№1. Read the text about William Shakespeare.
Nearly 450 years after his birth, William Shakespeare is still generally considered to be the greatest writer in the English language. Yet little is known about the man himself and some critics actually doubt whether he wrote the plays at all.
Shakespeare was born on the 23rd April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England, the son of a glove maker. He died on the same day in 1616, at the age of 52, in the same town. He was buried in the church where he had been baptized (крещен). Very few facts are known of Shakespeare’s early life. In 1582, at the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, the daughter of a local landowner. She was 8 years older than him. At the time of the marriage Anne was pregnant (беременна). In 1583 the couple (супруги) had a daughter, Susan, in 1585 - twins: Hemnet son, who died at age 11 in August 1596, and a daughter Judith. But he soon left Stratford and his family to start his acting career. By 1610, Shakespeare had already written most of his 37 plays and his poetry. In this year, 400 years ago, at the age of 46, he retired from London, where he had been living and working for many years.
He had a very large house in Stratford. In addition, he part-owned two theatres in London, where his plays were regularly performed.
However, this historical figure is still surrounded by mystery: details of Shakespeare’s early life are thin; there is little information about his private life; for a literary genius, his education and also his life experiences seem surprisingly limited. Some critics thought that his house and wealth to be evidence that William Shakespeare was in fact a businessman, not a playwright. He certainly had an eye for business and investment, as well as being a remarkable writer.
№2. Answer these statements with true (T), false (F) or don’t know (D).
1. Shakespeare was born in the spring.
2. Shakespeare died on his birthday.
3. He had many children.
4. His father was a professional actor.
5. He did not live with his wife and family for much of his working life.
6. He enjoyed his retirement in Stratford.
7. Shakespeare became poorer as he grew older.
8. He wrote most of his plays when in retirement.
9. He had a very good education.
10. Shakespeare was a good businessman.
№3. Read the text and choose the right answer.
William Shakespeare is often considered to be one of the greatest playwrights of all time. In fact, it is usually difficult to find an individual who is not familiar with at least one of his works, as almost everyone has heard of Hamlet, Macbeth, or Romeo and Juliet. However, even though most people recognize Shakespeare as a legendary playwright, many forget that he was
a talented poet as well. Shakespeare wrote over 150 sonnets during his lifetime.
The sonnets of Shakespeare mused upon a variety of topics including love, death, and time. Most of Shakespeare’s sonnets center around three unnamed characters, who are often referred to as the Dark Lady, the Fair Youth, and the Rival Poet.
1) The main topic of this passage is that:
a) Shakespeare was a famous playwright
b) Shakespeare wrote a number of comedies
c) Everyone has heard of Shakespeare
d) Shakespeare writes about love, death, and time
e) Shakespeare was not only a playwright, but a poet as well
2) According to the passage, William Shakespeare wrote the following plays:
a) Hamlet, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet
b) The Dark Lady, The Fair Youth, and The Rival Poet
c) Doctor Faustus, The Fair Youth, and The Rival Poet
d) Love, Death, and Time
e) None of the above
3) According to the passage, the characters that Shakespeare commonly described
in his poems are usually referred to as:
a) Hamlet and Macbeth
b) Romeo and Juliet
c) Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo, and Juliet
d) The Dark Lady, the Fair Youth, and the Rival Poet
e) Doctor Faustus
№4. Complete the text by filling the correct words in the gaps.
Comedies member performances
Sonnets dramas middle class
Profits tragedies mayor
Playwrights scripts writer
William Shakespeare was one of the world’s greatest 1)__________. He
lived in England during the second half of the 16th century and the early part
of the 17th century. William grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon, a town where
his father had been 2)__________. His family was 3)__________ and young
William attended a grammar school in Stratford.
Later on Shakespeare went to London to find a job as an actor and
4)__________. It was very difficult because only the best were able to work
there. Between 1592 and 1594, Shakespeare wrote mainly 5)__________ and
poems. All theatres were closed because of the Black Death, which killed millions
When theatres opened up again he became a 6)__________ of Lord Chamberlain’s
Men, the best acting company in the country. The plays were performed
in the Globe, a round theatre without a roof. The actors and writers owned the
theatre. They bought the costumes and wrote their own 7)__________ . They
also shared their 8)__________.
Plays started in the early afternoon. People who didn’t have money to
buy a seat were allowed to stand in the front. Sometimes there were special
9)__________ for kings and queens.
Shakespeare wrote three types of plays. 10)_________ show the downfall
of one of the characters. 11)_________ are funny plays that have happy endings
and historical plays are 12)________ about the lives of famous English
In 1610 William retired from the theatre and went back to his home town
Stratford. He died there in 1616.
№5. Match the words with the definitions.
1. playwright A. a play for the theatre, usually a serious one
2. bard B. the ability to form pictures or ideas in your mind
3. poet C. a writer of plays; dramatist.
4. comedy D. a poem of 14 lines expressive of a single idea
5. tragedy E. a person who composed or recited poems with music
6. sonnet F. a play that is intended to make people laugh
7. imagination G. someone who writes poems
8. drama H. a serious play that ends sadly, especially with the death of the
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