Shakespeare's plays are mostly written in poetry. A noble or a member of the upper class is a character who talks in poetry. The majority of Shakespeare's plays revolved on these individuals. He used blank verse as a verse form. This means that it has no specific number of syllables in each line and that it does not follow any particular pattern of stresses.
His own language was very poetic, so it is not surprising that he wrote about characters who talked in poetry. These people used ornate words and phrases that were hard for ordinary people to understand. This is why teachers have always had an interest in his work!
He wrote about real life events. For example, all of his historical plays are based on actual people or events.
Shakespeare created funny poems about animals. These poems are called parodies. For example, he made up a poem about a lion called "The Catastrophe of Lewis". When you read this poem, you will know that it is a parody because it makes fun of the real poem "The Leopard" by Alexander Pope: It is amazing how much damage a cat can do! Until recently, it was believed that this poem was written by King Charles II after he heard it sung at a party. Now we know that it was Shakespeare who wrote it!
In his plays, Shakespeare regularly alternates between prose and poetry, with lower-class characters speaking prose and upper-class characters using verse, but characters frequently speak both, sometimes switching in the middle of a speech. For example, King Henry IV begins in prose but later shifts to rhyme when discussing war strategies.
Prose is defined as "the form or style of writing used by scholars and scientists," while poetry is "a sequence of lines or words designed to evoke an emotional response." So although Shakespeare wrote in both prose and poetry, he was actually focusing on what type of language would work best with the character being portrayed. King Henry IV begins in prose because it's considered more formal than poetry, so the lower-class characters can be thought of as teachers lecturing before students. But later in the play, when war strategies are discussed, King Henry switches to poetry because this is more effective when trying to convince soldiers to fight for their country.
Throughout his career, Shakespeare wrote about historical figures including kings, princes, and soldiers. He often modified spelling and grammar to make his speeches sound more modern. For example, William Shakespeare didn't use apostrophes in his time, so he would have written Queen Elizabeth II instead. He also wouldn't have used commas or periods at the end of sentences, so some modern changes have been made to make his writings more readable today.
Shakespeare employed writing to convey information about his characters. To separate themselves from the higher-class, verse-speaking characters, many of Shakespeare's lower-class characters talk in prose. This way, they can be understood by all readers.
Today, writers often use prose to reveal more about a character's thoughts or feelings. The writer can do this by describing what that person is thinking or feeling-he cannot say it directly.
For example, when Romeo thinks about Juliet, he says: "O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?" (a phrase that means "why are you Romeo?"). We know from this that Romeo is not his real name, which would be an inappropriate question for him to be asking. He is pretending to be someone else!
Writers also use prose to explain why their characters do what they do. For example, when Romeo decides to go to Paris, where he knows that he will meet with Juliet, he explains his reason for leaving town as follows: "The day before I went to France, my father was killed by a falling tree branch" (in a play called "Romeo and Juliet").
In addition to telling us what people are thinking and explaining their actions, writers use prose to create excitement on the stage.
Shakespeare arranged his plays and characters so that audiences could quickly learn what they needed to know about them and their situations. Lower-class characters, on the other hand, talked in prose, the language of regular people. The majority of Shakespeare's plays function on several levels. This allows audiences of all types quick access to information relevant to themselves.
Shakespeare's original texts were full of jokes and asides for his friends. These are hints for future editors such as we who edit today. They help us understand the character's mood and motivation. A lot of information about 17th-century England is hidden in these notes. For example, we know from them that Queen Anne was deaf, that William Shakespeare was married, and that there were no female doctors in London at the time.
Shakespeare wrote for an audience of its times. He often had several plots running at once so he could include references to events that might interest his listeners. For example, one scene may show a character grieving over the death of someone close while another scene shows the same person laughing loudly with some other characters at a joke or incident from their lives.
Shakespeare used history to inform his work. Many of his plots were based on stories from real people or events. He also made up some own ideas about what would happen in his plays like many other writers have done before and since.
Finally, Shakespeare wrote for money.