William Shakespeare - Creativity and Writing
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
English playwright and poet (pictured right).
Born in Stratford-upon- Avon, England.
He wrote and performed nearly all his great plays in London (often in the outdoor Globe Theatre).
Voted Man of the Millennium by BBC’s Radio 4 listeners in Britain.
Why was he so creative?
1. Learning and education
- had a good education at Stratford Grammar School (pictured right).
- used his incredible vocabulary of some 21,000 words
- applied his knowledge of different jobs like the law, the army and navy.
- was an expert in history, philosophy and human traits like love, courage and sorrow .
This comes out in his writing:
• “To thine own self be true” (Hamlet ,pictured right played by
Laurence Olivier, the great English actor).
• “Sweet are the uses of adversity” (As You Like It).
• “Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind” (A Midsummer Night’s
• “The world’s mine oyster” (The Merry Wives of Windsor).
• “I must be cruel only to be kind (Hamlet).
2. Customer satisfaction
He wrote plays that people wanted:
He continually re-wrote them, if:
- they weren’t clear enough.
- the actors or audience didn’t like them.
For example, in Othello he
made Emelia a nicer person, so that Iago was the only baddie.
He realized that maximum entertainment came from:
- alternating comedy and tragedy.
Queen Elizabeth I (pictured right) loved his
plays, particularly the comic Falstaff in Henry IV Parts 1 and 2.
He was particularly imaginative when showing the forces of good and evil e.g. the witches in Macbeth.
Before 1594 he struggled to make a living as an actor, writing his plays in his spare time.
Epidemics of the plague continually forced London theatres to close.
But he always:
- quickly threw off any worries or depression (e.g. after the death of his
only son in 1596).
- wrote 37 plays and 144 sonnets.
- wrote so quickly that he sometimes didn’t finish his sentences!
His dream was to become a great writer, which is why in 1592 he left his wife, Anne Hathaway
(pictured right), daughter and twins, to work in London.
He visited them in Stratford regularly, but didn’t permanently return until his retirement in 1609.
He had great confidence in his own ability.
Key quotes on success
To thine own self be true (Polonius, Hamlet).
Key quotes on globalization
The world’s mine oyster (Pistol, The Merry Wives of Windsor).
All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players (Jaques, As You Like It).
Key quote on
I must be cruel, only to be kind (Hamlet in Hamlet).
Key quote on love
Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind (Helena, A Midsummer Night’s Dream).
Key quote on stress and
Sweet are the uses of adversity (Duke Senior, As You Like It).