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Word Count: 2,179
THE AUTHOR AND HIS TIMES William Shakespeare lived in a time of great change and excitement in England- a time of geographical discovery international trade learning and creativity It was also a time of international tension and internal uprisings that came close to civil war Under Elizabeth I reigned 1558-1603 and James I reigned 1603-1625 London was a center of government learning and trade and Shakespeares audience came from all three worlds His plays had to please royalty and powerful nobles educated lawyers and scholars as well as merchants workers and apprentices many of whom couldnt read or write To keep so many different kinds of people entertained he had to write into his plays such elements as clowns who made terrible puns and wisecracks ghosts and witches places for the actors to dance and to sing the hit songs of the time fencing matches and other kinds of fight scenes and emotional speeches for his star actor Richard Burbage There is very little indication that he was troubled in any way by having to do this The stories he told were familiar ones from popular storybooks or from English and Roman history Sometimes they were adapted as Hamlet was from earlier plays that had begun to seem old-fashioned Part of
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