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What inspired Shakespeare to write?

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Quick Answer

William Shakespeare took his inspiration from many areas, including the Bible, nature, other writers and historians. Two of Shakespeare's favorite writers were Geoffrey Chaucer and Plutarch; their works would influence many of his plays.

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Full Answer

Geoffrey Chaucer is considered one of the major poets of England. His poem, "Troilus and Criseyde," was Shakespeare's main source for his play, "Troilus and Cressida." Chaucer's influence can also be seen in Romeo and Juliet, where Mercurio's speech is based on "Parliament of Fowles."

Plutarch was an ancient Roman historian and philosopher. His biography, "Parallel Lives," was used as a source for many of Shakespeare's history plays, including "Julius Caesar," "Antony and Cleopatra" and "Timon of Athens."

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Related Questions

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    Why did Shakespeare write "Macbeth" for King James I?

    A:

    William Shakespeare wrote "Macbeth" as a way to express his patronage of King James I. Shakespeare uses "Macbeth" to please the king in various manners, with one of them alluding to the dreadful fate that befalls anyone who tries to take over the throne.

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  • Q:

    Why is Shakespeare so important today?

    A:

    William Shakespeare's work has shaped English literature, language and thought for over 400 years. Scholar Alan Craven names him the "greatest dramatist, the greatest poet and the greatest prose writer" in the English language. Shakespeare's coined words are incorporated into the language today as common parlance; his genres led to modern literary genres and his plays transformed theater. Most importantly, Shakespeare's work changed the way Westerners think about humanity, ethics and themselves.

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    Where did Shakespeare work?

    A:

    Although William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-on-Avon, north of London, he spent most of his career living and working in London. Between 1590 and 1613, he wrote and acted in plays that were produced at the Globe and Blackfriars theaters and at court.

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    What supernatural events occur in Macbeth?

    A:

    Events in "Macbeth" like the prophecy of the witches, floating dagger and the ghost of Banquo are supernatural in nature. These supernatural events serve as symbols in service of the larger themes of the play of ambition and masculinity.

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