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8 - ENGLISH DRAMA
The dominant person of the English drama is William Shakespeare. But there are also many other personalities like Oscar Wilde with his Ideal Husband, G. B. Shaw with his Pygmalion or Peter Schaffer with Amadeus.
Firstly I would like to speak about William Shakespeare.
William Shakespeare is considered to be the greatest of all dramatists in the world. His work reflect an image of human unity and a love of people and nature. He was born in 1564 at Stratford-upon-Avon as the oldest son of glove maker John Shakespeare. William attended the local grammar school. When he was 18, he married eight years older Ann Hathaway. In 1592 he came to London and joined a group of actors. Eight years later he bought his own theatre and named it the Globe Theatre. At Shakespeare's time there were no actresses and the men played also the women's roles. Also one actor played more then one role.
At first Shakespeare helped to adapt or rewrite older plays but later he started to write his own plays and he was very succesful. Both the Queen Elizabeth I. and James I. liked him very much. One day during a performance of Henry VIII., the Globe Theatre was destroyed by the fire.
After his son's death, Shakespeare went back to Stratford and he was living a quiet life with his family. He was a wealthy man and he bought house, the second largest in the town. He died in 1616 on the same day as he was born. William Shakespeare is buried at local church with his wife and other members of his family.
Shakespeare was a big poet and he wrote beautiful sonnets but his plays are the best known from all his work.
Tragedies: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth
Comedies: The Taming of the Shrew (Zkrocení zlé ženy), A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, The Merry Wives of Winsdor, As You Like It, Twelfth Night
Romances: Pericles, The Winter's Tale, The Tempest
Historical plays: Richard II. Richard III., Henry IV., Henry V., Henry VI., Julius Caesar, Anthony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus
ROMEO AND JULIET
This drama is about the unhappy love and death. The main characters are Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet who are the only children of two powerful houses in Verona. These two houses hate each other. Romeo meets Juliet at the ball and falls in love with her although he knows she is a Capulet. They love each other very much and ask Friar Laurence to marry them. Their love and marriage are secret. However, Romeo kills tybalt, Juliet's cousin by an unfortunate coincidece. Prince of Verona sends Romeo to the exile (?) and Juliet stays in Verona. She is forced to marry a young nobleman called Paris. She asks Friar Laurence for help again and he gives her magic drops after which Juliet falls asleep for several hours and looks and she is dead. Romeo learns about Juliet's death but he doesn't know about the trick so he bought himself a poison. He rushes to the church and when he sees Juliet, he commits a suicide. Soon after Juliet wakes up and when she sees Romeo's death, she kills herself with his sword. Both Capulets and Montagues houses reconciles only after the death of their beloved children.
Next very famous dramatist is George Bernard Shaw. He was born in Dublin in the impoverished family. His childhood wasn't happy - his father was a drunker (???) and his mother left him because she wanted to go to London to teach singing. So G. B. Shaw was a self-made man he spent many hours with reading books in the British Museum.
To his best-known plays belong Widiwer's Houses and Mrs. Warren's profession. But his most famous play is Pygmalion adapted as a musical play My Fair Lady.
In 1935. G. B. Shaw was awarded Nobel Prize for literature.
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