William Shakespeare


His extant works, including collaborations, consist of approximately 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

From a strictly biographical point of view, little is known about William Shakespeare. Besides the fact that a true picture of his life is missing, countless facts and anecdotes were circulating, so it was easy to predict his true figure. Anecdotes, however, were mostly dismissed as groundless. In this jungle of information, across centuries, scholars have tried to make things clear, leading to a few but almost certain pieces of information.

His family belonged to the wealthy English class. His father was a wealthy merchant, while his mother was wearing the blazon of a gentry family. In 1582, the writer marries Anne Hathaway, a pretty girl of humble origins, coming from a family of peasants.

A considerable effort would also have to be represented by a list of the huge amount of music that has been derived from his lyrics. The lyrical opera has plundered the Shakespearian dramas or comedies that lend their rich themes particularly well to the representation in the notes. A cult of Shakespeare had Wagner, but we should at least mention Verdi (“Othello”, “Falstaff”, “Macbeth”, etc.), Mendelssohn (who wrote the fantastic music for “Dream of the 20th century”), Tchaikovsky and in the 19th century, Prokofiev, Bernstein (it must not be forgotten that “West side story” is nothing more than a restatement of “Romeo and Juliet”) and Britten. In addition, its extraordinary modernity is evidenced by the dozens of movies inspired by his plays.

Achieving a great degree of prosperity, starting from 1608, Shakespeare diminished therefore its theatrical engagement. It seems that he spent increasingly long periods in Stratford, where he bought an imposing house, New Place, and became a respected citizen of the community. He died on 23 April, 1616, at the age of 52 and was buried insidethe Stratford church.

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