In a modern sense, comedy refers to any discourse or work intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter in theatre, film, stand-up comedy, or any other medium of entertainment. The origins of the term are found in Ancient Greece. In the Athenian democracy, the public opinion of voters was influenced by the political satire performed by the comic poets at the theaters; the theatrical genre of Greek comedy can be described as a dramatic performance which pits two groups or societies against each other in an amusing agon or conflict. Northrop Frye depicted these two opposing sides as a "Society of Youth" and a "Society of the Old." A revised view characterizes the essential agon of comedy as a struggle between a powerless youth and the societal conventions that pose obstacles to his hopes. In this struggle, the youth is understood to be constrained by his lack of social authority, is left with little choice but to take recourse in ruses which engender dramatic irony which provokes laughter.
Satire and political satire use comedy to portray persons or social institutions as ridiculous or corrupt, thus alienating their audience from the object of their humor. Parody subverts popular genres and forms, critiquing those forms without condemning them. Other forms of comedy include screwball comedy, which derives its humor from bizarre, surprising situations or characters, black comedy, characterized by a form of humor that includes darker aspects of human behavior or human nature. Scatological humor, sexual humor, race humor create comedy by violating social conventions or taboos in comic ways. A comedy of manners takes as its subject a particular part of society and uses humor to parody or satirize the behavior and mannerisms of its members. Romantic comedy is a popular genre that depicts burgeoning romance in humorous terms and focuses on the foibles of those who are falling in love; the word "comedy" is derived from the Classical Greek κωμῳδία kōmōidía, a compound either of κῶμος kômos or κώμη kṓmē and ᾠδή ōidḗ.
The adjective "comic", which means that which relates to comedy is, in modern usage confined to the sense of "laughter-provoking". Of this, the word came into modern usage through the Latin comoedia and Italian commedia and has, over time, passed through various shades of meaning; the Greeks and Romans confined their use of the word "comedy" to descriptions of stage-plays with happy endings. Aristotle defined comedy as an imitation of men worse than the average. However, the characters portrayed in comedies were not worse than average in every way, only insofar as they are Ridiculous, a species of the Ugly; the Ridiculous may be defined as a deformity not productive of pain or harm to others. In the Middle Ages, the term expanded to include narrative poems with happy endings, it is in this sense that Dante used the term in the title of La Commedia. As time progressed, the word came more and more to be associated with any sort of performance intended to cause laughter. During the Middle Ages, the term "comedy" became synonymous with satire, with humour in general.
Aristotle's Poetics was translated into Arabic in the medieval Islamic world, where it was elaborated upon by Arabic writers and Islamic philosophers, such as Abu Bischr, his pupils Al-Farabi and Averroes. They disassociated comedy from Greek dramatic representation and instead identified it with Arabic poetic themes and forms, such as hija, they viewed comedy as the "art of reprehension", made no reference to light and cheerful events, or to the troubling beginnings and happy endings associated with classical Greek comedy. After the Latin translations of the 12th century, the term "comedy" gained a more general meaning in medieval literature. In the late 20th century, many scholars preferred to use the term laughter to refer to the whole gamut of the comic, in order to avoid the use of ambiguous and problematically defined genres such as the grotesque and satire. Starting from 425 BCE, Aristophanes, a comic playwright and satirical author of the Ancient Greek Theater, wrote 40 comedies, 11 of which survive.
Aristophanes developed his type of comedy from the earlier satyr plays, which were highly obscene. The only surviving examples of the satyr plays are by Euripides, which are much examples and not representative of the genre. In ancient Greece, comedy originated in bawdy and ribald songs or recitations apropos of phallic processions and fertility festivals or gatherings. Around 335 BCE, Aristotle, in his work Poetics, stated that comedy originated in phallic processions and the light treatment of the otherwise base and ugly, he adds that the origins of comedy are obscure because it was not treated from its inception. However, comedy had its own Muse: Thalia. Aristotle taught that comedy was positive for society, since it brings forth happiness, which for Aristotle was the ideal state, the final goal in any activity. For Aristotle, a comedy did not need to involve sexual humor. A comedy is about the fortunate rise of a sympathetic character. Aristotle divides comedy into three categories or subgenres: farce, romantic comedy, satire.
