Category Archives: Writers/Poets

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde was born on the 16thOctober 1854 in Dublin, to parents William Wilde an eye surgeon, and Jane Francesca Wilde, a literary writer, better known by her pseudonym “Speranza.”

His early education, commenced at home, learning French and German, until he was nine.  Then he attended the Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, then onto Trinity College in Dublin from 1871-1874, where he read the classics.

His tutor J.P.Mahaffy enlightened Wilde about all things Greek, and they worked together on the book “Social Life in Greece.”  In a quote Wilde referred to Mahaffy, as my first and best teacher, whilst Mahaffy is quoted as saying; I created Oscar Wilde.

During his time at Trinity College he became an active participant of the Philosophical Society and went on to present a paper, “Aesthetic Morality.”  He won the Berkeley Gold Medal for his studies, and went on to study at Magdalene College, Oxford, from 1874-1878.

His life at Oxford would change his outlook on life, and where he was going…

Wilde had wit, talent and charm, and had a place in London’s society life, and styled himself upon Bunthorne, from the Gilbert and Sullivan opera “Patience.”

However, there was more to Wilde, than the man associated with London’s society life.

Wilde, was a member of Oxford’s Apollo Masonic Lodge, and let it be known, he was in the process of considering leaving, for it was his intention to convert from the Protestant faith to Catholicism.  Shock waves would rumble at such a suggestion among his peers.

Pope Pius IX granted Wilde an audience in Rome in 1877.  Then he went on to have meetings with the Reverend Sebastian Bowden, a priest from the Brompton Oratory.

So what changed his mind on the subject of converting from Protestant to Catholic, one will never know, all we can do is surmise.  One suggestion could be the threat by his father to cut off his allowance, and the loss of money is a powerful persuasion.  Whatever the actual reason, he backed out at the last minute, maybe he came to his senses before it was too late.  Wilde may not have converted to Catholicism, but he retained a keen interest in the faith.

In 1877 he met Walter Pater, writer of “Studies in the History of the Renaissance” which was published in 1878.  A copy of which he would always carry with him in later years.

1878 was a good year for Wilde.  He won the Newdigate Prize for his poem “Ravenna” which he read at Encaenia. Then in November graduated from Oxford with a B.A. in “Classical Moderations and Literature Humaniores.”

Following his graduation, Wilde returned to Dublin, wanting to share his success with his childhood sweetheart; Florence Balcombe.  His intentions had been honourable, but her love led her into the arms of another; Bram Stoker, who became a well known writer of horror stories.  A gutted and distraught Wilde, felt he had no choice but to return to England.  As his funds faded, he earned money, delivering lectures in London, Paris and New York.  He was now living a hand to mouth existence.

In the summer of 1881, he published a collection of poems, and went on to present copies to many of his peers.  The Oxford Union rejected the book on the grounds of plagiarism, yet the public loved them.

That same year a caricature of Wilde appeared in the Punch magazine.  Part of his caption read: “What’s in a name.  The poet is Wilde.  But his poetry’s tame.”  For they were less enthusiastic of his works.

In 1882, Wilde was invited to tour North America by Richard D’oyly Carte, with the aim of selling his charm to the American public.  It became an overnight success, and a four month tour lasted over a year.

His aim was to take the beauty from art, and add it to daily life.  He had a reputation whilst at Oxford, for surrounding himself with blue china and lilies, and gave lectures on the merits of interior design.  For he believed, pleasure and beauty put forward in an artist’s work, were not limited to one’s individual ethical beliefs.

The Springfield Press, criticised his behaviour in Boston with caricatures, and comments, saying his actions had more to do with notoriety, than the true devotion to that of beauty.  Press receptions were often hostile, yet he drank with local miners, and often frequented fashionable drinking houses, making a name for himself.

In the early part of 1883, he moved to Paris, where he met Robert Sherard, and they wined and dined often, and Wilde was often heard to say: “We are dining on the Duchess tonight,” it was a reference to his play, “The Duchess of Padua.”

In August 1883, he returned to New York for the production of his play, “Vera” the audience loved it, but the critics review killed it, and it closed its doors within a week.

In 1884 he lectured in Dublin, there he met his future wife; Constance Lloyd, and they were married on the 29thMay 1884 at St.James Church in Paddington.  They were blessed with two children; Cyril (1885) and Vyvyan (1886), for whom he wrote “The Happy Prince,” a book of fairy tales.

