Wiliam Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, a prosperous market town, in the house now preserved as his birthplace. His father, a glover, was a man of some position in the town. Little is known certain about Shakespeare's childhood. It is thought that he attended the local grammar school and the education he received was a good for those days. When he was eighteen, he married Ann Hathaway, but shortly after he may left Stratford and became a provincial actor in a travelling company. Later he can be traced in London, first as an actor and then as a resistor and writer of plays. By the early age of 28 his contemporaries were impressed by the quality and popularity of his work. In 1598 the company he had worked with needed a new theater. Their leader decided to build their theater, the Globe, on the south bank of Thames. When he was 46 he retired to his native town, where he died and was buried in Paris Church.
His dramatical works may be divided into four periods. To the first belong his early comedies: Two Gentlemen of Verona, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Comedy of Errors.
The second period is called the period of great comedies and historical plays: The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet (his first masterpiece), Richard III (with this play he reached the peak of his achievement in English historical tragedy).
The third period is the period of the great tragedies: Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, Anthony and Cleopatra.
In his last period he returned to romantic themes: The Tempest, The Winter's Tale.
Except plays he wrote poetry. There are a few sonnets which are supposed to be written by Shakespeare. He is loved because of his love of man and his understanding of human weaknesses and because of the realism of his plays.
Oscar Wilde was born in Ireland in 1856. He achieved remarkable success with his poems, tales, essays and dramas. The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband follow the traditional English conversational comedy. They are remarkable for their brilliant form, easy-going dialogues and amusing situations. His tales belong to the most beautifully written tales in the world literature. They are read by both grown ups and children. The best known is Happy Prince and The Nightingale and the Rose. His fairy tales describe impossible happenings, as for example in the latter where nightingale is given all the understanding of human being. His psychological novel The Picture of Dorian Gray contains his eccentric views of the life and role of an artist in society.
George Bernard Shaw is the greatest playwright of English dramatic comedy since the time of Shakespeare. After a false start in 19th century fashion as a novelist, he made a reputation as a journalist, critic of books, pictures, music and drama. He broke out in a new direction in 1892 as a playwright, although some twelve years later the opposition he had always to face at first was overcome sufficiently to establish him as an irresistible force in the theater. His best known plays are: Mrs.Warren's Profession, Man and Superman, Major Barbara, Saint Joan and Pygmalion.
The tale The Nightingale and the Rose is about young student who loved a beutiful girl and about a nightingale. The girl wanted him to bring her a red rose. He hurried to his garden, but there were no roses. Then he cried. The nightingale didn't like it. So she flew to a big garden. But the bush wanted her to sing a song for it. After her singing she saw that all roses were white. But the nightingale loved the student, so she pierced her heart with some thorn. Her red blood fell on the white rose and the rose became red. She brought rose to the student and then she died. He gave the rose to girl, but she didn't like it. The disappointed student threw the red rose to the dust.
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