William Shakespeare

Published: 2021-06-29 07:04:40
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Category: History Other

Type of paper: Essay

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Who was he?

The scarcity of real knowledge about William Shakespeare, especially his early years, has led to theories that he didn't exist as an individual at all, but was really another writer working under a pseudonym. Most serious historians however, regard these theories as baseless: the later years of Shakespeare's life are in fact relatively well documented, for someone of his standing.

...his early experience of belonging to a persecuted minority could have played its part in ...a self-effacing stance.

In addition, the playwright's colleagues, in their commemoration volume of his plays after his death (the First Folio, published in 1623), confirm that William Shakespeare of Stratford upon Avon was the author of those plays. Evidence that a poet of this name, from Stratford, did exist is also backed up by further documents from around the same time, including Shakespeare's will (now in the National Archive, at Kew), and his funeral monument (in the church at Stratford). A look at the main documents relating to his later life, and some recent finds, may offer further clues.

Shakespeare's formative years had been spent at a time poised between two worlds - the old world of Catholicism and the new world of Protestantism. Then, in the aftermath of Spain's failed attempt, in 1588, to impose Catholicism on the English, the new Protestant establishment had triumphed. Thus, by the turn of the century, Catholicism had become a minority religion.

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