All papers are checked via
|← Dante's Symbolism||Shakespeare's Measure for Measure →|
Shakespeare broke the mold for the writers of his day by becoming the author of many plays, poetry and other literary works that catapulted him into becoming one of the greatest playwrights of the Classical era. Shakespeare’s works remain relevant in the contemporary world where researchers are trying to dog out the true identity, character and personality of Shakespeare himself. With just seven years of schooling, in an institution that played down the learning in favor of other languages, Shakespeare was able to juggle between a life of a writer, stage performer, and an astute businessperson. Shakespeare was at home exploring the genres of literature, and in each of them, he outperformed his peers in allegorical and literal writing.
A. Introduction: William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare, the most renowned playwright was born in 1564 (Scodel, 2008). The date is an estimate from a valid baptism certificate.
William was born and raised up in the Henley Street; that is about a hundred miles northwest of London (Scodel, 2008).
William Shakespeare started to attend grammar school at King Edward IV Grammar School in 1571, when he was seven years old. The school is also known as Kings New School (Bloom, 1998). The schools of the day were very strict and incorporated heavy religious teachings, which affected greatly the lives of the learners. For instance, Shakespeare’s works borrow heavily from religion, sometimes blatantly going against indigenous beliefs of other religions in favor of Christian teachings. Due to financial difficulties, Shakespeare dropped out of school at the age of 14. Similar to other boys of this age, he was supposed to proceed into university where he could have studied art, philosophy, poetry, rhetoric, history, medicine, and many other subjects (Marshall, 1951).
Shakespeare had only seven years of schooling, despite his phenomenal proficiency in areas that were specialties in higher learning institutions. In the grammar schools, use of Latin was encouraged, and pupils caught speaking English received severe punishment every Friday. Historians in literature believe that drama classes at the grammar school helped Shakespeare to discover his taste in stagecraft (Bate, 1997).
W. Shakespeare’s Plays
1. Comedy by Shakespeare
Comedy was one of Shakespeare’s literally masterpieces. Of the surprisingly long list of Shakespeare’s literally works, about fifteen belong to the comedy classification (Bloom, 1998). The actual number is debatable as some of these plays receive the categorization of romances or problem plays. Nevertheless, the literally works have salient features of comedies and many people would still consider them to be so.
Shakespeare’s comedies had a mix of romance, climaxing at a sad event before a happy conclusion, like when a young couple eventually marries; but sometimes the author created his plays to end at the sad climax, experimenting with gothic characters (Marshall, 1951). Shakespeare’s style of writing comedy was unique, in a way that won much appeal from all who came to experience the plays on stage and even in writing. Shakespeare exhibited an astute ability to create comedy out of situations that people would consider obtuse and insensitive. One of the ways Shakespeare achieved this, literally, unusual effect in his work was through putting weight in situations and circumstances that dictate rather than the characters that domineer over the setting (Scodel, 2008). In this way, the audience can still laugh even in scenes where the underlying theme is grief.
Using comedy, Shakespeare was able to explore social issues on a wide and broad spectrum of literally themes that remain relevant to this day (Bloom, 1998). Through Shakespeare comedy, issues, such as parental opposition to budding romances founded on dwarfing ideologies, such as religion, cultural or social interactions, receive extensive treatment. For instance, in the Shakespearean comical play Merchant of Venice, such a situation is visible. Suitors in the play face myriads of challenges in their pursuit of romantic dreams. The major issues they conquer include religious animosity, class differences, and cultural barriers to better social interactions aimed at creating a coherent and balanced society (Walker, 1998).
William Shakespeare employs countless literally devices and a style of writing that creates unique work, though some critics have accused him in plagiarism due to themes and characters taken from earlier writers (Bloom, 1998). The plots are twisted and bizarre, and rely on suspense, humor, and dramatic irony to bring an interesting element into the work, keeping the audience intrigued to the end of the play. Shakespeare mixes various kinds of comedy writing styles. The flow in the stories in the comedy exhibits meticulous intertwining, which creates an ending that leaves everyone in the audience cheery.
