Shakespeare term papers

Who was Shakespeare?

William Shakespeare (1565 - 1616) is considered one of the greatest playwrights of all times. The Bard of Avon, as he is sometimes known, wrote 38 plays and over 150 sonnets, as well as poems and other narratives. Some of his most popular works include Hamlet, A Comedy of Errors, Macbeth and Henry VI. While Shakespeare enjoyed minor success in his own lifetime, it wasn't until the 19th Century that appreciation for his work and genius really took off and he became revered in literary circles.  Shakespeare's works have been translated into more languages than any other writer, and his plays have been performed more times than those of any other playwright.

The Influence of Shakespeare's Works

William Shakespeare's works made a huge impact on theater and literature, influencing concepts such as characterization, plot and genre.  The Bard took subjects that were not traditionally compatible in theater (such as love and tragedy) and turned them into masterpieces, paving the way for others to follow suit.  He used methods such as soliloquies  to explore the mind of his characters, something which had not been done until then.  William Shakespeare's language helped shaped modern English, while his works also inspired music and writings.

Shakespeare as an Academic Subject

Learning about the history and writings of William Shakespeare can be done at major schools and universities, usually within the English literature department. Until 15 years ago, the study of Shakespeare usually consisted of reading and analyzing his plays. Nowadays, however, with the rise of theory (eg. gender studies, post-colonial studies, new historicism, etc.), students have many different ways to approach Shakespeare's works.  Technology, too, has influenced the way Shakespeare is taught, with all his works available at a click of a mouse to read and compare.

Shakespeare Courses

Shakespearean studies can take on a variety of forms, ranging from courses on specific plays written by him, to an MA in Shakespeare Studies. An MA, for example, offers students the opportunity to study the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries of the time, in their critical, textual and theatrical contexts. Students also study theater during the time of Shakespeare, including specific buildings, urban locations and more.  Students are given training in research methodologies in order to allow them to analyze and study Shakespeare's texts and plays. Students are taught to develop a critical but appreciative understanding of Shakespeare's contribution to literary and theatrical history, and are shown how his works still occupy a prominent place in today's cultural landscape.

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