William ShakespeareWilliam Shakespeare, English playwright and poet recognized in much of the worldas the greatest of all dramatists. Shakespeare’s plays communicate a profoundknowledge of human behavior, revealed through portrayals of a wide variety ofcharacters. His use of poetic and dramatic means to create a unified artisticeffect out of several vocal expressions and actions is recognized as a singularachievement, and his use of poetry within his plays to express the deepestlevels of human motivation in individual, social, and universal situations isconsidered one of the greatest accomplishments in literary history. WilliamShakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford-on-Avon. No knows the exact date ofWilliam’s birth, although we do know that he was baptized on Wednesday, April26, 1564. His father was John Shakespeare, tanner, glover, dealer in grain, andtown official of Stratford. William’s mother, Mary, was the daughter of RobertArden, a prosperous gentleman. On November 28, 1582, William Shakespeare andAnne Hathaway entered into a marriage contract. The baptism of their eldestchild, Susanna, took place in Stratford in May 1583. One year and nine monthslater their twins, Hamnet and Judith, were christened in the same church. In1593, William found a patron, Henry Wriothgley, to sponsor him. During thistime, he wrote two long poems. His first long poem, “Venus and Adonius”, waswritten in 1593. In 1594 he wrote his second long poem, “Rape of Lucrece”.
In London, Shakespeare established himself as an actor who began to write manyplays. Shakespeare worked “Lords Chamberlain’s Men” company which laterbecame “The King’s Men” in 1603 after King James I took over. This companybecame the largest and most famous acting company, only because Shakespeareworked for them, writing all the plays they performed. They performed theseplays by Shakespeare in a well known theater which was called “The Globe”because of it s circular shape. Shakespeare left London in 1611 and retired. OnMarch 25, 1616, Shakespeare made a will and, shortly after he died on April 23,1616 at the age of 52. Many people believed that Shakespeare knew he was dying;however he didn’t want anyone to know that he was. Certainly there are manythings about Shakespeare’s genius and career which the most diligent scholarsdo not know and can not explain, but the facts which do exist are sufficient toestablish Shakespeare’s identity as a man and his authorship of thethirty-seven plays which reputable critics acknowledge to be his. Since the 19thcentury, Shakespeare’s achievements have been more consistently recognized,and throughout the Western world he has come to be regarded as the greatestdramatist ever. ACT I The play’s opening lines signal a mood of tension, andthey portend disaster for Egeon, a middle-aged merchant from the ancient city ofSyracuse on the island of Sicily. The cities of Syracuse and Ephesus are openlyhostile toward one another. Captured in Ephesus, Egeon has been condemned todeath by the Duke, who urges him to tell the sad story of how he has come tothis state. Along with his wife Emilia, identical twin sons both namedAntipholus, and identical twin slaves both named Dromio, Egeon some years agosuffered a shipwreck. One son and slave survived with the father; the others, hehoped, survived with the mother. Neither group knew of the other’s survival,however, nor of each other’s whereabouts, but when Antipholus of Syracuseturned eighteen, his father gave him permission to search for his brother. Theworried Egeon then set out after his second son, and after five years offruitless wandering, he came to Ephesus. Moved by this tale of sadness, the Dukeof Ephesus gave Egeon a day, within which time Egeon must raise a thousand marksransom money. Antipholus of Syracuse takes his leave of a friendly merchant andtells his servant Dromio of Syracuse to take the 1,000 marks he has with him totheir lodging for safekeeping. Meanwhile, he tells Dromio he’s going to lookaround the town. Soon Dromio of Ephesus, an exact look-alike of the other Dromio,enters and tells Antipholus of Syracuse, thinking he is Antipholus of Ephesus,to come home for dinner that his wife has been waiting. In no mood for jokingaround with the servant, Antipholus hits the uncomprehending Dromio on the head,as he walks off. Antipholus then groans with the thought that a bondsman hasjust cheated him out of 1,000 marks. ACT II Antipholus of Ephesus’ wife,Adriana, debates with her sister Luciana on the proper conduct