When did Shakespeare start acting in, and writing plays?

            Shakespeare reappears in London scene around the late 1580s, and the early 1590s. His name is mentioned in 1592 as part of a theatre production in London. This means that Shakespeare had started his career as a dramatist around the latter half of the 1580s. By this time he is no longer the turbulent youth of old. He is changed and is more mature. Shakespeare may have written and directed some of his earliest plays then.

         In addition, he was important enough to be attacked and criticized by some known writers then! Robert Greene, a popular writer of Shakespeare’s time, called him, ‘an upstart crow’, meaning someone who had a sudden and unexpected rise in social class by means of dishonest deeds. Greene went on to add that Shakespeare was unsuccessfully trying to match the writings of the renowned playwrights of his times, known as University Wits.’ These writers were university educated in classic literature and had the requisite knowledge of ‘how to write.’ However, by a strange twist of fate, some of these writers including Robert Greene went into oblivion while Shakespeare out of the greatest writers the world has ever seen! Robert Greene is known today as merely a detractor of Shakespeare and denigrator of his character.

           By 1594, Shakespeare had cemented his place in the theatre industry of London as his plays were enacted before large audiences. He was also known as a talented actor. After 1594, a drama company known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men hired him. The company was owned by a group of actors including Shakespeare. All his later plays were performed by this company. Shakespeare’s most renowned plays such as Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth were all produced by them. Richard Burbage handled the lead roles in all these plays and Shakespeare played some secondary roles.

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