Some of Shakespeare’s would be comedies have a difficult classification due to the proportionate blending of styles. For instance, the comedies Measure for Measure and All is Well that Ends Well have heavy doses of tragic literature, which makes them unusually difficult to place in either category (Bloom, 1998). Consequently, literally experts categorize them as problem plays. What remains a puzzle to literally scholars till this day is whether the intricate mix of style was intentional or because of misconstruction when Shakespeare was writing the plays (Bate, 1997).
Whichever way analysts dissect the issue of categorization of Shakespearean plays, one thing is clear: the problem plays provide and interesting read, and manage to arouse cheerfulness in the audience and keep them spellbound to the very end. The controversies only serve to spice up the comedy-tragedy, and prove why the literally genius of William Shakespeare makes him the greatest playwright in history (Walker, 1998).
2. Shakespeare’s History Plays
One of Shakespeare’s major and less questioned works are the history plays. The history plays explore the lives of monarchies and royal leadership. Although the plays do not give a one to one account of the lives of the royal leaders, they touch on particular circumstances that affect the lives of the historical figures in a way that emphasizes literally flair of William Shakespeare (Scodel, 2008). The plays build on a particular attribute in the leaders, and cast them in positive or negative light. The credibility of characters that appear in Shakespearean historical literature remains controversial, as some of the traits attributed to the historic characters are the downright negation of all the other relevant history of the period (Marshall, 1951).
Some sources believe that the works by Shakespeare aimed to appeal to theatre goers, and, therefore, the plots and style fit the tastes of the target audience (Bloom, 1998). Consequently, it is possible that the works reflected the popular sentiments that existed at the time about the characters portrayed in the plays. One way or another, the plays highlight a number of issues and political and social conditions of the period, while maintaining the literally ingenuity that appeals to scholars and lovers of literature in equal measure.
An overriding feature of Shakespeare's history plays is the theme of civil disobedience. Differing implications of the issue of rebellion are explored in many of Shakespearean plays. In some plays, the detrimental use of violence is cautioned in favor of social structured reforms that can bring about tranquility to the society; nevertheless, sometimes gothic elements emerge to plunge a plot into a tragic state (Arnold, 1959). Moreover, Shakespeare vindicates rebellious scheme, especially in circumstances where the political leadership is obstructive to social advancement by using a character to question the authority. In pursuit of the latter casting of rebellion, Shakespeare encompasses non-English history to different cultures, such as in the play Julius Caesar. The means of resolving politics in Shakespeare’s history plays can take both personal and public dimensions, and quite often, and intricate the mix of the two (Walker, 1998).
Shakespeare makes liberal use of allegory in his historical plays. Symbolism abounds in many of Shakespeare’s history plays to offer the audience a modest experience of the contentious viewpoint on political history.
3. Shakespeare’s Tragedy Plays
Shakespeare wrote not many tragic plays, an estimated ten of them. Shakespearean comedies are the most popular in literature (Bloom, 1998). In comedies, the salient features are a protagonist who despite his flaws affords to win the support of the audience. Shakespeare gives the antagonist too much free will to reinvent his personality and redeem himself. The basic format Shakespeare employs is a five-scene style, and also a period where the evil character gets the chance to reflect on his actions, accept the consequences and try to reverse some of the negative consequences of his actions. The society behind the play Romeo and Juliet is discriminative in nature to foreshadow how obstructive social discrimination instances can cause a tragic fall of a young man and a young lady because of their love to each other. The play uses gothic characteristics, especially during the death of Romeo and Juliet to define the classical believe that love outgrows death to the world yonder.
Furthermore, a few of Shakespeare’s comedies are problem-solving based plays, whereby elements of romance, history and solutions are considered in detail in each scene (Marshall, 1951). For instance, some experts consider the historic play Julius Caesar a tragedy. The confusion is obvious, as the play exhibits huge doses of both tragedy and history. The popular Shakespearean play Romeo and Juliet incorporates elements of romance and comedy.
