During Shakespeare’s time, there were many other popular writers in London. Drama being the most sought-after form of entertainment of the period, many of these writers was playwrights whose plays were regularly performed on stage, while others were pamphleteers.

            Writing pamphlets expressing a social or political argument was a popular literary form in England from the mid-16th century onwards. Unlike Shakespeare, these writers were educated in universities.

            Do you know the story of Doctor Faustus, a man who sold his soul to the devil for all the knowledge in the world? This popular play was written by Christopher Marlowe, a University Wit.

            Other prominent University Wits were Robert Greene, Thomas Nashe, John Lyly, Thomas Lodge and George Peele. All these writers were educated in either Oxford or Cambridge Universities. They are credited with introducing to the English audience many heroic themes in a heroic style. While many of the University Wits wrote and performed some academically interesting plays, the humble playwrights who had no scholarly background such as Shakespeare could relate better with people through their more dramatic, stirring and emotional plots. In fact, the strength of Shakespeare and the group of playwrights he represented was that they barely had any theoretical knowledge, taught in universities. Their plays were rich in emotionally appealing events. Characters expressed their happiness, sorrows and anguish in lengthy speeches, which whetted people’s appetite. And that was the secret of Shakespeare’s popular.

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