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Shakespeare's Scenes:A Glimpse Into The Life Of An Artist As Exemplified In <A Midsummer Night's Dream> And <The Merchant Of Venice>. By Andrew Scott

2381 words - 10 pages

Shakespeare's Scenes:A Glimpse into the Life of an ArtistIf one is to uncover a common thread between art and life, it can only be that of impermanence. The impact of constant change becomes as compelling as it is irreversible, and, thus, burrows itself deep within the mind and soul of the artist. One, then, cannot fully understand the art without, first, understanding the artist. Such is the case if one is to truly comprehend Shakespearean themes.Though precious little is certain as to the daily idiosyncrasies and inner-workings of the life of William Shakespeare (1564-1614), a great deal is known as to the whole of the playwright's life, comprised, namely, in a single timeline of recorded events. Various methods of documentation, such as marriage and birth certificates, court summonses, land deeds, and other scholarly accepted items of record speak on the poet's behalf. Shakespeare's lineage, baptism, marriage, fostering of children, and death, for example, are all dutifully recorded in the parish registers and histories of the quaint, English village of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. Additionally, what is known of 1ate-16th and early-17th century English life aids in the reconstruction of the playwright's experiences. What lies between the infant Shakespeare's baptism in late April of 1564 and the renowned poet and playwright's death in 1614 allows one a glimpse into the inner-workings of one of the most prevalent Shakespearean themes, that of the divergences and contrasts of separate worlds.William Shakespeare was no stranger to separate and divergent worlds. There is sufficient documentation to conclude that, during the mid- to late-1580's, Shakespeare left behind both his home and family to find an alternate life in the city. Though some argue that young William had found himself in a bit of disrepute with a local landholder and was forced to relocate, others disagree: "...it seems more natural to suppose that he left his native village as a boy to-day leaves a remote country town and goes to the city to seek his fortune" (Thurber 134). Regardless of the reasoning behind the move, the significance of the relocation upon Shakespearean drama remains unchanged: "...by 1592 he was in London as an actor and apparently already well known as a playwright" (Abrams 1026).William Shakespeare was born into an up-and-coming middle-class family. Shakespeare's father, John, is described as "relatively comfortable...[though] not overly wealthy" (Bartram 2). At the time of William Shakespeare's birth, John Shakespeare was "one of the most prominent men in Stratford, decidedly well-to-do, respected and trusted by all" (Thurber 129). What John Shakespeare may have lacked in monetary wealth, however, was made up by his power as a local, political figurehead, "who held, successively, various local offices, closing with those of Mayor and Head-Alderman" of Stratford (Hudson 37). And, thus, Shakespeare's life as a youngster would have been one of privilege,...

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