John Milton wrote the masterpiece, Paradise Lost in which he articulates the fall of man from paradise that is used allegorically to represent grace to woe doom. Milton employs a personalized touch, largely absent in most religious literature. Milton explores the axis surrounding man’s fall and eventual ejection from grace into perpetual ignorance filled with “Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace/And rest can never dwell, hope never comes/ That comes to all, but torture without end/ Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed/ With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed ”(Milton I: 65-69). The balanced opinion allows literature to give each of the parties a voice and a case for their actions without bias or sympathy to either of the parties. The story slowly drifts towards the human ability to weather and overcome his limitations preyed on by the supernatural power of evil. The King Messiah character in the Paradise Regained shows human fortitude, resilience, and the inner ability to rise above impending physical needs to vanquish spiritual antipathy.
A. Introduction: John Milton
John Milton was born in the year 1608, and he died in 1974 (Patrides, 1966).
John Milton's upbringing was in London by a highly religious mother. His father was a songwriter and John was greatly influenced by his love of music art and writing.
Before John Milton joined formal learning institutions, his father home taught to become independent minded and open-minded. Thomas Young also educated him privately outside the formal school channels before he finally joined St Paul’s school when he was twelve years old (Evans, 2002). He joined Christ’s college a couple of years later where he fantasized with the idea of serving in the Christian ministry. It was also at this time that John Milton began writing poetry (Patrides, 1966). His college life was not smooth, and at one time, he got suspension for a term for getting into a fight with his tutor. By the time he quitted college, his ministerial dreams were gone, and he adopted no clear career path. He wrote a number of works before furthering his education in Greek, Latin, and Italian.
B. Paradise Lost
Many people consider Paradise Lost to be one of the most significant works of literature of all times (Dennis, 1999). Milton presents Paradise lost in terms of poems, which explore the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Milton explores the nature of angels, man, and God, and their inherent predispositions. To drive down the theme of predestination, Milton includes the Greek mythology and other pagan literature.
Even within the overpowering dogmatic context of the epic poems, Milton addresses the issues of politics and marriage among other topics (Patrides, 1966). Further inspiration from Milton’s work is the fact that he wrote the greater part of the poem when he was blind, using a transcriber.
Milton’s story reinforces the values upon which Christianity rests, and explores in detail how our lives, as they are today, merge with nature and the course of human characters. The perspective allows Milton to explore cultural, moral, and political issues in a universally appealing way (Luxon, 2005). Though the story has mainly a Christian theme, its purpose is to show the course of things beyond our control, the internal battles people have within themselves, and the hope for redemption win the story favor of different value systems. Both, Christians and non-Christians can learn from the major themes of the epic poem as a vivid account of the interplay between factors that reign supreme in people’s minds. The literally craft to merge mythology, paganism and Christianity gives Milton a special place in the world of literally history (Luxon, 2005).
Considerable controversy surrounds Milton’s Paradise Lost piece of literature (Patrides, 1966). Some literature experts interpret the work as a contravention to the scriptural version of the story. Others vehemently defend the notion that Milton conforms to the biblical interpretation of the story on the Fall of Man.
Milton, through his work on Paradise Lost seeks to vindicate the ways of God among human kind, and disperse the conflict between God’s supernatural omnipotence and man’s free will (Dennis, 1999). Though some literature critics are cynical of the representation of the true account of the Fall of Man in the thousands of lines in Milton’s poetic verses, he more than achieves this goal. The book Paradise Lost explores the story of how the fallen angel, Satan, lures Eve into sinfulness, which makes both her and Adam fall into a trap that cost human race the rightful position in the righteous cycle because of sin that attracted the wrath of God (Evans, 2002). Consequently, Satan, Adam, and Eve get expulsion from the blissfulness of heavenly glory and are subsequently cast out into the world of darkness. Clearly, God’s desire to give man the will to decide, and his canny ability to foresee the imminent desolation that man is to fall into is a subject Milton explores liberally in the story.
