare's "Hamlet" in Paris, relying on a fractured French trans. and achieving a success, causing him to crank out "Romeo and Juliet" (1772), "Macbeth" (1783), and "Othello" (1792), all with fractured French; but France is a family company, so vive la France?
In 1785 Rev. James Wilmot (1726-1808) of Warwickshire, England claimed that well-situated Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was the real author of Shakespeare's plays, the original lone gunman theory. No surprise, by the 19th cent. the Shakespeare Authorship Question became the rage, questioning the legitimacy of the new god, after all he was just an ill-educated dummy corporation and stage manager who was the front for a New World Order conspiracy, right, with 70+ alternative real author candidates proposed, particularly Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount Albans (1561-1626), Christopher Marlowe (1564-93), William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby (1561-1642), and Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604). Actually, it makes sense that England, which had discovered that it was in a great position to take over and colonize the world and impose English language and culture, had need of an Apollo Project to create both a Holy Bible and a Secular Bible that it could browbeat the non-white subject peoples with, hence they would have a motive to use "Shake-Spear" as a front, perhaps taking his original plays and reworking them to higher standards for the First Folio. If so, it was a coverup, so they destroyed all the evidence which could be used against them in court. And it was a successful conspiracy, especially after their wayward child America replaced them as the world's leader after WWII and spread English farther than ever, resulting in the ultimate triumph of the all-English World Wide Web, as Muhammad said, War Is Deceit.
In 1795 English Shakespeare forger William Henry "Samuel" Ireland (AKA Vortigern) (1775-1835) had Newly Discovered Documents by William Shakespeare pub. by his daddy Samuel Ireland (1744-1800); too bad, they're soon exposed as forgeries, causing the supposedly new Shakespeare play "Vortigern and Rowena" to flop next Apr. 2, after which he comes clean in Authentic Account (1796), causing his daddy to be accused of being in with it, causing him to pub. A Vindication of His Conduct in Nov. 1796.
In 1802 John Boydell (1719-1804) pub. an ed. of Shakespeare illustrated by the best artists in England, and launches a movement to reform publishing; now artists have more to paint than portraits of rich patrons.
In 1818 English prude Thomas Bowdler (1754-1825) pub. Family Shakespeare, which censors (bowdlerizes) all the sexual material and blasphemies by expurgation and paraphrase.
We were a wrong fit right from the start? In 1849 the Astor Opera House Riot in New York City results from a jealousy feud between stage actors Edwin Forrest (1806-72) of the U.S. and William Charles Macready (1793-1873) of England, caused when Forrest hissed him from the audience in 1843 in Edinburgh after an English audience hissed him in Macbeth, and this time Macready plays Macbeth, causing 23 to be killed and 100 injured and the militia to be called out; after barely escaping with his life, Macready is forced to leave the U.S., and retires from the stage in 1851; in 1852 Forrest's wife Catherine divorces the ham in a sensational divorce trial, which only boosts his career?
In 1857 American writer Delia Bacon (1811-59) started the ball rolling by publishing The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakspere Unfolded, which claimed that the Shakespeare plays were written by a group including the usual suspects Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Walter Raleigh, Edmund Spenser (1552-99), the 17th Earl of Oxford, and Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset and Baron Buckhurst (1536-1608), who in 1561 wrote the play "Gorboduc", the first English drama written in blank verse, which was performed for Elizabeth I.
In 1887 U.S. Rep. (R-Minn.) (1863-9) Ignatius Loyola Donnelly (1831-1901) pub. The Shakespeare Myth, followed in 1888 by The Great Cryptogram, Francis Bacon's Cipher in the So-Called Shakespeare Plays, the original Da Vinci Code, claiming that internal codes prove that Sir Francis Bacon is the real Shakespeare. Too bad, in 1882 he also pub. "Atlantis: The Antediluvian World", lumping his Shakespeare theories with the mythical lost continent of Atlantis.
In 1890 the European starling was introduced into the U.S. (Central Park in New York City) from Europe by Eugene Scheillfin as part of his project to introduce all birds mentioned in Shakespeare's works (in this case Henry IV Pt. I, Act 1, Scene I), and spread out of control, destroying fruit and vegetable crops. In 1899 English writer Samuel Butler (1835-1902) of "Erewhon" fame pub. Shakespeare's Sonnets Reconsidered, which claimed that they are really about a homosexual affair.
By the 20th cent. the controversies were kaput, and Shakespeare became an institution. On Apr. 23, 1930 the Folger Shakespeare Library, founded by Standard Oil Co. chmn. Henry Clay Folger (1857-1930) opened in Washington, D.C. at 201 E. Capitol St. S.E.; Folger died on June 11. On Apr. 23, 1932 the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre opened in Stratford-upon-Avon, England on guess who's birthday. In 1953 the New York Shakespeare Festival was founded by Brooklyn-born Jewish impresario Joseph Papp (1921-91). Also in 1953 The Stratford (Shakespearean) Festival in Ontario, Canada was founded by journalist Harry Thomas "Tom" Patterson (1920-2005), going on to become the largest repertory theater in North Am.; on July 13, 1953 "Richard III" opened, starring Alec Guinness, and dir. by Sir Tyrone Guthrie (1900-71). In 1957 the Colo. Shakespeare Festival in Boulder was founded, becoming the 2nd Shakespeare festival in the U.S.