Read All's Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare Free Online
Book Title: All's Well That Ends Well|
The author of the book: William Shakespeare
ISBN 13: 9780451522610
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 15.62 MB
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Reader ratings: 4.4
Edition: Signet Classics
Date of issue: June 1st 1965
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I just can't bring myself to love this play, although I believe I understand what Shakespeare is doing here. He takes a fairy tale plot, adds a fiercely realistic setting (complete with a pointless war and friendly fire), adds a desperately mismatched romantic couple (Helena, a commoner and a control-freak, a woman of great passion and intelligence, obsessively smitten with the noble Bertram, a proud, shallow boy), tops it off by giving the comedy a mindlessly optimistic title and then spending most of his effort not just making the title come true, but making it come true in such a formulaic, makeshift fashion that the reader must mentally modify that jaunty title by the addition of a dozen cautionary interrogation points. The comic fop and braggart Parolles--sort of a cross between Pistol and Malvolio--helps out some, both thematically and as comic relief, but the whole thing still leaves me feeling a little creepy, with a bad taste in my mouth. But then . . . maybe that's the way Shakespeare wanted me to feel?
I don't think so, though. I believe his intention is a little more ambitious than that. He is certainly criticizing the forms and conventions of comedy, but I believe he also wishes to transcend them by producing a kind of meta-comedy--the sort of thing he would soon accomplish in Measure for Measure. In Measure for Measure, he succeeds by 1) distancing the reader by making the entire universe of the play slightly surreal, and 2) using the Duke as a God-like figure, thus inviting the reader to adopt an Olympian perspective for him or herself. Shakespeare tries something similar in All's Well That Ends Well, using 1) the radical disconnect between fairy tale and harsh realism in the plot, and 2)providing us with three ancient characters of good will--the King of France, the Countess and Lord Lafeu--who speak much about the nature of Time, suggesting the widened perspective and wisdom which may accompany Time's contemplation. As I said, he "tries" something similar, but I don't think he quite brings it off.
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Read information about the authorWilliam Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. Scholars believe that he died on his fifty-second birthday, coinciding with St George’s Day.
At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592 he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of the playing company the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.
Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. Next he wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest examples in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights. Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime, and in 1623, two of his former theatrical colleagues published the First Folio, a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare's.
Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the nineteenth century. The Romantics, in particular, acclaimed Shakespeare's genius, and the Victorians hero-worshipped Shakespeare with a reverence that George Bernard Shaw called "bardolatry". In the twentieth century, his work was repeatedly adopted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain highly popular today and are consistently performed and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world.
According to historians, Shakespeare wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets throughout the span of his life. Shakespeare's writing average was 1.5 plays a year since he first started writing in 1589. There have been plays and sonnets attributed to Shakespeare that were not authentically written by the great master of language and literature.
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