Wilde’s marriage was falling apart before his very eyes, just after his second child was born. Robert Ross initiated Wilde into the life of homosexuality, and this change his future life.

During the years 1885-1887, Wilde became a regular contributor to the Pall Mall Gazette, sharing his views on art, literature and life.  Like his parents before him, he supported the cause of Irish Nationalism. It was at this time, Charles Stewart Parnell was falsely accused of inciting murder, and Wilde defended his actions in the Daily Chronicle, with a collection of articles.

In the summer of 1887, Oscar Wilde the family man became editor of “The Lady’s World Magazine,” and promptly renamed it, “The Woman’s World,” in an attempt to raise its tone, with serious articles on parenting, politics, life and art.  Some two years later in the autumn of 1889, he left to concentrate on prose writings.

Between 1889 and 1891, Wilde published: Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime, The House of Pomegranates, which he dedicated to his wife Constance.  Along with The Portrait of Mr. W. H. This is based upon the theory that the Sonnets written by William Shakespeare were written out of the poet’s love for one Willie Hughes, designed as a rather controversial story asking more questions about the character, than giving answers.  Wilde’s interest in journalism had wavered somewhat, which saw a collection of longer prose pieces being published.

In 1890, Wilde published his one and only novel: “The Picture of Dorian Gray.  His critics gave it bad reviews, possibly because of its links to homosexuality.  Wilde responded to the comments made by the Scots Observer, and revised the story, adding six new chapters in time for its 1891 release.

In October 1891, Wilde returned to Paris, this time as a respected and published writer.  During his time there wrote the play “Salome.” The then Lord Chamberlain refused a licence for it to be performed in England, since it depicted characters from the bible.  The play was published in Paris and London in 1893, and performed in Paris in 1896.

Wilde irritated Victorian England with his outrageous dress sense, then took it a step further with his novel: Dorian Gray, based on the world of vice, hidden beneath art.

In 1892, “Lady Windermere’s Fan,” the first in a collection of comedies was performed at St.James Theatre, and became an overnight success as it toured the country.  In 1893, “A Woman of No Importance,” was released, then followed by “An Ideal Husband,” in 1894, and “The Importance of Being Ernest,” in 1895.

In the summer of 1891, Wilde was introduced to Alfred Douglas, and their friendship grew into an affair.  Wilde was discreet, but Douglas was reckless, for he did not care who knew.  It wasn’t long before he was introduced into the world of gay prostitution.

Wilde having been accused by Alfred’s father the Marquess of Queensbury of the intense friendship came to a head in 1895, when he was imprisoned for homosexual offences, and served two years hard labour.

On the 19thMay 1897, Wilde was released and it was obvious his health had suffered from such an experience.  He left for France, and would never set foot on English soil for the remainder of his life.

He lived in Dieppe for two years, during which time he wrote of the cruelties of prison life, which led to the Prison Act of 1898.  He followed up by writing “The Ballad of Reading Gaol,” whilst he stayed in the village of Bernaval-sur-Mer.  In May 1899, returned to Paris, and lived the life of a beggar.

He knew his life was coming to an end.  His last act before death, was being baptised into the Catholic Church on the 29thNovember, and on the 30thNovember 1900, he died of cerebral meningitis aged 46.

His tomb can be found in Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Oscar Wilde lived life to the full, yet his downfall was one of his own making.  It is sad that such a distinguished writer should die in poverty, an outcast in his time.

He will always be remembered for his works…

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Shakespeare’s Writing Styles

Shakespeare-Plays

William Shakespeare has become known, the world over for his poetry and the passion he has portrayed within his plays.  Yet the earliest plays were written in a style much associated with the times of the day.

He was known to use metaphors (a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action that it does not literally apply to in order to imply a resemblance) and rhetorical phrases (the art of using speech or writing to influence using groups of words).  However, this did not always work well with the plot of the story or the characters within the story.

So he created his innovative style, one which he was associated with, which was based loosely on the style of the day.  He produced a form, where the words flowed off the tongue with ease, whilst keeping the plot intact.

In a sense, we would have to say, he re-wrote parts of the English language, by increasing its vocabulary, to work with his plays.

William Shakespeare’s life and works as we see it, has four distinctive periods, covering plays in three genres: Histories – Tragedies – Comedies, relating to him as a man.

Period One … Up to 1595.

During this period we would see the youthful man and young love move into imagination, and plays associated and written within this period included; The Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet and Richard III.

Period Two … 1595-1601.

