William Shakespeare

by Brianna from San Diego


"All the world's a stage, / And all the men and women merely players" (As You Like It 2.7.139-143). Most people recognize this quote as one of the most famous lines by one of the most famous playwrights, William Shakespeare. Many people of Shakespeare's time didn't know that the small boy born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564 would eventually become a legendary dramatist. Even when he went to become popular in the small town, local residents, which included the family Shakespeare made with Anne Hathaway, never thought that he would be the one to move out of Stratford and relocate to London. They became surprised even more because in only a matter of years, Shakespeare had managed to dominate in such a profession. He proved to be a hero to not only those of his own town, but people across the in his town, in the country, and throughout the world. Heroes are people that can take knowledge and fuse it with creativity to install inspiration into others. A hero can reach everybody with their words or actions; what they do and who they are will be able to influence the young, the old, the smart, the stupid, the male, or the female. Shakespeare was a hero because he can do just this. Even generations after his time, Shakespeare is still able to supply inspiration to people over many generations through his intelligence and creativity.  


As one of the greatest playwrights in history, William Shakespeare displayed an astounding amount of intelligence throughout his whole life. Many people appraised him for his proficiency in the department of drama, despite having no prior years of guidance from other playwrights: "Greene's outcry testifies, both in its passion and in the work it implies Shakespeare had been doing for some time, that the young poet had already established himself in the capital... it is hard to believe that even Shakespeare could have shown such mastery without several years of apprenticeship" (Encyclopedia of World Biography). Even without the tutelage that Robert Greene, a fellow playwright six years older than Shakespeare, received, Shakespeare was able to surpass Greene. Shakespeare's intelligence outgrew Greene's, resulting in the former falling to the latter in matters of entertainment. Greene was furious and a bit jealous of the fact that Shakespeare's genius was what beat him in the long run. This proves that Shakespeare's intelligence was an important factor for his successful plays. Other playwrights, ones that have joined a guild and underwent training when Shakespeare hadn't, couldn't top the famous dramatist's mental brilliance. But his demonstration of knowledge shows not only in his victory over his rivals, but in his plays, themselves: "The greatness of the sonnets lies in their intellectual and emotional power, in Shakespeare's ability to find exactly the right images to convey a particular idea or feeling and in his magnificent gift for shaping the diction and rhythms of ordinary human speech into expressions of the subtlest and deepest human perceptions" (Modern Language Assoc.). Using his understanding of human nature, Shakespeare was able to create plays that not only entertain thousands of crowds, but connected with them on levels unheard of. His famous tragedies were an exemplified version of their own hardships. That's why so many people came from around the country came to witness the increasingly popular masterpieces that Shakespeare had performed. His perception of mankind was another example of Shakespeare's amazing intelligence. It was this knowledge that led Shakespeare through his life of fame and helped him attain glory for many generations after. 


The most predominant trait that Shakespeare had, however, was his creativity. He was the first to ever come up with such mind-blowing stories; his imaginative mind weaved the plays that have him written in history. Especially in his world famous plays, Shakespeare's displayed his unique thinking for an eager audience: "His poetry, in particular his intricately woven and fiercely passionate love sonnets, have stirred the senses of reader and critic alike for generations past and will do so for generations to come" (Europe, 1450 to 1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World). The reason why Shakespeare's genius was to popular was because he had a way of thinking that no one had ever shown before. He showed people different and distinctive perspective on life. Shakespeare had an enticing outlook on life and his ability to convey those interesting theories and feelings into a play had entertained almost everybody; even people from generations later. Shakespeare's creativity also led critics to notice his brilliant understanding in mankind's disposition: "Although William Shakespeare's sonnets are generally considered to be among the most beautiful and most powerful poems in English literature, the attention of readers and scholars has more often centered on their possible biographical significance than on the literary qualities that give them their greatness" (Modern Language Assoc.) Shakespeare puts himself in the writing, in a sense, leading the reader to be better linked to the story. No one in history had ever expressed such vivid emotions and expressions before. Shakespeare's creative mind was what led him to dare to try such acts. Other rivals fell in his shadows and his imaginative thinking when they could not compete on the same level as the famous playwright. Overall, Shakespeare's creativity in his works will remain as one of his greatest qualities, and one of the reasons why he was able to attain everlasting fame. 


Intelligence and creativity are what made Shakespeare the famous playwright he is today. Even through tough times and bitter rivals, the extraordinary dramatist has been able to succeed through his knowledge and imagination. His vast audience and renowned plays are proof of the traits that make Shakespeare a hero. I am inspired by Shakespeare because he was able to keep his mind sharp and witty. Through hardships of living during the late 1500s, Shakespeare was able to take those tragedies, use his deadly combination of intellect and passion, and create masterpieces that are still receiving acclaim today. I hope to one day be a writer like Shakespeare once was; to be able to induce mind-provoking thinking and still be able to floor people with a crowd-silencing performance derived from a wild imagination. So, as the playwright once said, "All the world's a stage, / And all the men and women merely players / They have their exits and their entrances / And one man in his time plays many parts" (As You Like It 2.7.139-143).  

Works Cited

Griffith, Eva. "William Shakespeare." Europe, 1450 to 1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World. Ed. Jonathan Dewald. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2004. Biography In Context. Web. 21 Mar. 2013.

"Sonnets Of Shakespeare." Masterplots, Fourth Edition (2010): 1-4. Literary Reference Center. Web. 22 Mar. 2013.

"William Shakespeare." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Biography In Context. Web. 21 Mar. 2013.


Page created on 4/20/2013 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 4/20/2013 12:00:00 AM

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Related Links

Shakespeare Library - A source for anything Shakespeare
Bio. True Story: William Shakespeare - A complete biography of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare Biography - A biographical welsite created by an expert about Shakespeare