Shakespeare's Age and Works

by José Goris, M.A.

Sonnets Plays Theatres

England's Golden Age

1558: Accession of Queen Elizabeth.

1576: First theatre opened in London.

1580: Drake sails around the world.

1587: Execution of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots.

1588: Defeat of Spanish Armada.

1599: The Globe Theatre - Shakespeare's.

1603: James I, son of Mary Stuart, becomes king of England; English and Scottish crowns united.

This period was marked by:

1603: James I becomes king.

1620: The first New England Colony founded by the Pilgrim Fathers, sailors of the 'Mayflower'.

1625: Accession of Charles I.

1629 - 1640: Charles I governs without a Parliament: The Divine Right of Kings.

1642: The Civil War begins: Cavaliers versus Roundheads.

1645: Cromwell's Ironsides win the Battle of Naseby.

1649: Charles I beheaded. England becomes a republic - Commonwealth - with Cromwell as Lord Protector.

1658: Death of Oliver Cromwell.

1660: Charles II returns to England as king. Restoration of the Stuarts. Theatres opened again.

This period was marked by:

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Shakespeare 1564 - 1616

Listen to the story of his son Hamnet


Translations into Dutch:
Sonnet 130:
My Mistress' Eyes
Shakespeare as a

37 Plays:



  1. Quarto texts during his lifetime of separate plays: pirated editions.
  2. Folio Edition 1623: the first complete edition.
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Shakespeare's Dramatic Career

First Period 1590 - 1595: The period of experiments; use of rhyme.

Second Period 1595 - 1600: The period of the great comedies and great historical plays.

Third Period 1600 - 1608: The period of the great tragedies.

Fourth Period 1608 - 1613: Peaceful comedies with a return to romantic themes.

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Shakespeare's Theatres

The London theatres in Shakespeare's days:


Kermode,F. & Hollander, J. (eds), 1973: The Oxford Anthology of English Literature. Volume 1.
Oxford University Press, London.
Proudfoot,R., Thompson, A. & Kastan, D. (eds) , 1984: The Arden Edition of the works of William Shakespeare.
Thomas Nelson&Sons Ltd, Walton-on-Thames.
Harrison,G.B., 1966: Introducing Shakespeare. Penguin Books, England.
Lamb, Charles and Mary: Tales from Shakespeare. Printed in 1914 by Bickers and Son, London.
WWW:Jan Jonk
BBC - Television Broadcast: Shakespeare's Shorts, BBC Learning Zone 1999.

Read more:
Elizabethan English
Famous Shakespeare Quotes

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