William Shakespeare is an excellent playwright、poet and also a
representative of humanism literature during the Renaissance, who is still remembered by all the world.
Shakespeare was born in a relative rich family in central England on 2 April, 1564. His father is a successful businessman dealing with wool，
grain and leather making. In his childhood, he studied in a Literature school, mainly teaching Latin, from where he mastered the basic skills of writing and some other literature knowledge. However, unfortunately, because of his father’s breaking down, he was forced to leave the
uncompleted school and make a hard living by himself. At a certain time, he made himself as an apprentice of a butcher, working as a teacher in a village school and some other kinds of tough jobs, all of which largely increased his social experience and then laid a good foundation for his later creating.
When he was twenty, he came into London, working successively as a groom，a handyman in a theatre. However, his light can not be hidden, though in these regarded menial jobs. His role in the theatre began to change little by little, actor, director, screenwriter, and finally an important shareholder of the theatre.
His writing career was started around 1588. At first, he can only modify the plays written by other people, but after a period of time, he
began to create independently. But at that time in London, the “dramatic
world” was dominated by the people who has some relationship with Cambridge or Oxford. Not having the chance to enter the college in his early years, Shakespeare was ridiculed as a “vulgar civilian”. Though in
this condition, he and his works won the popularity among the audiences, including the organizations of the college students, who has played some of his plays in college in their spare time, such as Hamlet and The Tragedy of Error. Mills once praised that “both Shakespeare’ comedies
and tragedies are incomparable” in his The Wisdom of Treasure. What a
pity, his works were not published until his death.
During 1590！1612, Shakespeare created 37 dramas, 2 long poems and 154 sonnets. On one hand, most of his dramas were based on the existing historical materials，novels，folk legends and the old dramas,
on the other hand, these works also caught up with the development of society closely, advocating the humanitarian thought and reflecting the social reality that feudalism was transitioning into the capitalism. Basing on the two points, Shakespeare created many vivid images and describe colorful pictures of social life in his works.
Shakespeare’s creation of drama can be divided into three periods. In the first period？1590！1600，, Shakespeare mainly wrote historical
plays and comedies, including 9 historical plays and 10 comedies. King John，Henry VI，Richard III， Henry IV， Henry V are all the famous
historical ones, all of which revealed the unrest of English in more than 100 years. In these plays, he created many images of monarchs, including the positive ones and negative ones, from which we can know that Shakespeare opposed feudal separation, supported centralization, hoping the monarch could carry out the top-down reform and then achieve the ideal of establishing a harmonious society.
The ten comedies—The Comedy of Errors，The Taming of the Shrew
，The Two Gentlemen of Verona，love in vain，Midsummer night's
dream，The merchant of Venice，The Merry Wives of Windsor，make
trouble out of nothing，Everybody's happy and Twelfth night are mostly
around the theme—love，friendship and marriage. Protagonists in these
comedies are young people with the wisdom of humanism. By their pursing freedom and happiness, Shakespeare wanted to eulogize the progressive social morality and at the same time to sneer at the ugly of the old.
In the second period (1601！1607), Shakespeare mainly wrote
tragedies—Hamlet，Othello，King Lear，Macbeth and The door of
Athens. The first four ones are famous among the world. These tragedies marked Shakespeare entered into another period of thinking more deeply of life and the time. In these tragedies, though the Protagonists wanted to develop and perfect themselves, when they accepted the progressive civilization, they still couldn’t overcome the limitation coming from
themselves and the time. So in the conflicts, they suffered the inevitable failure and sacrifice. These tragedies to some extent reflected the irreconcilable contradiction between cruel reality and the humanism.
In the third period (1608！1613), Shakespeare tended to the
tragicomedy or legend which mostly contained the element of compromise and fantasy. The four main works are Terran prince Michael Carrick，Cymbeline，The Winter's Tale and The storm. In these
works ,we can easily find that the plots are all around the four main parts :separation，reunion、framing，rehabilitation. Though in these
works, Shakespeare still insisted the idea of humanism, continued to reveal the cruel reality, the means of solving these conflicts are resorted to magic, fantasy, and happenchance. And the stories finally ended up with the protagonists’ forgiveness, tolerance, compromise, reconciliation.
thFrom the beginning of the 17 century, Shakespeare’s dramas began to
spread to some other European countries, and then to America and some other parts of the world. Once introduced, his dramas would make a great contribution to the development of drama and some other kinds of art in other countries. Chinese scholars began to translate and research
thShakespeare dramas in the early years of 20 century. Now his dramas
has become the teaching materials of some drama schools.