Writer of the Week: Shakespeare & Cervantes

Photo courtesy of thelocal.esPhoto courtesy of thelocal.es
Photo courtesy of shakespeare.mit.edu

Photo courtesy of shakespeare.mit.edu

Baptized on April 26, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, William Shakespeare was part of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men company of theatrical players. For an estimate of 20 years, Shakespeare composed multiple plays–along other writing–that capture the human experience.

Little is known about Shakespeare’s origins, with little to no information regarding his childhood years and education. What is know, however, is that on November 28, 1582, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had many children. Shakespeare is believed to have died on the day of his birthday, on April 23, 1616.

 

A writer of multiple plays, his style of writing evolved as he grew in his art. At the beginning, his writing followed the conventional style of the era, utilizing metaphors and rhetorical phrases that sometimes deviated from the narrative. But as he continued writing, his style became more personal and innovative, which can be seen in the way he adapted the conventional style to his own purpose.

Not much needs to be said about Shakespeare’s plays, since he is one of the most studied writers of the English language. However, if you wish to familiarize yourself with his complete works, you can find them all here.


 

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons

Miguel de Cervantes was born near Madrid, Spain, in 1547. The son of a deaf surgeon, he became a soldier in 1570 and was badly wounded in the Battle of Lepanto. He was later captured by the Turks, in 1575, and was not freed until 1580. He achieve literary success in his later years, with the publication of Don Quixote in 1605.

Cervantes writing was heavily influenced by his years as a soldier as well as his time as a captured men for the Turks. Most of his works deal with the theme of freedom, but they also explore other themes such as equality, the role of women in society, social class, among others.

Although his writing is set on contemporary Spain, his themes and the way he develops his themes are far advance for his time. Many scholars believe that Cervantes and his unique theme development have influenced many major works of literature as well as authors, including Gustave Flaubert, Henry Fielding, Fyodor Dovstoyevsky.

Don Quixote is Cervantes’ masterpiece, but to get acquainted with the rest of his works, you can visit this website.