Some literature critics argue that Milton’s story will decline in popularity as secularization grows. Nothing could be further from the truth (Dennis, 1999). Although these critics initially buy the idea that Milton does indeed give a real account of the creation story, they are blind to the reception the story gets in the society, where religious, and especially Christian’s, values are on a downward spiral. The concerns carry an element of genuineness, but history seems to contravene this notion. Milton’s literally work of genius still carries a huge significance in our modern society, where issues such as fate and preordination still hold sway among many people. Widely indisputable is the fact that Milton’s work ranks among the works of Shakespeare, and other most respected literature works.
C. Paradise Regained
Paradise Regained was published in 1671, and had a close connection to Paradise Lost. The piece of literature attempts to roll back the fall of man in Paradise Lost (Patrides, 1966). The meticulous piece of literature tries to inverse the battering man experienced by the fall in the Garden of Eden. The redemption of man comes through the person of Jesus Christ (Dennis, 1999), who in the face of adverse physical and spiritual conditions, shows how a human form can still overcome the force of temptation by reforming the mind and actions.
Paradise Regained is one of the poems in Paradise Lost, which shows how King Messiah overcomes the temptations of Satan (Dennis, 1999). Jesus is portrayed as a more potent being whose triumph over the temptations of the malevolent temptations of the devil are meant to inspire hope of the innate human ability to overcome adversity and rise above personal and petty interests in pursuit of nobler objectives.
III. Zora Neale Hurston - Harlem Renaissance
Zora Neale Hurston overcame the prejudice against her skin color and her gender to spark off the famous Harlem Renaissance period. Works by Zora explore issues of slavery based on racial discrimination. Zora’s writing explores themes out of personal experience while using rhetoric devises to investigate widespread public assaults during the Renaissance period. White people discriminated the Black people of America, and the artistic articulation by Zora Neale addresses this ideal in a racially encompassing method. The issues Zora raises pass the value judgment systems of victims and the villains, perceived or otherwise. Zora addresses women’s issues in many of her works, in ways that appear practical in the realities of the time.
A. Introduction: Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale was born in 1891 (Harriss, 2008). Zora made one of the greatest contributions to the 20th century Harlem Renaissance, a period of increase in artistic expressiveness. She was the fifth of her eight siblings
Mystery obscures the early life of Zora Neale Hurston. According to her own account, Zora was passed around her relatives like a bad penny following her mother’s death (Harriss, 2008). Prior to this time in her life, the family had moved. Some people think that Zora was originally from Eatonville, a place that appears several times in her literature works. Recently, researchers believed the place to be Notasulga.
Zora endured numerous childhood struggles, especially after her mother’s death when she was only thirteen; probably she never had a consistent schooling (Gates, 1988). Henceforth, her father kept moving her from place to place among her relatives for a number of years. She juggled many odd jobs in her early adulthood, and had had little schooling at the time. While living with one of her employers, who was sympathetic to her dreams of gaining a higher level of schooling, the employer helped her to get enrolment into the high school division of Morgan College when she was 26 years old.
After graduating in 1918, she joined Howard University, where she got inspiration from a professor through his work on black cultural history and heritage to pursue a career in literature (Kaplan, 2002). Zora, on a scholarship, studied anthropology in Columbia University, and was instrumental in recording black mythical culture and folklore, something that won her recognition as a leader of a period when black history and culture took modern forms.
B. Their Eyes Were Watching God
Their Eyes Were Watching God is the most popular novel by Zora Neale (Kaplan, 2002). The novel’s setting is in southern Florida, in the early 20th century. Some experts attribute the popularity of the novel to its controversial nature. The story in the novel is told through the life of a forty-something year old Black woman, who gets married thrice to men of very divergent personalities. The story starts when Janie is born out of wedlock, after her teacher rapes her mother and the baby is born (Harriss, 2008).