During this period, he would show more dramatic art within his works, with more appreciation for the character interlinked with sadness, which included the works of; The Merchant of Venice, Henry IV, Henry V and As You Like it.

Period Three … 1601-1608.

This period showed us little of the man, the writer in the true sense, for his life was changing, for his father died in 1601.  The Earl of Essex was executed by Queen Elizabeth I on a charge of treason, even Shakespeare feared for his life.

Period Four … 1608-1613.

After the sadness of the last period William Shakespeare showed new vitality in his work, new strength in the works of Othello and Macbeth.  In 1608 his mother died, and he remembered her kindness and love towards him.

The greatest works he wrote during this period would have to be; The Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest.

William Shakespeare will always be remembered for his plays, yet he was responsible for the writing of numerous poems and 154 sonnets.

In 1593 and 1594, all theatres remained closed, because of the plague, and it was during this time he wrote two narrative poems for the Earl of Southampton; Henry Wriothesley. “Venus and Adonis” and “The Rape of Lucrece,” both became popular and were reprinted many times during his lifetime.

It is believed the majority of his sonnets were written during his lifetime, and mainly for private readership, dedicated to one’s he loved.  They fall into two groups, one aimed at lust, marriage and that of a dark lady, and the other is love for a young man.

Could it be that the dark lady, could be one, Anne Whateley of Temple Grafton, whom he had intended to marry, but once Anne Hathaway announced she was pregnant, he was forced into marriage.

As for the young man, could it be “William Hughes” as put forward in writings of Oscar Wilde; “The Portrait of Mr.W.H.” published in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine in July 1889. It is a short story referring to a conversation, about William Shakespeare’s love for a young actor, and his sonnets.

Shakespeare: Sonnet 18

Quill__Scroll_and_Ink_by_MP3Designs

William Shakespeare was known to write a total of 154 sonnets, of which 126 were dedicated to a fair youth, and the remaining 28 dedicated to that of a dark lady.

So what is a sonnet? A poem consisting of fourteen lines of regular rhythm and rhyme based on a single theme.  Sonnets are normally divided up, and the first eight lines would represent the theme, and the remaining six lines would form the resolution or conclusion.

Sonnet 18 written by William Shakespeare:

 

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:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

 

This has become over time one of William Shakespeare’s most remembered and most loved sonnet.  The opening line puts forward a question which the rest of the sonnet answers.

 

Shakespeare versus Marlowe

Christopher Marlowe-1585
Christopher Marlowe

Christopher Marlowe, considered by many learned scholars some 150 years later, could have been the writer of some of William Shakespeare plays.

There are some similarities in their early years; Christopher Marlowe was born in Canterbury in 1564, and his father was a shoemaker.  William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564 as well, and his father worked with leather among other things.

Marlowe attended the Kings School in Canterbury, Corpus Christi College in Cambridge, and received a Batchelor of Arts degree in 1584.  Whilst Shakespeare attended King’s New School in Stratford-upon-Avon, studying grammar and Latin classical works, and in 1582 married Anne Hathoway.

It is believed, whilst Marlowe attended the University of Cambridge, that he was recruited as a government spy, as suggested by Charles Nicholl.  Records indicate that he had long absences from the university, and had money to spend when he was there.

In 1587, the Privy Council ordered the University of Cambridge to award Marlowe a Master of Arts degree.

Theories abound about Marlowe.  One was that in 1589 he became tutor to Arabella Stuart, the niece of Mary Queen of Scots and cousin to James VI of Scotland, later James I of England.

In 1592, he was arrested in Flushing in the Netherlands for alleged counterfeiting, but no trial took place, and no prison sentence followed.

On the 30thMay 1593, Christopher Marlowe was killed, and buried in an unmarked grave at St.Nicholas Church, Deptford.

Many theories exist to the manner of his death.  It has been put forward that his death may have been faked to save the government, of a trial for subversive atheism, against one of their own spies.  Could it be, the reason he professed atheism, had more to do with his work as a government spy.

Christopher Marlowe’s first play was “Dido, Queen of Carthage,” performed by Children of the Chapel, a company of boy actors between 1587-1593, and published in 1594, listing authors as Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Nashe.

In 1587, his play “Tamburlaine the Great” was performed in London, and in 1588 part two was released. It told the story of the rise from shepherd tp war-lord.  Then in 1590, both parts were published.

“The Jew of Malta,” written between 1589-1590 and first performed in 1592, and published in 1594. The storyline is of a Maltese Jew’s barbarous revenge against the city authorities.

