William Shakespeare.

The merchant of Venice (Al Pacino).
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William Shakespeare.

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The merchant of Venice (Al Pacino).

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William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (Stratford-upon-Avon, England, 1564-1616), the English playwright and poet, is one of the world’s literary geniuses of all times. Nicknamed “the Bard” he is England’s national poet.

Coming from a large family, he married while still young and moved to London, where he worked as an actor and started writing. By 1592 he was already an established playwright.
Thanks to support from the monarchy, he set up his theatre, “The Globe”, in 1599. This was the symbol of Shakespeare’s style of theatre; popular, despite some complex characters and refined poetry.
His works today have translated into all major languages and are performed around the world. They fall into four main periods: the first (1589-95) was a period of experimentation and learning play-writing techniques; the second (1595-1600) is dominated by the “histories”, such as "Henry V", and his great “comedies” – "Midsummer’s Night Dream", "Much Ado About Nothing", "Twelfth Night and The Taming of the Shrew" – plus a few brilliant “tragedies”, such as "Romeo and Juliet" and "Julius Caesar"; the third (1600-08) was the period of the great tragedies, such as "Hamlet", "Othello", "Macbeth", "King Lear", "Anthony and Cleopatra"; the last (1609-12) that of the “romances” or “tragicomedies” with a fairy-tale feel to them, such as "The Tempest".

Some of his works were set in the Veneto region (in his imagination, not having been there): "The Taming of the Shrew" in Padua, "Romeo and Juliet" in Verona, "The Merchant of Venice" and Othello in Venice. The Bard saw the lagoon city as an imaginary, hazy and vague place.

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Venice and its lagoons

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