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A Year In the Life of Shakespeare


If you’ve ever studied Shakespeare to any degree then you’ve certainly heard of  THE YEAR. In some circles it’s known as the “miracle year.” The Year was 1599. England was in the Golden Age of Elizabeth I.  After defeating  Spain and their silly 150-ship Armada, restoring itself to its Protestant roots England was smack dab in the middle of a prosperity high-five.

The first play by Shakespeare had been performed eight years earlier. But it was the year 1599 when the world would reverberate this name. That was the year he wrote:

Henry V,

Julius Caesar,

As You Like It, and

possibly his most famous play: Hamlet!

What’s remarkable is not that he wrote all these plays all in one year. There are many people who churn out words like so many widgets – fast and furious. No it is the caliber of content that elevates Shakespeare above the prolific literary assembly lines. To write Henry V is a masterpiece. To write that and Hamlet in the same year is a miracle. And yet it seems Shakespeare wrote his momumental boxed set not because he was seeking fame more like seeking fortune.

1599 was also the year that Shakespeare became shareholder in The Globe, a newly built London theatre. The deal garnered him 10 percent of the profits. Could Shakespeare have been motivated by money during his miracle year? Maybe. Whatever bred his creatvity  the world is sure better for it.

Which begs the question as we hit the six-month mark – what are you doing with your year?

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