“Edward the Second,” was published in 1594, a year after Marlowe’s supposed death.  The story is about the deposition of King Edward II by his barons and the Queen.

“The Massacre at Paris,” was about the events which took place at the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in 1572, which involved English Protestants and Catholics.  It features an English Agent, and one believes this has to be Marlowe himself, with his connections to the English secret service.

One would have to say, this was a most dangerous play to have written, for it brought into play, agitators in London who seized on its theme to advocate the murders of refugees from the low countries, and it warns Elizabeth I of this possibility in the final scene.

Marlowe was admired by his critics, as an influential artist of the timer who sadly died before his time.

William Shakespeare paid tribute to Christopher Marlowe in his play, “As You Like It.”  The quote read: “When a man’s verses cannot be understood, nor a man’s good wit seconded with the forward a child, understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room.”

Shakespeare was heavily influenced by Marlowe in his works, as can be seen in Anthony and Cleopatra, The Merchant of Venice, Richard III and Macbeth.  There are poignant speeches in Hamlet, which echo the style of Marlowe.

Both men lived and worked in the same timeline, yet their lives differed so much.  We could not in all honesty consider anything other than we were privileged that these two authors wrote many plays during their lifetimes.

Shakespeare continues to be considered one of the greatest writers the world over.  Portraying characters; from our history.  Showing situations which we would experience at one time or another during our lives.  He does this with great understanding of humanity, tolerance and wisdom.

His plays were designed to be performed in such a way, that we understand what it is to be human, and cope with the problems of life.

The Mythical Question: Shakespeare

William_Shakespeare_1609

Some one-hundred and fifty years after the death of William Shakespeare, in the mid 18thcentury, questions were being asked about the man and his collections of plays and sonnets.

How could one with no more than a basic education, write with such an educated hand and mind, or were they in fact the works of educated writer’s of the time, like Christopher Marlowe. This idea was put forward by learned scholars and critics which has now spiralled out of control … seeking the truth about William Shakespeare.

So follow me, as we try to delve into the facts about William Shakespeare, and separate fact from fiction.

Was William Shakespeare Gay?

William Shakespeare married Anne Hathoway, and had two children who survived childhood and married. He was known to work in London, whilst Anne raised their family at home, in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets during his lifetime, of those he dedicated 126 to that of a fair youth; his lover.  We have no concrete evidence as to who he was referring to, but Oscar Wilde wrote “The Portrait of Mr.W.H.” published in 1889.  It was a short story referring to a conversation about William Shakespeare’s love for a young actor and his sonnets.  The man in question according to Oscar Wilde was one “William Hughes.”

Another candidate could be Christopher Marlowe, who was known to openly flaunt his homosexuality, and worked along with Shakespeare at times.

If we look at the question of terminology as to whether an Elizabethan was gay or homosexual, he would come under the titling of anachronistic (the representation of something in a historical content in which it could not have occurred or existed – a person that belongs to another timeline).  For the Elizabethans, what is often termed homosexual or bisexual was more likely to be recognised as a sexual act, rather than an exclusive sexual orientation and identity.

There is no true way to answer the question, but based on historical content, and had he lived in a different time, he may have been considered gay… I leave you to answer the question based on facts of the time.

Of the remaining 26 sonnets he dedicated them to the mysterious “Dark Lady” could it have been nothing more than a friendship, or was it more? 

Shakespeare’s Latter Years

Shakespeare Monument

A gutted William Shakespeare observed his Globe Theatre being struck down by fire in 1613, this may have been the reason that he retired from writing plays and returned to the family home in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

On the 25thMarch 1616, having signed his will, knew in his heart he had achieved so much in his lifetime.

William Shakespeare died on the 23rdApril 1616, leaving his devoted wife Anne, his eldest daughter Susanna having married a physician John Hall in 1607.  His other daughter Judith married tavern owner Thomas Quiney and brought shame on the family, when they were excommunicated from the church on the 12thMarch 1616.

His body was buried within the Chancel of Holy Trinity Church on 25thApril 1616. The epitaph carved into the stone slab, is one of a curse about the moving of his bones.

Original Spelling:

Good Frend for lesvs sake forbeare,

To dig the dvst encloased heare,

Blest be ye man yt spares thes stones,

And cvrst be he yt moves my bones.

Re-Written in Modern Spelling:

“Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbear,”

“To dig the dust enclosed here.”

