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Very little is known about Shakespeare's early life. What is known is that as the son of a fairly successful merchant he was educated at Stratford Grammar School where he would have learnt about the ancient Greek and Roman poets. Their influence can be seen in his works. The big mystery is what was he doing during the crucial 10 years between his marriage at the age of 18 in 1582 and his appearance in London in 1592. Nothing is known about this period of his life. Other contemporary writers who influenced Shakespeare were Christopher Marlowe and Edmund Spenser.
It is one of the great mysteries of English literature, just where did Shakespeare find his inspiration, there is no satisfactory answer.
Shakespeare's plays have been studied in educational facilties since their appearance. The use of these works in education shows that they are valued and that they impart some of this value to students. This paper raises the question of how these plays have affected and changed society and what values they nurture in students today. Factors mentioned are an enrichment of language, deeper understanding of history and respect for class and culture.
"These plays first have contributed much to our language. William Shakespeare contributed to the language by perpetuating a large vocabulary--which is why many have cited the large vocabulary of the plays as evidence that the largely uneducated Shakespeare could not have written the works attributed to him--and also in the poetic nature of the dialogue he created. Shakespeare's vocabulary has been estimated at about 20,000 words, including Renaissance technical terms, derivations, compounds, archaisms, and idioms (McArthur 928). Many aphorisms and enriching, poetic descriptions and terms have been carried through from Shakespeare to common usage and to other literary works. The popularity of Shakespeare's works over many centuries has helped perpetuate the power of this language, and again and again other writers have turned to Shakespeare for inspiration and for some phrase that would then become popular even to many who did not know its origins."
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