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The Life of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was one of the greatest dramatist of his time. Shakespeare was born on April 23,1564 in Stratford-on-Avon. John Shakespeare, Williams father, trained as a glove maker. In addition to his glove making he also traded as a wool dealer and held many official positions such as: mayor, town council men and Justice of Peace. While Williams father was financially supporting the family, his wife, Mary stayed at home and tended to eight children including William.
During the 1500s Shakespeare attended Stratford Grammar School. While attending school he studied written classics in Latin and Greek. The classical writers that William studied in school inspired him to write some of his now famous plays and poetry.
After finishing school at age 18 he married a woman named Anne Hathaway who was the daughter of Richard Hathaway, a local farmer. Her home known as Hathaways Cottage, is still in the village of Shottery, which is a mile away from Stratford. They were married on November 27,1582 and at that time Anne was twenty-six years old. They had their first daughter on May 26,1583. Her name was Susana. Susana was baptised on the twenty-sixth of May in the year of 1583. In 1585 Anne gave birth to a set of twin girls named, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet soon passed away in 1596 at a mere age of eleven.
To this day we still do not know when or why William Shakespeare left his home town, Stratford, for London. There are many various stories and traditions about his so called “Hidden Years,” between the years of 1585 and 1592, a period of time in which there is no evidence of his life. One tale tells how he was caught poaching a deer in Charlecote Prak, near Stratford, and went off to London to avoid prosecution. A common tradition suspects that Shakespeare was a schoolmaster for some years. When Shakespeare was growing up, drama was a significant part of his home town social life. Often local people put on amateur shows, the town was regularly by London-based companies of actors and William may have joined one of them. He probably arrived in London around 1586/7.
During the hidden years of Shakespeare man people concluded that he was running from the law or was suspected to be a school teacher. Evidence about Shakespeare was found he established himself a actor. He began to write many plays. During his acting career he wrote two long poems titled “Venus and Adonis” and “Rape of Lucrece.” Shakespeares plays were performed in “Lord Chamberlines Men,” which later became known as “The Kings Men.” In 1599 the Lord Chamberlains Men, the acting company that Shakespeare was involved in, built a new theater, called the Globe. Located on the South Bank of the Thames, in the suburb of Southwark. This theater was most closely associated with Williams plays. Henry V and Julious Ceaser, two of Shakespeares plays were almost certainly written during the year in which the Globe opened. While a Henry VIII was being performed in 1613, a fire broke out in the theater and destroyed the Globe. It was rebuilt the following year though.
Drama was a nation-wide activity in Shakespeares time but only in London were the buildings designed specifically for performing plays. Most public theatres were tall, roughly circular structures, open to the sky, with a cover over part of the stage and a roof running around the edge to protect the galleries. Performances took place in the afternoons, with the actors playing on a raised stage which projected halfway into the theatre. All the womens roles were performed by boys. The audience, which either stood in the yard around the stage or sat in the galleries, represented a wide social mix of people.
Shakespeares oldest daughter, Susanna, married John Hall a Startford physician, in 1607, and gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth, the following year. Shakespeares other daughter, Judith, married Thomas Quiney, a Stratford vintner, in 1616. (Shakespeares son Hamnet, twin brother to Judith, had died in 1596, at the age of eleven.)
Shakespeare had multiple sources of income. A few examples of these sources are: an actor, director, and a writer. He was a very wealthy man. Shakespeare retired in 1611 and completed a will in 1616. William pasted away on April 23, 1616 of an unknown cause. He was 52 years old at the time. He was buried on April 25, 1616, two days after his death, Shakespeare was buried at the Holy trinity Church. A short time after being buried his family put up a monument to him on the wall close to his grave. In Shakespeares time, after the graveyard was full they would dig ones corpse up and burn the persons bones in a huge fireplace. Some people would strip the corpse after the burial. Shakespeare hated this type of treatment so he wrote his own epitaph:
“Good friends, for Jesus sake forbear,
to dig the bones enclosed here!
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
and curst be he that moves my bones.”
At this time a lot of people were superstitious so no one ever moved or bothered his corpse. A while ago, a few people wanted to dig him up and make sure that the person buried there was truly William Shakespeare. However, the government wouldnt allow it.
His widow, Anne, passed away shortly after William in the year of 1623 of an unknown cause. She was buried beside him. William Shakespeares family line came to an end with the death of his grand-daughter, Elizabeth in 1670.
In 1623, 7 years after his death, Shakespeares first folio was published. It included: 154 sonnets, 37 plays, and 2 long poems.Many of his plays are famous and are studied by many students today.