On the contrary, Plato taught. He believed that it produces an emotion that overrides ra
Troilus and Cressida
Troilus and Cressida is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1602. It was described by Frederick S. Boas as one of Shakespeare's problem plays; the play ends on a bleak note with the death of the noble Trojan Hector and destruction of the love between Troilus and Cressida. The work has in recent years "stimulated exceptionally lively critical debate". Throughout the play, the tone lurches wildly between bawdy comedy and tragic gloom, readers and theatre-goers have found it difficult to understand how one is meant to respond to the characters. Several characteristic elements of the play have been viewed as distinctly "modern", as in the following remarks on the play by author and literary scholar Joyce Carol Oates: Troilus and Cressida, that most vexing and ambiguous of Shakespeare's plays, strikes the modern reader as a contemporary document – its investigation of numerous infidelities, its criticism of tragic pretensions, above all, its implicit debate between what is essential in human life and what is only existential are themes of the twentieth century....
This is tragedy of a special sort – the "tragedy" the basis of, the impossibility of conventional tragedy. Troilus and Cressida is set during the years of the Trojan War, faithfully following the plotline of the Iliad from Achilles' refusal to participate in battle, to Hector's death. Two plots are followed in the play. In one, Troilus, a Trojan prince, woos another Trojan, they profess their undying love. As he attempts to visit her in the Greek camp, Troilus glimpses Diomedes flirting with his beloved Cressida, decides to avenge her perfidy. While this plot gives the play its name, it accounts for only a small part of the play's run time; the majority of the play revolves around the leaders of the Greek and Trojan forces and Priam, respectively. Agamemnon and his cohorts attempt to get the proud Achilles to return to battle and face Hector, who sends the Greeks a letter telling them of his willingness to engage in one-on-one combat with a Greek soldier. Ajax is chosen as this combatant, but makes peace with Hector before they are able to fight.
Achilles is prompted to return to battle only after his lover Patroclus is killed by Hector before the Trojan walls. A series of skirmishes conclude the play, during which Achilles catches Hector and has the Myrmidons kill him; the conquest of Troy is left unfinished. The play opens with a Prologue, an actor dressed as a soldier, who gives us the background to the plot, which takes place during the Trojan War. Immortalized in Greek mythology and Homer's Iliad, the war occurs because a Trojan prince, has stolen the beautiful Helen from her husband, King Menelaus of Sparta, carries her home to Troy with him. In response, Menelaus gathers his fellow Greek kings, they sail to Troy hoping to capture the city and reclaim Helen. Within the walls of Troy, Prince Troilus complains to Pandarus that he is unable to fight because of heartache. Pandarus complains that he has been doing his best to further Troilus's pursuit of his niece, that he has received small thanks for his labors. After he departs, Troilus remarks.
As he ponders, the Trojan commander Aeneas comes in, bringing news about that Paris has been wounded in combat with Menelaus. As the noise of battle comes in offstage, Troilus agrees to join his Trojan comrades on the field. In another part of the city, Cressida converses with her servant, who recounts how a Greek warrior named Ajax, a valiant but stupid man, managed to overcome the great Trojan prince Hector the previous day, that Hector is fighting furiously because of this defeat. Cressida is joined by Pandarus, they discuss the Trojan princes, with Pandarus taking the unlikely position that Troilus is a greater man than Hector; as they converse, several Trojan lords pass by them returning from battle, including Antenor, Aeneas and Paris. He leaves Cressida, promising to bring a token from Troilus. Alone, Cressida says. In the Greek camp, the great general and king Agamemnon is conversing with his lieutenants and fellow kings, he asks why they seem so glum and downcast for although their seven-year siege of Troy has met little success so far, they should welcome the adversity that the long war represents, since only in difficult times can greatness emerge.
