William Shakespeare was the son of John Shakespeare, an alderman and a successful glover (glove-maker) originally from Snitterfield, and Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent landowning family. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon , where he was baptised on 26 April 1564.
Celebrating Shakespeare's birthday may seem retrograde, but his plays reveal what drama can do. Here's how I advise students to read the work.
2 weeks ago
Apr 19, 2021 · William Shakespeare was an English dramatist, poet, and actor considered by many to be the greatest dramatist of all time. No writer’s living reputation can compare to that of Shakespeare, whose notable plays include the tragedies Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, and Othello. He is known for his sonnets.
Dec 10, 2020 · William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright and actor of the Renaissance era. He was an important member of the King’s Men company of theatrical players from roughly 1594 onward.
- 3 min
- Shakespeare’s Childhood and Family Life
- Shakespeare’s Lost Years and Early Career
- Shakespeare’s Plays and Poems
- Shakespeare’s Death and Legacy
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, a bustling market town 100 miles northwest of London, and baptized there on April 26, 1564. His birthday is traditionally celebrated on April 23, which was the date of his death in 1616 and is the feast day of St. George, the patron saint of England. Shakespeare’s father, John, dabbled in farming, wood trading, tanning, leatherwork, money lending and other occupations; he also held a series of municipal positions before falling into debt in the late 1580s. The ambitious son of a tenant farmer, John boosted his social status by marrying Mary Arden, the daughter of an aristocratic landowner. Like John, she may have been a practicing Catholic at a time when those who rejected the newly established Church of Englandfaced persecution. William was the third of eight Shakespeare children, of whom three died in childhood. Though no records of his education survive, it is likely that he attended the well-regarded local grammar school, wher...
To the dismay of his biographers, Shakespeare disappears from the historical record between 1585, when his twins’ baptism was recorded, and 1592, when the playwright Robert Greene denounced him in a pamphlet as an “upstart crow” (evidence that he had already made a name for himself on the London stage). What did the newly married father and future literary icon do during those seven “lost” years? Historians have speculated that he worked as a schoolteacher, studied law, traveled across continental Europe or joined an acting troupe that was passing through Stratford. According to one 17th-century account, he fled his hometown after poaching deer from a local politician’s estate. Whatever the answer, by 1592 Shakespeare had begun working as an actor, penned several plays and spent enough time in London to write about its geography, culture and diverse personalities with great authority. Even his earliest works evince knowledge of European affairs and foreign countries, familiarity wit...
Shakespeare’s first plays, believed to have been written before or around 1592, encompass all three of the main dramatic genres in the bard’s oeuvre: tragedy (“Titus Andronicus”); comedy (“The Two Gentlemen of Verona,” “The Comedy of Errors” and “The Taming of the Shrew”); and history (the “Henry VI” trilogy and “Richard III”). Shakespeare was likely affiliated with several different theater companies when these early works debuted on the London stage. In 1594 he began writing and acting for a troupe known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (renamed the King’s Men when James I appointed himself its patron), ultimately becoming its house playwright and partnering with other members to establish the legendary Globe theater in 1599. Between the mid-1590s and his retirement around 1612, Shakespeare penned the most famous of his 37-plus plays, including “Romeo and Juliet,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Hamlet,” “King Lear,” “Macbeth” and “The Tempest.” As a dramatist, he is known for his freq...
Shakespeare died at age 52 of unknown causes on April 23, 1616, leaving the bulk of his estate to his daughter Susanna. (Anne Hathaway, who outlived her husband by seven years, famously received his “second-best bed.”) The slabstone over Shakespeare’s tomb, located inside a Stratford church, bears an epitaph—written, some say, by the bard himself—warding off grave robbers with a curse: “Blessed be the man that spares these stones, / And cursed be he that moves my bones.” His remains have yet to be disturbed, despite requests by archaeologists keen to reveal what killed him. In 1623, two of Shakespeare’s former colleagues published a collection of his plays, commonly known as the First Folio. In its preface, the dramatist Ben Jonson wrote of his late contemporary, “He was not of an age, but for all time.” Indeed, Shakespeare’s plays continue to grace stages and resonate with audiences around the world, and have yielded a vast array of film, television and theatrical adaptations. Furt...
- 5 min
- Shakespeare's Work
- Shakespeare's Life
- Shakespeare in London
- New Place
Shakespeare's works include 38 plays, 2 narrative poems, 154 sonnets, and a variety of other poems. No original manuscripts of Shakespeare's plays are known to exist today. It is actually thanks to a group of actors from Shakespeare's company that we have about half of the plays at all. They collected them for publication after Shakespeare died, preserving the plays. These writings were brought together in what is known as the First Folio ('Folio' refers to the size of the paper used). It con...
Records survive relating to William Shakespeare’s family. Throughthese, we can gain an understanding of the context of Shakespeare's early life and the lives of his family members. JohnShakespeare married MaryArden, and together they had eight children. John and Mary lost two daughters as infants, so William became their eldest child. John Shakespeare worked as a glove-maker, but he also became an important figure in the town of Stratford by fulfilling civic positions. His elevated status mea...
Shakespeare's career jump-started in London. When did he go there? We do know Shakespeare's twins were baptised in 1585, and Shakespeare established his reputation in London by 1592. But the intervening years are considered a mystery. Scholars generally refer to these years as ‘The Lost Years’.During his time in London, Shakespeare became a founding member of The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a company of actors. The company would later become The King’s Men under the patronage of King James I (fro...
In 1597, William Shakespeare bought a home called New Place in Stratford-upon-Avon. Recent archaeological evidence discovered on the site of Shakespeare’s New Place shows that Shakespeare was only ever an intermittent lodger in London. This suggests he divided his time between Stratford and London (a two or three-day commute). In his later years, he may have spent more time in Stratford-upon-Avon than scholars previously thought. 1. Watch our video for more about Shakespeare as a literary com...
William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon. The son of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden, he was probably educated at the King Edward VI Grammar School in Stratford, where he learned Latin and a little Greek and read the Roman dramatists. At eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, a woman seven or eight years his senior.
Since William Shakespeare lived more than 400 years ago, and many records from that time are lost or never existed in the first place, we don't know everything about his life. For example, we know that he was baptized in Stratford-upon-Avon, 100 miles northwest of London, on April 26, 1564.
William Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays that scholars know of, with most of them labeled is comedies, histories, or tragedies. The earliest play that is directly attributed to Shakespeare is the trilogy of "King Henry VI," with Richard III also being written around the same time, between 1589 and 1591. The last play was a collaboration ...
- Some people think Shakespeare was a fraud. How did a provincial commoner who had never gone to college or ventured outside Stratford become one of the most prolific, worldly and eloquent writers in history?
- Shakespeare introduced almost 3,000 words to the English. Shakespeare has been credited by the Oxford English Dictionary with introducing almost 3,000 words to the English language.
- We probably don't spell Shakespeare's name correctly. Sources from William Shakespeare's lifetime spell his last name in more than 80 different ways, ranging from "Shappere" to "Shaxberd."
- Shakespeare penned a curse for his grave, daring anyone to move his body. His epitaph was: Good friend for Jesus' sake forbear, To dig the dust enclosed here
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