The story is an inspiring personal journey for a Black girl who has to deal with adverse conditions in her social background. The young woman finds motherhood overwhelming, and suddenly gives in to an irresponsible life (Collie, 2009). Janie lives with her grandmother, referred throughout the novel as Nanny. Nanny had great dreams for her daughter, Janie’s mother. She dreamed that she would get a decent education and live a life that was nothing like the difficult limiting life she undergoes (Henry, 1993).
The Nanny puts the welfare of her daughter above all else, and does anything within her limited power to make sure that her granddaughter gets everything she would hope for in her own daughter. In a way, Nanny has transferred her dreams from her daughter to her granddaughter (Collie, 2009). Being a slave with a deferred destiny Nanny lives in total resignation only believing that her dreams could be realized through her granddaughter, but the situation got a critical turn when the granddaughter was raped by her master.
The novel addresses the role of independence of women (Gates, 1988). The standpoint materializes through the character of Nanny, who is concerned about another of her female relatives becoming a “mule” to some man. Her fears are real; she and her daughter had both suffered immensely after rape ordeals. A teacher puts an end to her daughter's educational dreams after raping her. Nanny gets especially restless when she sees Janie kissing a neighborhood boy, and creates a plan she believes will help her daughter to have a chance for a better life.
The situations in Janie’s life mix intricately and systematically lead to her personal fulfillment in the end. Her first marriage, organized by her Nanny, is to an old man who is looking for a companion and somebody to help him with farm work. The husband proves intolerable and Janie runs away with another man Starks, who harbors political and business ambitions, which he is able to realize when he runs with Janie to Eatonville. As with her first marriage, the marriage is limiting to Janie’s ambition, as she has to conform to patriarchal authority that demands Janie to behave appropriately as a married woman in order to preserve the husband’s public image. Later on, Starks dies and Janie finds herself in a position of unfamiliar power and independence. She becomes financially independent, and many worth suitors pursue her; the story takes a turn whereby a poor girl becomes a rich model to be perused. Equally, the self-esteem and confidence of a girl who was raped and devastated was now healed and she tasted a freedom to fulfill her grandmother’s dream (Wilhemus, 1996).
Finally, a woman gets to choose the kind of life she prefers (Kaplan, 2002). Janie’s financial stability means she is free of circumstantial influence on her romantic engagements. She marries a man she loves, Tea Cake, who is a gambler and a jobless individual. Nevertheless, the love she had always wanted is now in her life, despite the vicissitudes in their lives.
The acquittal by an all-white jury highlights theme of social harmony in the story (Harriss, 2008). When Janie was living with her husband Tea Cake, a hurricane hit them. Tea Cake saves her, but unfortunately, a rabid dog bites him. Because of his ailment, he tries to shoot her, but she shoots him in self-defense. A murder charge is lodged against her, and a White woman comes forward to testify in her defense while her male Black friends show up to oppose her. What is more moving is the exoneration she gets from an all-White jury.
The inspiration of Zora Neale’s novel is apparent from the range of pertinent issues she addresses through the life of Janie, and illegitimate child who is born in a society that stereotypes children born out of rape (Wilhemus, 1996). At the time of writing the novel, the social issues that plagued Black people were numerous and without a channel of articulating the social pressure to the larger society. Black women faced additional hardships due to the special environments they grew up in. In the ghettos, issues such as rape were pushed aside even though many women’s lives were ruined as a result of the vice. Janie’s grandmother and mother both underwent rape experiences (Burt, 2003).
The story addresses issues of racism, slavery, independence of women, social injustices, and the chance to pursue a personal fulfillment in society (Kaplan, 2002). Nanny was a slave, who dreamt of a better life, which she was able to experience through the life of her granddaughter. Janie was able to gain financial and social independence and could make important decisions in her life without having other people’s agendas cloud her interests. The novel addresses the issue of racism acrimony that turns into racial harmony through the injustice Janie gets in a White dominated legal structure, where Black people faced untold discrimination; however, eventually racial harmony is restored once Janie attains independence.