Nestor, the oldest of the Greek commanders, citing examples of how heroism emerges from hardship. In response, Ulysses expresses his deep respect for what they have said, but points out that the Greek army is facing a crisis not because of the duration of the war, but because of a breakdown in authority within the Greek camp. Instead of being united, they are divided into factions, who refuses to fight and instead sits in his tent while his lover Patroclus makes fun of the Greek commanders. Others, like Ajax and his foul-mouthed slave, follow this example, so the entire army is corrupted; the others agree that this is a great problem, as they discuss what is to be done, Aeneas appears under a flag of truce, bringing a challenge from Hector. The Trojan prince offers to fight any Greek lord in single combat, with the honor of their respective wives as the issue; the Greeks agree to offer Aeneas hospitality. As Aene
The English Renaissance was a cultural and artistic movement in England dating from the late 15th century to the early 17th century. It is associated with the pan-European Renaissance, regarded as beginning in Italy in the late 14th century; as in most of the rest of northern Europe, England saw little of these developments until more than a century later. The beginning of the English Renaissance is taken, as a convenience, to be 1485, when the Battle of Bosworth Field ended the Wars of the Roses and inaugurated the Tudor Dynasty. Renaissance style and ideas, were slow to penetrate England, the Elizabethan era in the second half of the 16th century is regarded as the height of the English Renaissance; the English Renaissance is different from the Italian Renaissance in several ways. The dominant art forms of the English Renaissance were music. Visual arts in the English Renaissance were much less significant than in the Italian Renaissance; the English period began far than the Italian, moving into Mannerism and the Baroque by the 1550s or earlier.
In contrast, the English Renaissance can only be said to begin, shakily, in the 1520s, it continued until 1620. England had a strong tradition of literature in the English vernacular, which increased as English use of the printing press became common during the mid 16th century. By the time of Elizabethan literature a vigorous literary culture in both drama and poetry included poets such as Edmund Spenser, whose verse epic The Faerie Queene had a strong influence on English literature but was overshadowed by the lyrics of William Shakespeare, Thomas Wyatt and others; the works of these playwrights and poets circulated in manuscript form for some time before they were published, above all the plays of English Renaissance theatre were the outstanding legacy of the period. The works of this period are affected by Henry VIII's declaration of independence from the Catholic Church and technological advances in sailing and cartography, which are reflected in the nonreligious themes and various shipwreck adventures of Shakespeare.
The English theatre scene, which performed both for the court and nobility in private performances, a wide public in the theatres, was the most crowded in Europe, with a host of other playwrights as well as the giant figures of Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson. Elizabeth herself was a product of Renaissance humanism trained by Roger Ascham, wrote occasional poems such as On Monsieur's Departure at critical moments of her life. Philosophers and intellectuals included Francis Bacon. All the 16th century Tudor monarchs were educated, as was much of the nobility, Italian literature had a considerable following, providing the sources for many of Shakespeare's plays. English thought advanced towards modern science with the Baconian Method, a forerunner of the Scientific Method; the language of the Book of Common Prayer, first published in 1549, at the end of the period the Authorised Version of the Bible had enduring impacts on the English consciousness. England was slow to produce visual arts in Renaissance styles, the artists of the Tudor court were imported foreigners until after the end of the Renaissance.
The English Reformation produced a huge programme of iconoclasm that destroyed all medieval religious art, all but ended the skill of painting in England. The significant English invention was the portrait miniature, which took the techniques of the dying art of the illuminated manuscript and transferred them to small portraits worn in lockets. Though the form was developed in England by foreign artists Flemish like Lucas Horenbout, the somewhat undistinguished founder of the tradition, by the late 16th century natives such as Nicolas Hilliard and Isaac Oliver produced the finest work as the best producers of larger portraits in oil were still foreigners; the portrait miniature had spread all over Europe by the 18th century. The portraiture of Elizabeth I was controlled, developed into an elaborate and wholly un-realist iconic style, that has succeeded in creating enduring images. English Renaissance music kept in touch with continental developments far more than visual art, managed to survive the Reformation successfully, though William Byrd and other major figures were Catholic.
