William ShakespeareIn the year of 1564 the man known as William Shakespeare was born, inStratford-upon-Avon, England. The exact date of birth is unknown but istraditionally celebrated on the 23 of April. To Englanders this day is known asThe Feast of St. George. The third-born of eight children to John Shakespeareand Mary Arden Shakespeare, William was their eldest son. John Shakespeare was aglove-maker and a tanner. Earlier in his life John had served a term as themayor of Stratford, was a town councilman, one of Stratford’s justices ofpeace, and an ale taster. John, unfortunately, could not write. In 1601, whenWilliam was 37 years old, John Shakespeare died. William inherited what smallportions of land John had come to own in his lifetime, being the eldest of Johnand Mary’s sons. Very little is known about Mary Arden Shakespeare’s life.
Although, she is known to have come from a wealthy family. Mary’s family alsopaid John a very gracious dowry. William Shakespeare went to an excellentgrammar school in Stratford-upon-Avon. Two Oxford graduates were instructorsthere. Shakespeare was fortunate to get both of them as teachers. Their nameswere Simon Hunt and Thomas Jenkins. William Studied the languages of Greek andLatin. He had also acquired a razor sharp awareness of both mankind and nature.
This is believed to be his last type of formal education. On the day November27, 1582, when Shakespeare was a mere 18 years of age, he was wed to AnneHathaway. She was 28 when they got married. Their first child was a girl by thename of Susanna, born May 26, 1583. Two years later William and Anne had twinsnamed Judith and Hamnet. Tragically, Hamnet died at the age of 11. It is notknown why he died Between the years of 1585 and 1592 there is no evidence ofShakespeare’s or the rest of his family’s lives. “The HiddenYears” are what many call this time period in Shakespeare’s life. It isbelieved that he may have been running from the law or was the apprentice of abutcher. A man named John Aubry was told by another man by the name ofChristopher Beston that Shakespeare was simply working as a school teacher inLondon up until 1592. Beginning in the year 1592, in London, he was starting tobecome known as an established playwright. In 1593 Henry Wriothsley becameWilliam Shakespeare’s patron and sponsor. Shakespeare was also a writer,director, actor, and stockholder in “The King’s Men” company.
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William was acting for this company, which became the world’s largest and mostfamous acting company only because Shakespeare was acting and working for them.
Written in 1593 was Shakespeare’s first long poem, called “Venus andAdonius”. Then in 1594 William wrote his second long poem called “Rapeof Lucrece”. These two poems were written when the theatres were closedbecause of the highly contagious epidemic plague. William Shakespeare beganwriting plays in the late 1590’s. Writing “The Taming of the Shrew”,”The Comedy of Errors”, “As You Like It”, “Much AdoAbout Nothing”, and “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”. Most of theseplays were comedies. The only tragedy he wrote at that time was “Romeo andJuliet”. 1599 brought the construction of the Globe, which was built byShakespeare’s company. The most well-known of his tragedies were performedthere. The plays acted out were “Hamlet”, “Othello”, “Macbeth”,and “King Lear”. “To be, or not to be-that is the question:Whether ?tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageousfortune…” (“Hamlet” in Hamlet) and “But soft, what lightthrough yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Juliet is the sun. …”(“Romeo” in Romeo and Juliet) are two of Shakespeare’s most famousquotes. Ever since William Shakespeare became a well-known playwright he hadbeen a wealthy man, bringing in money from many different sources. With all themoney in his possession he had decided to buy a big house in Stratford for hisfamily. This house was called New Place. In the year of 1610 Shakespeare retiredfrom theatre and returned to Stratford to be with his family. His will waswritten on March 25, 1616. Nearly one month later, on his 52 birthday, WilliamShakespeare died. He was buried at the Church of the Holy Trinity inStratford-upon-Avon. Like his son, Hamnet, William’s cause of death wasunknown. Many friends and family believed that he knew that his life was comingto an end, but didn’t want anybody
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