“Blessed be the man that spares these stones,”

“And crushed be he who moves my bones.”

Sometime between 1616 and 1623, a monument was erected in his memory, located on the north wall of the church.  It contained a half-effigy of him in the act of writing, comparing him with Nestor, Socrates and Virgil.

Monuments have been placed in many of our famous cities and churches to dedicate the great man.  He can be found amongst the learned greats of our time in “Poet’s Corner” in Westminster Abbey in London.

Shakespeare” Plays – Sonnets

Shakespeare-Plays

William Shakespeare wrote thirty eight plays giving the world an insight into history as seen through the eyes of one man.  His work covered three main genres: History – Tragedies – Comedies.  For he was not afraid to write of romances, love and lust through his characters.  These works of this one man would last for centuries, becoming a leading playwright, always remembered for his works.

So join with me as we step back in time, breaking into the world of his plays.

All That Ends Well (1602-1603)

This comedy is centred round the old age subject of love, and how obstacles can be overcome, even though there is no final resolution to the problem.  It leaves the audience, believing that humanity is to blame for their inadequacy.

It tells us of Helena, the orphaned daughter of a much respected and experienced physician, raised within the household of the Countess of Rossillions, and is said to love Bertram son of the Countess.

Bertram heads off to see the King of France, who is gravely ill, with Helena in hot pursuit, looking to heal the King, and move herself up the pecking ladder so to speak.

The King is cured, and grants Helena one wish, and she choose’s Bertram as her husband, who strongly objects to any such alliance.

The story is one of seduction, and deceit by Helena until Bertram is forced into accepting her as his wife.  Bertram had no choice in this, for Helena had him in her clutches, and no intentions of letting her go.

Productions of the play did not take place until the 1740’s when Peg Woffington played the part of Helena. In the early part of the 19thcentury, it was performed but censored in part.  Then mid way through the 20thcentury it became popular…

Robert Atkins produced it in 1949, and then in 1953 Tyrone Guthrie produced it in Stratford-upon-Avon. There was one production that stood out, that would be Trevor Nunn’s (1981-1983) starring Peggy Ashcroft as the countess.  It played first at Stratford-upon-Avon, then on to London, and finally Broadway.

Hamlet (1600-1601)

Since its production on the stage, with Richard Burbage a leading actor at that time, playing the part of Hamlet in this tragedy based play.  It has been recognised the world over, as one of Shakespeare’s most prominent works.

The ghost of Hamlet, former King of Denmark, appears to Horatio, long time friend of Prince Hamlet, knowing his words would reach the ears of his son.

Prince Hamlet speaks out harshly against Claudius and Gertrude’s (Hamlet’s former wife) marriage. His father’s ghost, tells how Claudius had poisoned him, seeking the hand of Gertrude, as he took his position as the new King of Denmark.  Prince Hamlet promises to avenge his father’s death, for such a dastardly act.

Laertes, son of Polonius warns his sister, Ophelia against any courtship with Prince Hamlet.  Yet Prince Hamlet rejects her, feigning madness to ward her off.

The death of his father affects Prince Hamlet, so much, that nothing would stand in his way, to avenge his murder.  So much so, that friends Rossencrantz and Guildenstern help him perform a play, an enactment of his father’s death with Claudius watching.

Later in the play, Claudius believing he is alone and in prayer, admits his guilt, but is overheard by Prince Hamlet, who opts not to take his revenge at that point, and kill him…

Claudius, knowing that Prince Hamlet had killed Polonius, conspired with Laertes to avenge the death of his father, and the madness that had destroyed his sister; Ophelia, rejected by him and treated as a whore.

Claudius and Hamlet meet where Ophelia is buried using poison tipped swords, and poisoned wine. Osric presents the challenge between Prince Hamlet and Laertes.

Gertrude drinks from the poisoned wine in error, and Hamlet and Laertes are both wounded, Claudius is stabbed by Laertes, and forced to drink the wine, then both men collapse and die, and Prince Hamlet also dies from his wound.

Prince Hamlet receives a state funeral, and knew he had avenged his father’s life…

The part of Hamlet had been portrayed by many fine actors in the 19thand 20thcenturies:

19thCentury – Ira Aldridge, William Charles Macready, Edwin Booth and Henry Irving.

20thCentury – John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier and John Barrymore.

I am sure there are many more names we could add, but these are those who are most known for acting the part.

Richard III (1592-1593)

The historical play of Richard III has been very controversial, ever so much in recent time since the discovery of his bodily remains.

