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Shakespeares Sources William Shakespeare was born in 1564 and died in 1616 During the span of his life he worked mainly as an actor and principal playwright for the Lord Chamberlains Men His company went on to build the famous Globe Theater and were later named the Kings Men by James I As a writer he wrote 37 plays 154 sonnets and two narrative poems Shakespeare is not to be discredited as an author but the simple fact of the matter does remain Although William Shakespeare is regarded as the greatest playwright of all time much of the framework of his plays is not originally his ideas but modeled after the works of numerous authors These plays were all written by Shakespeare but were not originated by Shakespeare Shakespeare took interesting plot lines from various sources and transformed them into his own unique play He transformed the originals by giving the characters new description adding new characters completely adding new scenes and attaching new episodes for comedic relief One fluctuating factor throughout these plays is the amount of sources that were used by Shakespeare Most of the plays have borrowed plot from several different stories very few are drawn out from one chief source It must also be realized that much of these sources are based on assumptions of scholars because there is no way to prove which Shakespeare actually used Therefore the only sources mentioned are ones that were written before or during Shakespeares life and those that would have been popular throughout the society Shakespeare lived in One of Shakespeares plays that is built upon several contributing sources is The Merchant of Venice The primary source used was a novella by Giovanni Fiorentino entitled Il Pecorone The second half of Fiorentinos tale distinctly parallels Shakespeares play in the pound of flesh story the lady-judge resolving the merchants dilemma at the expense of the Jew and the ring demanded as a fee The
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