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The Tempest


The Tempest
By William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare 's background
William Shakespeare (1564-1616). English poet and playwright - Shakespeare is widely considered to be the greatest writer in the English language. He wrote 38 plays and 154 sonnets.
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon on 23rd April 1564.
His father William was a successful local businessman and his mother Mary was the daughter of a landowner. Relatively prosperous, it is likely the family paid for Williams' education, although there is no evidence he attended university.
In 1582 William, aged only 18 married an older woman named Anne Hathaway. They had three children, Susanna, Hamnet and Juliet. Their only son Hamnet died aged just 11.
After his marriage, information about the life of Shakespeare is sketchy but it seems he spent most of his time in London - writing and acting in his plays.
Due to some well-timed investments Shakespeare was able to secure a firm financial background, leaving time for writing and acting. The best of these investments was buying some real estate near Stratford in 1605, which soon doubled in value.
It seemed Shakespeare didn't mind being absent from his family - he only returned home during Lent when all the theatres were closed. It is generally thought that during the 1590s he wrote the majority of his sonnets. This was a time of prolific writing and his plays developed a good deal of interest and controversy. His early plays were mainly comedies (e.g. Much Ado about Nothing, A Midsummer's Night Dream) and histories (e.g. Henry V)
By the early Seventeenth Century, Shakespeare had begun to write plays in the genre of tragedy. These plays, such as Hamlet, Othello and King Lear, often hinge on some fatal error or flaw in the lead character, and provide fascinating insights into the darker aspects of human nature. These later plays are considered Shakespeare's finest achievements.
Shakespeare died in 1616; it is not clear how he died and numerous suggestions have been put forward. John Ward, the local vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford (where Shakespeare is buried), writes in a diary accounts that:
"Shakespeare, Drayton, and Ben Jonson had a merry meeting and it seems drank too hard, for Shakespeare died of a fever there contracted."
Shakespeare as a writer and the theatre
In 1616, there was an outbreak of typhus ("The new fever") which may have been the cause. The average life expectancy of someone born in London, England in the Sixteenth Century was about 35 years old, Shakespeare died age 52.
Most of Shakespeare's comedies, histories, and tragedies were written during England's "golden age" under the celebrated 45-year reign (1558-1603) of Queen Elizabeth I. Historically, the Elizabethan era took place in the wake of the Protestant Reformation when the English Renaissance was ushered in and the arts flourished. When King James I succeeded Elizabeth to the throne after her death in 1603, he continued, at least to some extent, the rich cultural legacy left by the late queen. The new king, a patron of the arts, agreed to sponsor the King's Men, Shakespeare's theatrical group.
Shakespeare's bright side of the moon.
By 1608, after an illustrious career as a playwright, Shakespeare turned away from the great tragedies (Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear) and directed his creative energies toward the romances or tragi-comedies (The Tempest, Pericles, Cymbeline, and The Winter's Tale).
At the time of the Renaissance, a tragicomedy came to be defined as a type of work that does not quite fit with either a tragedy or a comedy.
A tragedy is basically a serious story which often involves the death of one or more of the characters. A comedy is a light-hearted, funny story that has a happy ending. A tragicomedy is not light-hearted enough to be called a comedy and it doesn't include death and awful events to be called a tragedy.
Shakespeare's Tempest is a tragicomedy because although the story starts out in a serious tone and difficult situations and fears abound, there is no death and destruction. There are funny moments throughout the play as the characters on the island have interesting experiences. There is also a background of tragedy, about the ill-treatment received by Prospero and his daughter. Likewise, the plot of Antonio and Sebastian to kill Alonso and Gonzalo