The Elizabethan madrigal was related to the Italian tradition. Thomas Tallis, Thomas Morley, John Dowland were other leading English composers; the colossal polychoral productions of the Venetian School had been anticipated in the works of Thomas Tallis, the Palestrina style from the Roman School had been absorbed prior to the publication of Musica transalpina, in the music of masters such as William Byrd. The Italian and English Renaissances were similar in sharing a specific musical aesthetic. In the late 16th century Italy was the musical center of Europe, one of the principal forms which emerged from that singular explosion of musical creativity was the madrigal. In 1588, Nicholas Yonge published in England the Musica transalpina—a collection of Italian madrigals, Anglicized—an event which began a vogue of madrigal in England, unmatched in the Renaissance in being an instantaneous adoption of an idea, from another country, adapted to local aesthetics. English poetry was at the right stage of development for this transplantation to occur, since forms such as the sonnet were uniquely adapted to sett
Plutarch named, upon becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, was a Greek biographer and essayist, known for his Parallel Lives and Moralia. He is classified as a Middle Platonist. Plutarch's surviving works were intended for both Greek and Roman readers. Plutarch was born to a prominent family in the small town of Chaeronea, about 80 kilometres east of Delphi, in the Greek region of Boeotia, his family was wealthy. The name of Plutarch's father has not been preserved, but based on the common Greek custom of repeating a name in alternate generations, it was Nikarchus; the name of Plutarch's grandfather was Lamprias, as he attested in Moralia and in his Life of Antony. His brothers and Lamprias, are mentioned in his essays and dialogues, which speak of Timon in particular in the most affectionate terms. Rualdus, in his 1624 work Life of Plutarchus, recovered the name of Plutarch's wife, from internal evidence afforded by his writings. A letter is still extant, addressed by Plutarch to his wife, bidding her not to grieve too much at the death of their two-year-old daughter, named Timoxena after her mother.
He hinted at a belief in reincarnation in that letter of consolation. The exact number of his sons is not certain, although two of them and the second Plutarch, are mentioned. Plutarch's treatise De animae procreatione in Timaeo is dedicated to them, the marriage of his son Autobulus is the occasion of one of the dinner parties recorded in the "Table Talk". Another person, Soklarus, is spoken of in terms which seem to imply that he was Plutarch's son, but this is nowhere stated, his treatise on marriage questions, addressed to Eurydice and Pollianus, seems to speak of the latter as having been an inmate of his house, but without any clear evidence on whether she was his daughter or not. Plutarch studied mathematics and philosophy at the Academy of Athens under Ammonius from 66 to 67. At some point, Plutarch received Roman citizenship; as evidenced by his new name, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, his sponsor for citizenship was Lucius Mestrius Florus, a Roman of consular status whom Plutarch used as a historical source for his Life of Otho.
He lived most of his life at Chaeronea, was initiated into the mysteries of the Greek god Apollo. For many years Plutarch served as one of the two priests at the temple of Apollo at Delphi, the site of the famous Delphic Oracle, twenty miles from his home. By his writings and lectures Plutarch became a celebrity in the Roman Empire, yet he continued to reside where he was born, participated in local affairs serving as mayor. At his country estate, guests from all over the empire congregated for serious conversation, presided over by Plutarch in his marble chair. Many of these dialogues were recorded and published, the 78 essays and other works which have survived are now known collectively as the Moralia. In addition to his duties as a priest of the Delphic temple, Plutarch was a magistrate at Chaeronea and he represented his home town on various missions to foreign countries during his early adult years. Plutarch held the office of archon in his native municipality only an annual one which he served more than once.
He undertook the humblest of duties. The Suda, a medieval Greek encyclopedia, states that Emperor Trajan made Plutarch procurator of Illyria. However, most historians consider this unlikely, since Illyria was not a procuratorial province, Plutarch did not speak Illyrian. According to the 8th/9th-century historian George Syncellus, late in Plutarch's life, Emperor Hadrian appointed him nominal procurator of Achaea – which entitled him to wear the vestments and ornaments of a consul. Plutarch spent the last thirty years of his life serving as a priest in Delphi, he thus connected part of his literary work with the sanctuary of Apollo, the processes of oracle-giving and the personalities who lived or traveled there. One of his most important works is the "Why Pythia does not give oracles in verse". More important is the dialogue "On the E in Delphi", which features Ammonius, a Platonic philosopher and teacher of Plutarch, Lambrias, Plutarch's brother. According to Ammonius, the letter E written on the temple of Apollo in Delphi originated from the following fact: the wise men of antiquity, whose maxims were written on the walls of the vestibule of the temple, were not seven but five: Chilon, Thales and Pittakos.
