A Detailed Biography of Drama of William Shakespeare | Trends in Shakespearean Plays


A Detailed Biography of Drama of William Shakespeare | Trends in Shakespearean Plays 

Introduction  - English Drama Prior to Shakespeare 

The history of English drama dates from the 11th century with the mystery or miracle plays, it came under the direct influence of the Renaissance in the Elizabethan Age. This spirit Renaissance came with the dominating influence of Italy. Thus, under the classical influence of the great Italian masters, flowered in England the notes of comedy, tragedy and history plays.

The comedies of Plautus and Terence and the tragedies of Seneca were found to inspire the dramatic art in England with the basic outcome as " Ralph Roister Doister" by Nicholas Udall in 1550 as the first English comedy and "Gorboduc" by Thomas Sackville and Thomas Morgan in 1561 as the first English tragedy. This was followed by a swift and abundant blossoming of English drama under the creative genius of Shakespeare, Marlowe, Kyd, George Chapman, Webster, Sir Francis Beaumont, John Fletcher and Philip Massinger.

A Detailed Biography of Drama of William Shakespeare

In the realm of English drama Shakespeare occupied an unrivalled place with his authorship of the best dramas of the age. 

Early experimentation period of William Shakespeare

Shakespeare had to his credit a wide range of dramas- of the early experimentation period belongs, " Titus Andronicus" "Henry VI" "Love's Labour's Lost" " Comedy of Errors" " Two Gentlemen of Verona" "Richard III" " Richard II" " Romeo and Juliet" " A Midsummer's Nights Dream".

Period of the comedy and chronicle plays by William Shakespeare

Period of the great comedies and chronicle plays includes "King John" "The Merchant of Venice" "Henry IV" "Henry V" "The Taming of the Shrew" "The Merry Wives of Windsor" "Much ado about nothing" " As You Like It" " Twelfth Night" .

Period of the great tragedies by William Shakespeare

The third period of the great tragedies and of sombre comedies includes, " Julius Caesar" " Hamlet" "Othello" "King Lear" " Macbeth" " All's well that ends well" " Measure for Measure" " Troilus and Cressida" " Anthony and Cleopatra" " Coriolanus" and" Timon of Athens" .
Period of the later comedies and dramatic romances counts," Pericles" "Cymbeline" " A Winter's Tale" " The Tempest"  and " Henry VIII".

Trends in Shakespearean Plays 

Shakespeare's pre-eminence as a dramatist chiefly lies in the fact that he could see and understand so much of life, could pierce the heart of so many passions, without falling a prey to any aspect of life, that we say of him as his universality.

Every phase of feeling lay within the scope of Shakespeare's understanding and sympathy. There is no point of morals, of philosophy or of the conduct of life that he has not penetrated.  Thus, in his plays we find pure mirth , bright and tender fancy , airy satire, ardent passion , questionings into the deep and mysteries of life. Indeed , the greatness of his plays lies in this universality of his appeal , which is meant for all ages, colours and creed.

Besides his universality, Shakespeare's capital gift was his characterisation - he could depict characters , both historical and imaginary , with a surpassing vividness This power he wielded easily , naturally , spontaneously , without ever giving an impression of effort.

 From the beginning of his dramatic career, he depicted lively characters and as he advanced towards maturity his characters came to be more boldly outlined and complex . Moreover, Shakespeare's characters doesn't appear as a protagonist of some faith or idea but as real men and women , having their own individuality . Thus, Shakespeare throws on canvas characters that have stood the wreck of time and remained immortal.

Naturalness is another property of Shakespeare's writings. This naturalness comes out in his amazing genius quality in using of words, blessed with unrivalled power of expression. The beauty of words , the aptness and originality of phrases , the wealth of striking similes and metaphors , the felicities of language , the richness and sweetness of verse- these are found in his plays to an astonishing degree .

Apart from being the foremost dramatist of his age , he was also the foremost poet . The union of dramatic and lyric elements in his plays is perfect , absolute and beyond analysis. There is a triumphant blending of words , metaphors and lyrical passion in his blank verse. Thus, in the capital scene of the great tragedies - the dialogue of Romeo and Juliet , Hamlet's soliloquies, the scene of the awakening of Othello's jealousy , of Lear's passionate railing  or of Macbeth's hallucination - Shakespeare's mastery of the grand style is unmistakable- therein lies the greatness of Shakespeare as a dramatist.
In this article I have tried to give as much as I acquired during my study on Shakespeare.

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