Shakespeare's Life in "Will in the World" Book Review by Nicky

A review of Stephen Greenblatt's book on Shakespeare, entitled "Will in the World".
# 150124 | 1,172 words | 1 source | MLA | 2012 | US
Published on Jan 27, 2012 in Shakespeare (General)

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The paper describes how Greenblatt's book, "Will in The World", provides an insightful look into the life of the famous playwright with a fresh perspective. The paper looks at how Greenblatt addresses the humble start of Shakespeare's life, his frugality and his ill-formed marriage. The paper notes that Greenblatt presents Shakespeare as he likely was in his time, imperfections and all.

From the Paper:

"Will in the World grabs attention from the start with an intriguing jacket that invites curiosity about the "acutely sensitive and talented boy" we come to know as Shakespeare. Greenblatt writes that Shakespeare was a "master of double consciousness . . . recycled every word he ever encountered, every person he ever met, every experience he ever had" (Greenblatt 155). From this perception, we read about a playwright determined to use the gifts endowed unto him in the best way he saw fit. Greenblatt reveals a man living in a tumultuous time. From the earliest times in his life when he learned to cope with his father's public fall to his achieving the popularity of the greatest playwright in Britain, Greenblatt offers us a man that we feel we know a little bit more after reading the book. Through the best and worst times, we see the man and perhaps one of the most painful aspects of the man's life was the death of his son, Hamnet, after whom Greenblatt believes Shakespeare named the infamous Hamlet. The death of the father must have created a "spiritual crisis" (311) for Shakespeare, writes Greenblatt. Hamlet is a play about death, religion, and what lies in between, asserts Greenblatt, and the writing of it may have been the peace for which Shakespeare was looking."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Greenblatt, Stephen. Will in the World. New York: W. W. Norton and Company. 2004.

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

Shakespeare's Life in "Will in the World" (2012, January 27) Retrieved September 21, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Shakespeare's Life in "Will in the World"" 27 January 2012. Web. 21 September. 2023. <>