However, the tyrants Cleobulos and Periandros used their political power in order to be incorporated in the list. Thus, the E, which corresponds to number 5, constituted an acknowledgment that the Delphic maxims originated from the five real wise men; the portrait of a philosopher exhibited at the exit of the Archaeological Museum of Delphi, dating to the 2nd century AD, had been in the past identified with Plutarch. The man, although bearded, is depicted at a young age, his hair and beard are rendered in thin incisions. The gaze is due to the heavy eyelids and the incised pupils; the portrait is no longer thought to represent Plutarch. But a fragmentary hermaic stele next to the portrait did once bear a portrait of Plutarch, since it is inscribed, "The Delphians along with the Chaeroneans dedicated this to Plutarch, following the precepts of the Amphictyony". Plutarc
James VI and I
James VI and I was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603 until his death in 1625. The kingdoms of Scotland and England were individual sovereign states, with their own parliaments and laws, though both were ruled by James in personal union. James was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, a great-great-grandson of Henry VII, King of England and Lord of Ireland, positioning him to accede to all three thrones. James succeeded to the Scottish throne at the age of thirteen months, after his mother was compelled to abdicate in his favour. Four different regents governed during his minority, which ended in 1578, though he did not gain full control of his government until 1583. In 1603, he succeeded the last Tudor monarch of England and Ireland, Elizabeth I, who died childless, he continued to reign in all three kingdoms for 22 years, a period known after him as the Jacobean era, until his death in 1625 at the age of 58.
After the Union of the Crowns, he based himself in England from 1603, only returning to Scotland once in 1617, styled himself "King of Great Britain and Ireland". He was a major advocate of a single parliament for Scotland. In his reign, the Plantation of Ulster and British colonisation of the Americas began. At 57 years and 246 days, James's reign in Scotland was longer than those of any of his predecessors, he achieved most of his aims in Scotland but faced great difficulties in England, including the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and repeated conflicts with the English Parliament. Under James, the "Golden Age" of Elizabethan literature and drama continued, with writers such as William Shakespeare, John Donne, Ben Jonson, Sir Francis Bacon contributing to a flourishing literary culture. James himself was a talented scholar, the author of works such as Daemonologie, The True Law of Free Monarchies, Basilikon Doron, he sponsored the translation of the Bible into English that would be named after him: the Authorised King James Version.
Sir Anthony Weldon claimed that James had been termed "the wisest fool in Christendom", an epithet associated with his character since. Since the latter half of the 20th century, historians have tended to revise James's reputation and treat him as a serious and thoughtful monarch, he was committed to a peace policy, tried to avoid involvement in religious wars the Thirty Years' War that devastated much of Central Europe. He tried but failed to prevent the rise of hawkish elements in the English Parliament who wanted war with Spain. James was the only son of Mary, Queen of Scots, her second husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. Both Mary and Darnley were great-grandchildren of Henry VII of England through Margaret Tudor, the older sister of Henry VIII. Mary's rule over Scotland was insecure, she and her husband, being Roman Catholics, faced a rebellion by Protestant noblemen. During Mary's and Darnley's difficult marriage, Darnley secretly allied himself with the rebels and conspired in the murder of the Queen's private secretary, David Rizzio, just three months before James's birth.
