William Shakespeare, Playwright and Poet
William Shakespeare, Playwright and Poet

When did he live? 他生活在什么年代?

William Shakespeare’s exact date of birth is unknown, but it is believed to be April 23rd 1564.
没有人知道威廉·莎士比亚确切的出生日期,大多数人相信他于1564年4月23日出生。

He died on April 23rd in 1616 (his believed birthday).
他于1616年4月23日逝世(这个日期也正是人们认为他出生的日期)

A Young William Shakespeare
A Young William Shakespeare

Why is he famous? 他为什么出名?

Many people say he is Britain’s – and possibly the world’s – greatest writer. He wrote plays and sonnets (14-line love poems).
很多人说,他是英国,或许也是全世界最伟大的作家。他创作戏剧和十四行诗。

His plays, which were generally either comedies or tragedies, are his most famous works. Some examples:
他的戏剧,主要是悲剧和喜剧,是他最出名的作品。主要作品有:

Hamlet 哈姆雷特
Romeo and Juliet 罗密欧与朱丽叶
Othello 奥赛罗
King Lear 李尔王
The Tempest 暴风雨
A Midsummer Night’s Dream 仲夏夜之梦

His poetry is also well-known, but less so than his plays. ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’ (the beginning of Sonnet 18) is a famous line.
他的诗也很出名,但不及他的戏剧。“我怎能将你比作夏日?”(《莎士比亚十四行诗集》第十八首第一句)是非常出名的一句诗。

William Shakespeare Manuscript (Getty Images)
William Shakespeare Manuscript (Getty Images)

What is his mark on history? 他的历史功绩是什么?

Shakespeare remains possibly the biggest name in English literature: his works and words are studied in school, performed in theatres, and made into movies. He is also known by a simple nickname: The Bard.
莎士比亚或许仍然是英国文学史上最重量级的人物。他的作品和名言在学校作为教材学习,同时也被搬上舞台和大荧幕。他还有一个好记的昵称:巴德(意为“诗人”)。

Many Shakespearean phrases have become part of the English language: fight fire with fire; band of brothers; it was all Greek to me (more examples can be seen here).
许多莎士比亚使用的短语,后来成了英语的正式短语,比如:以毒攻毒(fight fire with fire);情同手足(band of brothers), 一窍不通(it was all Greek to me)。更多例子请点击这里。

The line ‘To be or not to be? That is the question.’ is arguably the most famous in literature.
“生存还是毁灭,这是个问题”或许是文学中最出名的一句话。

Shakespeare’s ear for language was exceptional and he put many everyday terms he heard onto paper: his works contain over 2000 words not previously seen in literature.
莎士比亚有非同寻常的语言敏感度,他常常将听到的日常用于写入作品中,他作品中超过2000个单词,在此前从未在文学作品中出现过。

In a 2002 nationwide poll, Shakespeare was voted the 5th Greatest Briton of all time.
在2002年举行的全国性投票中,莎士比亚位列“史上最伟大的英国人”第五名。

Notes 笔记

During his life, Shakespeare’s work was performed at The Globe Theatre.
生前,他的作品曾在环球剧院中演出。

He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, where a large Shakespeare industry has grown.
他出生于埃文河畔斯特拉特福,现在那边形成了大规模的莎士比亚产业。

Many of Shakespeare’s stories were not original: like famous Greek writers he took stories he heard and rewrote them.
很多故事并不是莎士比亚原创的:像很多希腊著名的作家一样,他听很多别人的故事,然后将其改写成文学作品。

There are a large number of dirty jokes in Shakespeare’s work, although it can be difficult to understand them now. Many people who visited the theatre in his time were everyday types, and being a playwright Shakespeare needed to keep the audience entertained.
莎士比亚的作品中有很多黄色笑话,但是现在这些笑话很难被理解。当时许多上剧院看戏的都是普通人,作为剧作家,莎士比亚需要给他们多一点乐子。

Shakespeare was married to Anne Hathaway. They had 3 children.
莎士比亚与安妮·海瑟薇结婚,育有三子。

Christopher Marlowe was one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, rivals, and friends.
克里斯托弗·马洛是莎士比亚同时代的作家,竞争对手和好朋友。

Writer Ben Jonson said: ‘He was not of an age, but for all time.’
本·琼森说“他不属于某个时代,而属于永恒”。