Shakespeare is known as the ‘Father of English Drama’. He is known as England’s national poet, and the “Bard of Avon”. His works, including collaborations, consist of 38 plays,154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and some other verses, some of the uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other dramatist.
- Shakespeare wrote 37 plays in about 24 years. His plays were written for performance.
- His dramas can be divided into histories, tragedies and comedies.
- The protagonists in the early plays are historical figures, including rulers of England.
- His play Hamlet is considered to be the epitome of the Renaissance in which the protagonist achieves his perfection only after death.
- His play Richard-III is the epitome of Machiavellian evil in which Shakespeare balances between the role of the king and the role of the man.
- As the dramatist of the Renaissance Age, Shakespearean plays focus on the man, exploring his weaknesses, depravities, flows etc.
- All the characters ranging from soldiers to king speak English.
- His plays have been divided into five acts. However, the division was imposed on the Shakespearean play by Nicholas Rowe; one of the first editors of Shakespeare.
- Most of the Shakespearean plays are problem plays in which the playwright do not provide any solutions and audience are supposed to decide.
- Shakespeare, in his plays, goes into the depth of human behaviour and redefines the geography of the human soul.
- His final plays move against the wave of Jacobean Theatre that focused on blood tragedy and social comedy.
- One finds the traces of colonialism in his plays. e.g. In The Tempest Prospero enslaves Caliban who is the native of that island.