James was born on 19 June 1566 at Edinburgh Castle, as the eldest son and heir apparent of the monarch automatically became Duke of Rothesay and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. He was baptised "Charles James" or "James Charles" on 17 December 1566 in a Catholic ceremony held at Stirling Castle, his godparents were Charles IX of France, Elizabeth I of England, Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy. Mary refused to let the Archbishop of St Andrews, whom she referred to as "a pocky priest", spit in the child's mouth, as was the custom; the subsequent entertainment, devised by Frenchman Bastian Pagez, featured men dressed as satyrs and sporting tails, to which the English guests took offence, thinking the satyrs "done against them". James's father, was murdered on 10 February 1567 at Kirk o' Field, Edinburgh in revenge for the killing of Rizzio. James inherited his father's titles of Duke of Earl of Ross. Mary was unpopular, her marriage on 15 May 1567 to James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, suspected of murdering Darnley, heightened widespread bad feeling towards her.
In June 1567, Protestant rebels imprisoned her in Loch Leven Castle. She was forced to abdicate on 24 July 1567 in favour of the infant James and to appoint her illegitimate half-brother, James Stewart, Earl of Moray, as regent; the care of James was entrusted to the Earl and Countess of Mar, "to be conserved and upbrought" in the security of Stirling Castle. James was anointed King of Scots at the age of thirteen months at the Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling, by Adam Bothwell, Bishop of Orkney, on 29 July 1567; the sermon at the coronation was preached by John Knox. In accordance with the religious beliefs of most of the Scottish ruling class, James was brought up as a member of the Protestant Church of Scotland, the Kirk; the Privy Council selected George Buchanan, Peter Young, Adam Erskine, David Erskine as James's preceptors or tutors. As the young king's senior tutor, Buchanan subjected James to regular beatings but instilled in him a lifelong passion for literature and learning. Buchanan sought to turn James into a God-fearing, Protestant king who accepted the limitations of monarchy, as outlined in his treatise De Jure Regni apud Scotos.
In 1568, Mary escaped from her i
William Shakespeare was an English poet and actor regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon", his extant works, including collaborations, consist of 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men known as the King's Men. At age 49, he appears to have retired to Stratford. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive; such theories are criticised for failing to adequately note that few records survive of most commoners of the period.
Shakespeare produced most of his known works between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were comedies and histories and are regarded as some of the best work produced in these genres; until about 1608, he wrote tragedies, among them Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, all considered to be among the finest works in the English language. In the last phase of his life, he collaborated with other playwrights. Many of Shakespeare's plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy in his lifetime. However, in 1623, two fellow actors and friends of Shakespeare's, John Heminges and Henry Condell, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of Shakespeare's dramatic works that included all but two of his plays; the volume was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Jonson presciently hails Shakespeare in a now-famous quote as "not of an age, but for all time". Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, Shakespeare's works have been continually adapted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance.
His plays remain popular and are studied and reinterpreted through various cultural and political contexts around the world. William Shakespeare was the son of John Shakespeare, an alderman and a successful glover from Snitterfield, Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent landowning farmer, he was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and baptised there on 26 April 1564. His actual date of birth remains unknown, but is traditionally observed on 23 April, Saint George's Day; this date, which can be traced to a mistake made by an 18th-century scholar, has proved appealing to biographers because Shakespeare died on the same date in 1616. He was the third of eight children, the eldest surviving son. Although no attendance records for the period survive, most biographers agree that Shakespeare was educated at the King's New School in Stratford, a free school chartered in 1553, about a quarter-mile from his home. Grammar schools varied in quality during the Elizabethan era, but grammar school curricula were similar: the basic Latin text was standardised by royal decree, the school would have provided an intensive education in grammar based upon Latin classical authors.
At the age of 18, Shakespeare married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway. The consistory court of the Diocese of Worcester issued a marriage licence on 27 November 1582; the next day, two of Hathaway's neighbours posted bonds guaranteeing that no lawful claims impeded the marriage. The ceremony may have been arranged in some haste since the Worcester chancellor allowed the marriage banns to be read once instead of the usual three times, six months after the marriage Anne gave birth to a daughter, baptised 26 May 1583. Twins, son Hamnet and daughter Judith, followed two years and were baptised 2 February 1585. Hamnet died of unknown causes at the age of 11 and was buried 11 August 1596. After the birth of the twins, Shakespeare left few historical traces until he is mentioned as part of the London theatre scene in 1592; the exception is the appearance of his name in the "complaints bill" of a law case before the Queen's Bench court at Westminster dated Michaelmas Term 1588 and 9 October 1589. Scholars refer to the years between 1585 and 1592 as Shakespeare's "lost years".