In this play Edward IV, having seized the English throne, defeats the Lancastrians, ensuring his position as King Edward IV of England.

Brotherly love doesn’t always run smoothly, as Edward has two brothers; George the Duke of Clarence and Richard the Duke of Gloucester, who sought after the throne, whatever the cost.

We see Richard as a villain, with an evil nature, plotting the death of brother George, upon the charge of treason, being sent to the tower, and executed.

Edward now an ailing King, collapses at the news that his brother George, Duke of Clarence was dead. For it was he who sent him to the tower, but at the last minute had issued a pardon, sparing his life. However, Richard Duke of Gloucester delayed issuing the pardon, waiting until he had heard that the execution had taken place.

King Edward IV names Richard Duke of Gloucester as protector after his death, and entrusts the two princes, Edward and Richard into his care.

So it was Richard the Duke of York joined his brother Prince Edward, successor to the English throne at the Tower of London.

Prince Edward V and Richard the Duke of York, having been the children of the Duke of Clarence, who had been executed for treason, were deemed illegitimate based on a rumour, which had no substance, that they be the result of the late King’s illicit affair.

The young princes disappeared never to be heard from again, it is believed they were executed on the order’s of Richard III himself, and executed by Tyrell, who was in the employ of Richard.

King Richard III’s reign was overshadowed by the constant threat of a Tudor invasion of these lands. So it was King Richard III died on the battle field at Bosworth Field in Leicestershire.

The part of Richard III was played by Richard Burbage in 1590, a well known actor at that time, and the leading actor in “Lord Chamberlain’s Men,” and later renamed as “The King’s Men” in honour of their patron King James I.

In 1700 Colley Cibber, re-wrote parts of the play, thus reducing it in size from the original, and this revised version was performed in New York in 1751, and ran for many years.

With the 19thcentury, much of the original writings were replaced.

Richard III, a play with much history content, reached the cinema screen, when four silent films were produced over a number of years, but the most remembered was Max Reinhardt’s version, released in 1919.

In 1956 Lawrence Olivier played the part of Richard III in the movie, which had been altered considerably for the screen, but designed to attract cinema goers.  Since those days it has been performed as a play, on television and national theatres, along with more modern television versions.

There have been many plays written by William Shakespeare, and I have given an account of one from each category.

“The Two Noble Kinsmen play,” written in 1613, lists William Shakespeare and John Fletcher as co-authors in this work.  The majority of this play was the work of Fletcher, whilst Shakespeare wrote acts one and five.

John Fletcher went on to succeed Shakespeare as the principal writer of plays for “The King’s Men.”

William Shakespeare was known to write a total of 154 sonnets, of which 126 were dedicated to a fair youth, and the remaining 28 dedicated to that of a dark lady.

So what is a sonnet? A poem consisting of fourteen lines of regular rhythm and rhyme, based on a single theme.  Sonnets are normally divided up, and the first eight lines would represent the theme, and the remaining six lines would form the resolution or conclusion.

A William Shakespeare sonnet would rhyme like this:

Line 01 rhymes with line 03          Line 08 rhymes with line 06

Line 02 rhymes with line 04          Line 09 rhymes with line 11

Line 03 rhymes with line 01          Line 10 rhymes with line 12

Line 04 rhymes with line 02          Line 11 rhymes with line 09

Line 05 rhymes with line 07          Line 12 rhymes with line 10

Line 06 rhymes with line 08          Line 13 rhymes with line 14

Line 07 rhymes with line 05          Line 14 rhymes with line 13

If one uses the above we can see how it works out below:

Sonnet 18 written by William Shakespeare.

Line 01      Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Line 02      Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Line 03      Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

Line 04      And Summer’s lease hath all too short a date:

Line 05      Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

Line 06      And often is his gold complexion dimmed,

Line 07      And every fair from fair sometime declines,

Line 08      By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:

Line 09      But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Line 10      Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Line 11      Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,

Line 12      When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,

Line 13      So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

Line 14      So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

If we observe how a sonnet is written, we can get a good idea how it has been created.  So a few examples are shown below how sonnet 18 works.

The last word of line one (day) rhyme’s with the last word of line three (May).

The last word of line five (shines) rhyme’s with the last word of line seven (declines).

The last word of line ten (ow’st) rhymes with the last word of line twelve (grow’st).

This has become over time one of William Shakespeare’s most remembered and most loved sonnet.  The opening line put’s forward a question which the rest of the sonnet answers.