Stephen Greenblatt’s Will in the World
Stephen Greenblatt is not stranger to the life and times of William Shakespeare. He has written many historical books about Shakespeare and is University Professor of Humanities at Harvard. His knowledge of Shakespeare comes across in a fluid and engaging style, open to all readers. His non-fiction book, Will in the World provides an insightful look into the life of the famous playwright with an astonishingly fresh perspective. With chapters as “The Dream of Restoration,” “Crossing the Bridge,” and “Speaking with the Dead,” Greenblatt explores Shakespeare’s life with attention to details that set his book apart from others. Greenblatt also provides insight to Shakespeare’s writing. The book offers insight into the historical and literary aspects of what have now known to become the greatest writer of all time. These aspects are balanced out quite well, for the book does not read like a historical book or bibliography at all. We are taken into the world of Shakespeare immediately and there is little room for boredom as Greenblatt successfully avoids the pitfalls of regurgitating history.
Will in the World grabs attention from the start with an intriguing jacket that invites curiosity about the “acutely sensitive and talented boy” we come to know as Shakespeare. Greenblatt writes that Shakespeare was a “master of double consciousness . . . recycled every word he ever encountered, every person he ever met, every experience he ever had” (Greenblatt 155). From this perception, we read about a playwright determined to use the gifts endowed unto him in the best way he saw fit. Greenblatt reveals a man living in a tumultuous time. From the earliest times in his life when he learned to cope with his father’s public fall to his achieving the popularity of the greatest playwright in Britain, Greenblatt offers us a man that we feel we know a little bit more after reading the book. Through the best and worst times, we see the man and perhaps one of the most painful aspects of the man’s life was the death of his son, Hamnet, after whom Greenblatt believes Shakespeare named the infamous Hamlet. The death of the father must have created a “spiritual crisis” (311) for Shakespeare, writes Greenblatt. Hamlet is a play about death, religion, and what lies in between, asserts Greenblatt, and the writing of it may have been the peace for which Shakespeare was looking.
Greenblatt also brings attention to the fact that as a playwright, Shakespeare was not rich by any means. After fame afforded Shakespeare a certain amount of status in the community, Greenblatt offers to us the story of how Shakespeare and his company cleverly took into their own hands a way to resolve their money problems. One a “snowy night of December 28, 1598, in a season cold enough to make the Thames freeze over” (291), Shakespeare and his men (along with a few paid thugs), proceeded to dismantle Burbage’s theater, carted the timber across town and in a matter of month, “fashioned a splendid new theater” (292). All of this dismantling was done by the light of lanterns. The finished playhouse was, in Greenblatt’s estimation, an “astonishing figure for a city London’s size” (292). Here we see the genius of a man and his friends working together to reach a solution to the nagging problem of paying rent for a playhouse. With a new playhouse and new terms, Shakespeare was part owner in the theater, setting himself up to profit in more than one way. He was a playwright, an actor, and part owner and he was still a frugal man, according to Greenblatt. He lived frugally, never living extravagantly. Instead, he chose to live among he fellow artisans in a low-rent area.
Greenblatt also provides us with some thought into what be hidden in Shakespeare’s strange epitaph. Perspective is also gleaned on many of Shakespeare’s works, including the Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear IV. He also goes into how Shakespeare only had one rival, Christopher Marlowe until 1957, when Ben Johnson emerged. The two men were similarly in age and envy. The two men “circled warily, watching with intense attention, imitating, and then attempting to surpass each other” (256). Here we see how healthy competition can spur talent. Additionally, Greenblatt delves into some of the mysterious aspects of Shakespeare’s life with a convincing perspective. His marriage to Anne Hathaway is viewed fairly. Shakespeare’s early marriage years and why he left for London are still elusive but Greenblatt attempts to ferret out some of the more popular theories regarding these issues. That Shakespeare did, for all intents and purposes, abandon his family is clear but why remains less so. Greenblatt realizes the negative attention that has been paid to this aspect of Shakespeare’s life but instead of attempting to unravel the mystery, he acknowledges that the event certainly did occur but moves on to Shakespeare’s life after Anne. He does his best to recount historical information in the chapter, “Wooing, Wedding, and Repenting.” Here he attempts to find answers from Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, the Tempest, and even Hamlet to solve the mystery that surrounds Shakespeare’s ill-begotten marriage.
The final chapter in the book is tastefully written without being syrupy or critical of Shakespeare. We are afforded a look into the man’s life and perhaps a glimpse into his heart regarding personal issues that must have been difficult for him. Greenblatt weaves aspects of Shakespeare’s literature with these significant moments in his life. When it was discovered that Thomas Quiney, Shakespeare’s son-in-law had impregnated a woman other than his wife, Greenblatt pulls from the works of Shakespeare’s past including the Tempest and a Winter’s Tale, noting the Shakespeare was hardly a “rigid Victorian moralist” (385). In the end, Greenblatt notes, the “magician adjures his astonishing, visionary gift; retires to his provincial domain; and submits himself to the crushing, glacial weight of the everyday” (387). The man famous for conjuring up the most interesting characters in literature would “embrace ordinariness” (387). This is nothing for which he should be ashamed, writes Greenblatt. Within thse most exotic tales and around the most extravagant characters, Shakespeare “loved to revel the presence ordinariness in the midst of the extraordinary” (388). Greenblatt concludes the book with Shakespeare living an ordinarily content life with his daughter, Susanna and her family.
William Shakespeare is one of the most fascinating personalities in literature because his memory seems too large for us to fathom. We often see him in a superstar status, much the way superstars are seen today but it was much different world in Shakespeare’s Britain. Greenblatt’s rendering of Shakespeare allows us to see him as he evolved into the man that would soon have a reputation larger than life. The humble start of his life followed by an ill-formed marriage might have proven to be enough for any man but somehow Shakespeare’s talent emerged from these circumstances. There is mystery and some indication of a less than perfect man but Greenblatt does well to present the man as he likely was in his time, warts and all. Will in the World is a book to read by all interested in literature and Shakespeare. The writing style does not lend itself to intellectual types but rather the common man that Shakespeare himself would have written for in his time.
Greenblatt, Stephen. Will in the World. New York W.W. Norton and Company. 2004.
Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?
Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.
Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.
Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.
While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.
Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.
In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.
Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.
We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!
We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.
Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.
We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.
Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.
There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.
Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.
We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.
You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.
You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.Read more
Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.Read more
Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.Read more
Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.Read more
By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.Read more