Biographers attempting to account for this period have reported many apocryphal stories. Nicholas Rowe, Shakespeare's first biographer, recounted a Stratford legend that Shakespeare fled the town for London to escape prosecution for deer poaching in the estate of local squire Thomas Lucy. Shakespeare is supposed to have taken his revenge on Lucy by writing a scurrilous ballad about him. Another 18th-century story has Shakespeare starting his theatrical career minding the horses of theatre patrons in London. John Aubrey reported; some 20th-century scholars have suggested that Shakespeare may have been employed as a schoolmaster by Alexander Hoghton of Lancashire, a Catholic landowner who named a certain "William Shakeshafte" in his will. Little evidence substantiates such stories other than hearsay collected after his death, Shakeshafte was a common name in the Lancashire area, it is not known definitively when Shakespeare began writing, but contemporary allusions and records of performances show that several of
François de Belleforest
François de Belleforest was a prolific French author and translator of the Renaissance. He was born in Comminges, into a poor family, his father was killed when he was seven, he spent some time in the court of Marguerite of Navarre, traveled to Toulouse and Bordeaux, to Paris where he came into contact with members of the young literary generation, including Pierre de Ronsard, Jean Antoine de Baïf, Jean Dorat, Remy Belleau, Antoine Du Verdier and Odet de Turnèbe. In 1568 he became historiographer to the king, he died in Paris. Belleforest wrote on cosmography, morals and history, he translated the works of Matteo Bandello, Antonio de Guevara, Lodovico Guicciardini, Polydore Vergil, Saint Cyprian, Sebastian Münster, Achilles Tatius and Demosthenes into French, he is the author of the first French pastoral novel, La Pyrénée modeled on the Diana of Jorge de Montemayor. His Grandes Annales are a polemic tract against François Hotman, his total output comprises more than 50 volumes. His most successful work was most his translation and adaptation of the "histoires tragiques" by the Italian Matteo Bandello, which built on the work of Pierre Boaistuau and amounted to seven volumes.
One of these tales might be the source for Shakespeare's Hamlet. La chasse d'amour, 1561. Continuation des histoires tragiques, contenant douze histoires tirées de Bandel.... Translation of Matteo Bandello, 1559. Histoires tragiques, translation of Matteo Bandello, 7 volumes, 1566–1583. Les Amours de Clitophon et de Leucippe by Achilles Tatius, 1568. L’histoire universelle du monde, 1570 La Pyrénée, 1571. Harengue militaires, et concions de princes, embassadeurs, et autres manians tant la guerre que les affaires d'Estat... Recueillis et faictes Françoyses, by Françoys de Belle-Forest. Paris, Nicolas Chesneau, 1572 La Cosmographie universelle de tout le monde. Paris, 1575. Nicolas Chesneau and Michel Sonnius. French translation of the Cosmographia of Sebastian Münster. Grandes Annales et histoire générale de France, 1579. Les sentences illustrés de M. T. Ciceron Et les apophthegmes, avec quelquel sentences de piete, recueillies de mesme Ciceron. Aveei les plus remarquables sentences tant de Terence... et de...
Demosthene. Le tout Traduit nouvellement de Latin en Francais par Francois de Belle-forest, Commingeoiis. Reveu & corrige. Jacob Stoer,: 1609. Les chroniques leur venue en Gaule. Pierre Chevalier, 1621. Last edition and the most complete of the Chroniques of Nicole Gilles, first published in 1525. Other major translators from his period: Jacques Amyot Claude Colet Jacques Gohory Nicolas de Herberay des Essarts Simonin, Michel, ed. Dictionnaire des lettres françaises - Le XVIe siècle. Paris: Fayard, 2001. ISBN 2-253-05663-4 Works by or about François de Belleforest at Internet Archive