So, today’s your Shakespeare Geek’s 40th birthday. Been celebrating on and off for a few days, got (among other, non Shakespeare presents) another Shakespeare action figure as well as the “love quote” pillow which my 5yr old middle daughter had become simply enraptured with when she saw it on a web site back around Christmas. When I unwrapped it, my older daughter (7) began reading, “Doubt thou the stars are fire…” so I explained that Hamlet wrote that to Ophelia. I didn’t get into the whole “ill phrase, vile phrase” thing. Anyway, I got to wondering what Mr. Shakespeare was doing when he was 40. I found this link: http://shakespeare.palomar.edu/timeline/kingsman.htm and a few tidbits from the years surrounding:
Sometime between 1599 and 1601 Shakespeare wrote Hamlet, and from Hamlet on, until about 1608 when he began writing the great Romances Cymbeline, Winter’s Tale and The Tempest, Shakespeare’s vision turned to tragedy. The comedies he produced over the next couple of years are distinctly un-funny, and have been called "problem plays": All’s Well That Ends Well and Measure for Measure (both probably written in the period 1603-1604). Troilus and Cressida (probably written in 1602) is such a problem play that it has perennially confused audiences and critics, and may well never have been performed in Shakespeare’s life time. After Measure for Measure Shakespeare’s vision seems to turn unrelentingly to the tragic, with his great string of tragedies Othello (probably 1604), King Lear (probably 1605) Macbeth (probably 1605), Antony and Cleopatra (probably 1607),Coriolanus and Timon of Athens (probably 1606-8). (These last two plays, along with Troilus and Cressida, surely Shakespeare’s least liked and performed plays).
(Emphasis mine.) Yikes! Mid-life crisis, much? If the quality of the blog starts going down, somebody please don’t forget to tag them as “problem posts”. Just don’t call them “distinctly un-funny” 🙂