Measure for Measure

  

Globe Theatre, London: outside, stage and stalls, and stage roof and balcony

Introduction

I was initiated into the unique world of Shakespeare’s poetry and plays in high school and, I believe like many people, though instantly smitten with the man and his works, meandered a while before settling on my all-time favourite piece – Hamlet.

Earlier candidates included pretty much all the other usual suspects at one point or another; but particularly so, Romeo and Juliet (of course), Macbeth, Richard II, Richard III, Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, the “battle of the sexes” comedies (The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, Love’s Labour’s Lost), Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, as well as some of the sonnets.

When precisely the realisation hit home with me what a truly unique piece of writing Hamlet is, I can no longer even tell. All I know is that it was a gradual process: for a long time I was intimidated by the play’s sheer length; as well as its gutwrenching atmosphere, its – apparent – utter hopelessness, and its uncharitable stance towards its two female characters. Yet, eventually the play’s unique power got through to me and firmly took hold of my brain, unmix’d with baser matter.

But of course the Bard left us much more than this one piece, great though it may be. Therefore,  here my focus is on his literary and theatrical legacy as a whole – to the extent this is possible within the confines of a blog like this one in the first place.

 

William Shakespeare: Biography
Quick Info: The Basics
  • Author Page: Biographical Sketch, bibliography, quotes, links
Shakespeare’s Life
  • Detailed, Illustrated Biography
  • The Authorship Debate
  • Portraits of Shakespeare

[To be completed.]

 

One-page editions of Shakespeare’s sonnets and of Hamlet

 
Shakespeare’s Works
… on the Page

 

Left: the 1623 First Folio, with a portrait of William Shakespeare ascribed to Martin Droeshout;
Center: the First Folio’s table of contents;
Right: Arend van Buchell’s copy of Johannes DeWitt’s sketch of the London Swan Theatre, built in 1595 (original sketch lost)

 

… and on Stage and Screen

 

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Globe Theatre, October 2012: Director Dominic Dromgoole (right) and the cast of that year’s production of Twelfth Night – including Mark Rylance as Olivia (at the right end of the cast lineup) and Stephen Fry as Malvolio (yellow garters! centre / left, below the balcony) – take standing ovations at the end of the season’s very last performance.

 

Stratford-upon-Avon: Royal Shakespeare Theatre (left) and Swan Theatre (right)

 

The HandleBards: Macbeth (The Dell, Stratford-upon-Avon, June 14, 2014)
Left: “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes” (Macbeth and the Three Witches)
Right: “Turn, hell-hound, turn!” (Macbeth and Macduff, the final duel)

 

Shakespeare and Stratford-upon-Avon
The Shakespeare Houses

 

Shakespeare’s birthplace in Henley Street and the Shakespeare coat of arms

The building in Church Street standing in the place of Shakespeare’s final Stratford home — New Place –,
its restored knot garden, and the New Place memorial in its garden

Hall’s Croft, the home of Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna and her husband, Dr. John Hall

Anne Hathaway’s cottage in Shottery near Stratford-upon-Avon
— the girlhood home of Shakespeare’s wife

 

Holy Trinity Church

Holy Trinity Church and Shakespeare’s bust above his grave

Shakespeare’s gravestone and epitaph:

Good Friend, for Jesus’ sake forbear
To dig the bones enclosed here
Blest be the man that spares these stones
And curst be he that moves my bones.

Facsimiles of Shakespeare’s baptism (left) and burial (right) entries in the Holy Trinity parish register:
Left: “April 26, 1564: Gulielmus filius Johannis Shakspear
Right: April 25, 161: “Will Shakspear, gent

 

The River Avon

The riverfront near the Royal Shakespeare Theatre with Holy Trinity Church in the background;
and near Old Bridge

 

Shakespeare on Location
Helsingør, Kronborg Castle (Hamlet: Elsinore)

 

 

 

 

 

Glamis and Cawdor Castles (Macbeth)

 

 

 

Literature About Shakespeare, His Works, and His Era

 

 

Shakespeare’s Legacy … and a bit of fun

 

 

 

Other Related Blog Posts

 

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