Who is the king in the realm of literature? Different scholars will name artists including, poets, novelists, dramatists. But, when the discussion solely involves Shakespeare’s name, all repute artists appear mere writers. Because Shakespeare always appears as a towering giant with indisputable and incomparable qualities.
It is undeniable that for almost three centuries, thousands of scholars around the world tried their best to find out the actual reasons that helped Shakespeare to create so many masterpieces like Caesar, Hamlet, or Macbeth. Also, there has hardly been a scholar or critic who has not studied and researched this indisputable, most excellent writer in the English language and the greatest dramatist on earth.
Many readers sometimes become observers after studying Caesar, Othello, King Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth, or The Tempest. And, they try to know the exact chronology of Shakespeare’s plays. In a word, they want to know the actual date of penning these masterpieces as truly special and how they became time-winner. In addition to this, some people also want to know whether the” Bard of Avon” is older than Shakespeare’s time-winner plays.
Before exploring the chronology of Hamlet, Bard of Avon, Macbeth, and Caesar, a brief discussion is necessary about the Bard of Avon.
When the term “The Bard of Avon” appears in mind, the only name surfaces on the tongue is William Shakespeare. Yes, the current world specifies Shakespeare the Bard of Avon. He received this title for his towering stature as a great poet, writer, and dramatist. It is undoubtedly true that many Englishmen recognize him as the national poet unofficially. The projection became more acute with the advancement and beginning of the twentieth century.
However, different opinions are also there, as most Scottish people believe that their national poet, Robert Burns, should get the title. That means discussion involving the relation between “The Bard of Avon” and Shakespeare is not so old. However, the word “The Bard” is comparatively ancient.
According to No Sweat Shakespeare, the word Bards originally indicate satire and eulogy composers. The term generally identifies “a tribal poet-singer” who can compose as well recite verses “on heroes and their deeds.
Interestingly, the real meaning of ‘bard’ is no longer visible, and in present times the term is used to identify one revered poet with the rare talent to gift the entire world with great quotes. There is no denying that Shakespeare is a man with such revered stature blessed with great deeds. He penned many unmatchable time-winning themes of love, war, heroism, and death. Many characters of his different plays explore more significance with the growing time. Therefore, calling Shakespeare the Bard of Avon is the right choice.
The oldest between Hamlet, Bard of Avon, Macbeth, and Caesar
So the above discussion has made it clear that the Bard of Avon is none other than William Shakespeare. The million-dollar question is whether a chronology is possible to select which one is the oldest between Hamlet, Bard of Avon, Macbeth, and Caesar.
To answer this query, readers first need to look closely at Hamlet, Macbeth, and Caesar’s chronology. That means readers first need to know the date of writing or publication or performance of these masterpieces.
Several research papers from different scholars are available to identify the exact date of writing. If an admirer of Shakespearean creations searches online to get the chronology of Shakespeare’s plays, he can get the dates. Edmond Malone is such a famous Shakespearean scholar who tried to sketch Shakespeare’s plays’ proper relative chronology.
Edmond Malone applied various significant means to construct the chronology. He used the available evidence of references from the Shakespearean era’s contemporaries. His minute observations of contemporary events, publication dates, private documents, and others helped to explore the actual date of writing.
Caesar or Julius Caesar or The Tragedy of Julius Caesar first saw the daylight in 1599
The story of the play Julius Caesaris has a clear base on real events. For sure, those events must have an association with Roman history. Shakespeare set the timeline of the plot in 44 BC. The play portrays the Roman senator’s moral dilemma, Marcus Brutus, who played the leading role to assassin Julius Caesar, the famous General of the Roman Republic. Notably, Brutus was a very close associate of Julius Caesar.
A big irony of this play is William Shakespeare named the play Julius Caesar but made Brutus more active than Caesar in the entire storyline. Moreover, the drama focuses on a psychological conflict that depicts Brutus’s struggle between friendship, honor, and patriotism.
Hamlet or The Tragedy of Hamlet surfaced from Shakespeare’s pen between 1599 and 1601
Hamlet is considered the most extended play written by Shakespeare and containing 30,557 words. The eminent playwright selected Denmark to set the plot of Hamlet’s story. The drama shows Prince Hamlet plotted and prepared to take revenge against Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle, who murdered hamlet’s father to seize the throne.
Hamlet is considered one of the most influential masterpieces in literature. Critics often argue that the play depicts an atmosphere of cold-blooded murder or calculated revenge.
Macbeth or The Tragedy of Macbeth first saw the daylight in 1606
Macbeth is the most-discussed tragic play of William Shakespeare that portrayed how a power-seeking man with political ambition faces the most damaging psychological impacts.
Macbeth is the story of a Scottish general, Macbeth, who encountered a prophecy from three witches that he would be the King of Scotland one day. Accordingly, Macbeth became greedy and ambitious and murdered King Duncan with his wife’s help to acquire the Scottish throne.
However, an acute sense of guilt with paranoia forced him to commit more murders. And the bloodbath ultimately led to the civil war that ended with Macbeth’s death.
The available chronology has made it clear that Caesar or Julius Caesar or The Tragedy of Julius Caesar could be the oldest one among Hamlet, Macbeth, and Caesar.
Now the question is who is the oldest among Hamlet, Macbeth, Caesar, and the Bard of Avon.
If Bard of Avon is taken only as a title conferred to Shakespeare, Caesar is the oldest. However, if it indicates the writer itself, Shakespeare (1564-1616) is the oldest who later penned the plays like Hamlet, Macbeth, and Caesar.