William Shakespeare Biography
William Shakespeare was born to John and Mary Shakespeare in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon. He was baptized on 26th April 1564 and was believed to have been born 23rd April 1564. John was a popular alderman and glover. Not much is known about Shakespeare’s early childhood. It is believed that he studied at King’s New School in Stratford.
William Shakespeare family
William married Anne Hathaway when he was 18 years old. Anne, a daughter of a local farmer was eight years older to William. At the time of marriage, she was three months pregnant. Within six months, a daughter was born to them. She was named Susanna and was baptized on 26th May 1583. In 1585 twins, Anne gave birth to twins, son Hamnet and daughter Judith.
Hamnet died at a young age of 11 years because of unknown reasons. William Shakespeare’s older daughter, Susanna married physician John Hall in 1607 and in 1608, she gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth, who was baptized at Holy Trinity Church. Susanna died in 1649. Judith married Thomas Quinney. She had three sons, all of whom died at a young age. She died in 1662.
William Shakespeare Education
Shakespeare went to a Grammar school in Stratford, learning to read and write Latin. He did not go to university because he had to support his family. At the age of 18, he got married.
How did Shakespeare get into writing?
Shakespeare probably wanted to become an actor and make money to support himself and his family. Having watched the travelling troupes in Stratford, he moved to London to go into the theatre business. It was probably around the same time that he started writing for his troupe too.
Why did Shakespeare move to London?
Shakespeare moved to London to try his luck in the theatre. He probably just wanted to become an actor but eventually moved to write only.
William Shakespeare facts
- Shakespeare wrote 37 plays which contain tragedies, comedies and historical plays and 154 poems.
- By the 17th century, Shakespeare had become a very popular playwright and was also a successful businessman. He lived in London but his family lived in Stratford which he frequently visited.
- Shakespeare, in his lifetime, performed in front of both Queen Elizabeth I and King James I with whim he had a close connection.
Many believe that William taught in a school before his career took off. The years from 1585-1592 are known as the ‘lost years’ as nothing about him is known during this period. Most of Shakespeare’s work was produced between 1589 to 1613. Shakespeare was a co-owner of a company known as Lord Chamberlain’s Men.
He worked there as an actor and writer. The company was renamed and was now known as the King’s Men. It is rumoured that William acted in some of his plays- as the ghost of Hamlet’s father in his famous play ‘Hamlet’, in ‘As You Like It’ and Henry V’.
In the early years of his career, Shakespeare wrote comedies, histories and tragedies, inspired by the work of noted dramatists Thomas Kyd and Christopher Marlowe. Records suggest that Shakespeare’s were played in London from 1592. The earliest record of his work being written is during the 1590s.
His plays were published in quarto editions from 1594. In 1596, William bought a new house known as New Place in Stratford and by 1604, he had purchased many properties. In 1599, Shakespeare’s company built the Globe Theatre. According to some, most of Shakespeare’s work was not written by him.
In the beginning, Shakespeare wrote plays in conventional style. He soon began writing plays in the traditional style. By 1590’s he had begun writing romantic plays. Some of his popular romantic-comedy/comedy plays were ‘Merchant of Venice’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, As You Like It, Twelfth Night and Much Ado About Nothing. Towards the end of 1590’s, Shakespeare started writing prose comedy.
During this time, he even wrote tragedies like ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘Julius Caesar’, which later became extremely popular. Shakespeare had written 154 sonnets. Some referring to a young man, while a few spoke about a young woman. He even wrote two narrative poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece from 1593-1594.
William Shakespeare Poems
Poems like A Lover’s Complaint and The Passionate Pilgrim became popular. He wrote poems in blank verse form and in iambic pentameter. To give a natural effect to his poems, Shakespeare began using various techniques like pauses and stops.
Though Shakespeare had a successful career as a writer and poet, the critics were divided in their opinion about Shakespeare’s work. Some liked his style of writing and his diversion from the traditional work while others felt that conventional style was better. William’s work made him popular all over the world. He was regarded as the national poet.
Posthumously, in 1623 his friends published a collection of several of his sonnets known as the First Folio. Shakespeare was responsible for popularizing the concept of romance in tragedies. William’s work inspired many poets around the world. He inspired many novelists like Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy. Shakespeare can be credited for coining many words and phrases that we commonly use in our everyday life.
Life Story of William Shakespeare
In 1570, William’s father, John had applied for Coat-of-Arms. The application was initially rejected. In 1596, John, William and Gilbert, William’s younger brother was granted the Coat-of-Arms. The Coat-of-Arms gave them the status of ‘Gentleman’.
William made a will whereby a large portion of his estate was given to his daughter Susanna. He left his wife, his second-best bed. Shakespeare had shifted to the parish of St. Helen’s, Bishopsgate sometime around 1596. During the last few years, Shakespeare lived a retired life at Stratford.
When did Shakespeare die?
William Shakespeare died on 23rd April 1616. He was 52 years old and was buried at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Some of the most popular plays written by Shakespeare were Hamlet, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Macbeth, Anthony and Cleopatra and Julius Caesar.
How did Shakespeare die?
There is much debate surrounding the death of William Shakespeare. Some believe that he died of natural causes, while others believe that he was poisoned. There is no definitive answer, but there are many theories.
One theory is that Shakespeare died of syphilis. This is based on the fact that many of his characters have symptoms of the disease, and some scholars believe that he may have had the disease himself.
Another theory is that he was poisoned by someone who was jealous of his success. This is a more sinister theory, but there is some evidence to support it. For example, there are records of people being poisoned by jealous rivals during Shakespeare’s time.
Finally, some believe that Shakespeare simply died of old age. This is the most likely scenario, as he was in his 50s when he died. However, we will never know for sure how Shakespeare died.
One famous quote from Shakespeare is
Cowards die many time before their death; The valiant never taste of death but once. (Julius Caesar)