The Life and Works of William Shakespeare

As a poet, actor, and playwright, William Shakespeare proves to be one of the most influential figures that has helped shape society as well as the English language into what it has become today through his literary dominance that was spread throughout the early and later years of his life. His times and overall achievements show how he was, is, and always will be known well for his work around the world.

Since biographies were uncommon at this time, the childhood of William Shakespeare is not very well documented and, for the majority, a big question. Since not much can be found of his younger years, everything that is known for sure comes from records. To this date, no copy of William Shakespeare's birth certificate has been found. We do know that he was baptized on April 26, 1564; so it is almost positive he was born this year;

April 23 to be more specific because the three day intervals between births and baptisms was common; this can never be known for sure though. It is also commonly accepted that he attended King's New Grammar School in Stratford, England to receive a basic education of reading and writing. What can be proven is that Shakespeare became the third child born to his parents, John and Mary Shakespeare who had 8 children altogether.

Together as a family, they lived in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, about 100 miles from London. John Shakespeare was a member of the city council as well as a tanner and leatherworker who made and sold items like gloves and purses, this might be where Shakespeare received his business acumen from, just within a different profession. Not much is known of Shakespeare's mother besides that she received a vast

majority of her father's wealth when he passed away and used it to take care of her children at home. At the age of 18 in 1582 he received permission to marry Anne Hathaway. His love for her is expressed in several of his sonnets written over the years. Anne and William went on to have three children, of which, his only son died before this twelfth birthday, which was undoubtedly painful to William. In 1588 Shakespeare left Stratford for London in a pursuit of becoming an actor and playwright.

After living in London for five years, Shakespeare had established a great future for himself by writing a total of 194 plays, sonnets, and narrative poems, written in the most advanced form of the English language to that date, he added over 1400 words to the English language. His plays are perhaps what he is best known for as they are cherished around the world for their realistic happenings

Romeo and Juliet_ is possibly his greatest work as it tells the story of two lovers who destroy themselves in attempt at love, proves that love pricks like a thorn. His superiority is also shown in _Hamlet_ as he tells the story of a prince seeking the throne taken from him by his uncle. Shakespeare's comedies are very different from his tragedies as they are written in a different tone and end happily. _The Tempest_ was one of the last pieces written by Shakespeare and has themes of love, greed, and revenge with a happy ending. _While Much Ado About Nothing_ was also classified as a comedy and tells a story of many people trying to dismantle a wedding.

The third category of his plays were classified as Histories, these stories often told a story based on the rule of English kings and portray Shakespeare's view of the lives going on around them. _King John_ focuses on dramatizing the reign of this king until his death. William Shakespeare's Sonnets are also well known as they show themes of love, time, beauty, and mutability as they are still loved as time continues to go on. Over his years, Shakespeare also

wrote two narrative poems. _Venus and Adonis_ uses constant change in tone to express the nature of love; _The Rape of Lucrece_ also has an inner theme of love but shows the feelings within a more violent setting. His works that he left with us are without explanations from him, the majority of them, we may never truly know why they were written or who he actually was directing them towards.

As he continued to get older, the world of literature and poetry began to see less and less of the Great Bard, William Shakespeare. The last play written by Shakespeare alone was the Tempest, which was first performed in 1611. It is known that the last pieces written by Shakespeare with the help a man named John Fletcher. Together the two produced the history, _All is True;_ also commonly known as King Henry VIII, which tells of the chaos in England during reign as the king.

The Shakespeare/Fletcher duo collaborated to write _The Two Noble Kinsmen,_ which was not published until 1634, years after Shakespeare had been laid to rest. After nearly twenty years away from his roots, around 1610 Shakespeare returned to Stratford-von-Avon to retire and spend the rest of his life with his family and enjoy the fortune he made in London. No one knows if he was ill when he died but four weeks before his death, Shakespeare created his final Will and Testament on March 25, 1616.

On April 23, 1616, William Shakespeare was dead at the age of 52. His will is very well known for Shakespeare specifically leaving his wife his "second best bed" which goes against English common law, the majority of his estate and fortune was passed down to his first daughter Susanna. The next two generations failed to produce offspring before their deaths, ending Shakespeare's direct blood line. He was laid to rest at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford on April 25, 1616 in a grave which still stands

today as he sits there next to wife and other close relatives. It is also said that Shakespeare himself wrote the Epitaph next to his grave which specifically states:

"Good frend for Iesvs sake forbeare,

To digg the dvst encloased heare.

Blest be ye man yt spares thes stones,

And cvrst be he yt moves my bones."

Just to his wishes, his bones have not been moved since his death as many people from across the world visit the site to pay respects toward the greatest influence on the English language who ever lived.

The Bard of William Shakespeare appears to have lived an extremely successful life, using his given talent to his best of his ability to persuade and entertain people for centuries and centuries to come. Born into a successful family, built a solid foundation for him to begin his career in whichever area wanted to choose. After he was ready begin his pursuit of happiness he moved to London and became a huge success while making a fortune in the arts.

As his life digressed after his success, eventually leading up to his death, his essence began to slow fad away as his direct family line ended within a few years after his death. Regardless of this his works will never be forgotten. This proves that William Shakespeare is one of the most influential figures that shaped society into what it is today through his literary dominance and success spread throughout his entire life. This man is, was, and always will be established in our world.

Bibliography

Book

Schoenbaum, Samuel. William Shakespeare a Compact Documentary

Life. New York: Oxford Univ., 1987. Print.

Encyclopedia

The World Book Encyclopedia. 1973. Print.

Website

"Shakespeare Biography at AbsoluteShakespeare.com." Absolute

Shakespeare - Plays, Quotes, Summaries, Essays...

AbsoluteShakespeare.com, Web. 5 April. 2010.

Website

William Shakespeare Biography.

Web. 13 Apr. 2010.

Website

"William Shakespeare - Biography and Works." The Literature

Network: Online Classic Literature, Poems, and Quotes. Essays

& Summaries. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2010.