C. The Gilded Six Bits
The story the Gilded Six Bits is a perfect illustration of the well-known truth that money cannot buy you happiness. The story is about a young couple that falls apart on the account of material greed (Wilhemus, 1996). An average couple is living in marital bliss. Contentment and happiness characterize the lives of the young couple until Slemmons appears. Apparently, Slemmons is a wealthy man who has moved into the neighborhood. For the first time in her life, May eyes awaken to the happiness that money would bring to her life. Being blinded by materialistic wealth, she gets into an illicit relationship with Slemmons, and her husband Joe lingers on the periphery of her life. May looks happy by all possible indications, and her previous life with her husband fades in her memory. May’s relationship with Slemmons rides on the promise of money and wealth for May, but like all material relationships, the appeal wears off and the two lovers split up to go separate ways (Burt, 2003).
The main theme is that ideas that forge our happiness are not necessarily dependent on material ambition, but May is lucky to realize the concept. When her fleeting dreams for quick wealth die off, she slowly drifts into the hands of her husband, and they get on each other’s good sides once more. Joe, who had stopped buying for his wife gifts every time he got a paycheck, retraced his actions and started the routine to emphasize that the couple had emerges from personal limitations to find common joy in enduring activities that promote eternal love and mutual support (Wilhemus, 1996).
Literature and Shakespeare appear synonymous rather than relatable to some lovers of literature. The onrushing appeal and the invigorating intricacies of Shakespeare’s works make the English playwright and writer indelible and crucial in the history of the titanic world of literature. Shakespeare’s works, mainly plays, evidence the existence of literature proficiency of the Elizabethan era, and offer a vivid and gripping account of the historical settings, themes and conditions that affected the era.
The Renaissance period was a time of social and political upheaval such that the works by the emerging Zora Neale kept the pace of the age more alive giving the social movement a heart to drive social reforms aimed at deconstructing racial acrimony. Cultural changes are experienced following successful civil rights campaigns that mandate the society to respect every race regardless of background, culture and power differences that exist even today. The key issues the literature works address include the racial, feminist, social, and political disarticulation.
John Milton is somehow a literally genius in mending the social dislocation characteristic of many religious literature. His style interweaves mainstream religious dogma with pagan mythology and still delivers a literally work that creates an across-the-board allure. It has left many literature critics fascinated about the account of creations and how entities played their part in bringing about the trivial and phenomenal mysteries that surround nature. His position in the annals of literature history is, certainly, irrefutable.
Shakespeare and Milton draw heavily on religious dogma and pagan mythology in their works in order to teach morality and ethical social behavior. Milton uses the Biblical story on the Fall of Man as the major premise of his story. Shakespeare uses Christian and Jewish religious beliefs to create the themes of social conflict, which merge into social harmony. Religious believes play a major role in social interactions to this day, just as in Shakespeare and Milton’s time.
Shakespeare and Zora seek to invoke a social change in people’s standpoints on certain issues in politics, racial, social dynamics, and fairness in the justice system. The works by these writers play on people’s spirits arousing a need for urgent social transformation.
Milton and Zora highlight the remarkable power that lies in individuals who are willing to pursue goals in the midst of constant impediments that separate victims from victors. In Paradise Lost by Milton, people are inspired to reinvent themselves; whil Zora’s literature reveals the possibility of rising above the dwarfing cultural and social influences to make life abundant in every perspective. The ideals by the literally intelligentsia of Milton and Zora remain relevant to this day.
Zora, Milton, and Shakespeare through their work seek to show the untapped power within each of us, and ways in which we can get more out of life through active endorsement of social and political change. The overriding theme in all the three works is political, social, cultural, and personal transformation that results in more gratifying life for all involved. Communities need to embrace and cultivate the notion of racial and natural harmony, just as these remarkable literature peaces whisper through the ages.