William Shakespeare was born in a market town one hundred miles northwest of London, by the name of Stratford-upon-Avon on April twenty-second or twenty- third, in the year fifteen sixty-four. After his third to fourth day of life he was baptized in his hometown on the twenty sixth of April, fifteen sixty-four. Although, there is no positive evidence on the subject, the Stratford parish registers attest that he was baptized on April, twenty six.
“The poet William’s, the first son and third child of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden, birthday is generally accepted on April twenty third, which mainly appears on the ground as the day of his death (Lee p. 8). His father, John Shakespeare, indulged in a bit of farming, wood trading, tanning, leatherwork, and money lending from time to time. He also held a series of authoritative positions before plunging into deficit in the late fifteen eighties. John decided to endorse himself with a social status by marrying William’s mother, Mary, who was the daughter of a noble landowner.
Their marriage took place at Ashton Cantlowe, the parish church of Wilmcote, in the autumn of fifteen fifty-seven (Lee p. 7). As stated above, William was the third of eight Shakespeare children, in which three died at infancy. Although, no records of Will’s education remain in this day and age, it’s likely that he studied Latin grammar and classics. He, along with three other brothers was entitled to a free tuition at the grammar school of Stratford, which was reestablished on a mediaeval foundation by Edward IV (Lee p.12).
In November, fifteen eighty-two, William married Anne Hathaway, who was eight years older than he was at the time. It was believed that the ceremony took place due to the pregnancy of Hathaway. “Within six months- in May fifteen eighty-three- a daughter was born to the poet, and was baptized in the name of Susanna at Stratford parish church on the twenty sixth (Lee p. 21). The twins, Judith and Hamnet followed in birth, two years later in February, fifteen eighty-five. In eighteen ninety-six, William’s only son, Hamnet died at age eleven.
Lost Years and an Early Career
It was believed that William Shakespeare branched off from his family to pursue his writing and theater career in London. Between the winter of fifteen eighty-five and the autumn of fifteen ninety-six- an interval which synchronizes with his first literacy triumphs- there is only on shadowy mention of his name in Stratford records (Lee dpp. 24). Shakespeare disappeared from the historical records between fifteen eight five and fifteen ninety two. His lost years fell between when his twins’ baptism was recorded and his denouncement in a pamphlet by the playwright, Robert Greene.
The denouncement in their source of media made it evident that Shakespeare had already made a name for himself on the London stage. It was also speculated that the poet had joined a group of aspiring actors, traveling through Stratford-upon-Avon and across continental Europe. Assumptions of him studying law, and working as a schoolteacher were made as well. After nineteen ninety-two, Shakespeare graced his presence on public records again making his travels with an acting troupe evident by writing plays about geography, culture and diverse personalities with great authority.
His earliest works captured knowledge of European affairs and foreign countries, familiarity of the royal courts, and general knowledge that might seem unachievable to a young man raised by parents who were probably illiterate. Shakespeare’s early works confirms that while in the country he zealously studied and gained detailed knowledge of nature and wildlife, as well as sympathetically referencing the acts of hawking, hunting, coursing, and angling abound which he wrote about in his plays and poems (Lee pp. 24).
Playwright and Poet
William’s first plays were believed to have been written around the mid- fifteen nineties, surrounding all three main dramatic genres in the poet’s oeuvre: tragedy, comedy, and history. Before his first literary design, the erotic “Venus and Adonis”, was published, William had already written four original plays: Love’s Labour’s Lost, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, A Comedy of Errors, and Romeo and Juliet. He also revised many other plays by other hands;
Titus Andronicus, and the three parts of Henry VI (Shakespeare [footnote] pp. 2). He was likely affiliated with several different theatrical companies when these debuts hit the stages of London. By sixteen nine, Shakespeare’s famed collection of sonnets were published, possibly without his consent; it was suggested that the collection was meant only for his own intimate circle, not the general public.
Death and Legacy
At the beginning of the year sixteen-sixteen, Shakespeare’s health was failing which called for an impromptu drafting of his will. Although, it was prepared for signature on the twenty fifth of January, it was laid aside because of bad timing (Lee pp. 219). Shakespeare died at age fifty-two of unknown causes on April twenty third, sixteen-sixteen, leaving a bulk of his estate to his daughter Susanna, and only his second best bed to his wife Anne Hathaway, who obviously outlived him. Although it’s speculated but unproven that Shakespeare was a severe drinker, the cause of his death is still undetermined.
The following Thursday, April twenty fifth, he was buried inside Stratford Church, near the northern wall of chancel. Upon the slabstone over Shakespeare’s tombstone lay these words; “Good Frend For Lesvs Sake Forbeare, to Digg the Dvst Encloased Heare; Blesse be Ye Man Ty Spares Thes Stones, and Cvrst Be He Ty Moves My Bones.” (Lee pp. 220) Despite the desire of his wife, Anne Hathaway, to be laid to rest beside him, or in modern times, the request by archaeologists to reveal what killed him, his tomb remains intact and undisturbed.
For this essay, the Google Scholar, and Google search engines were used. The two books, A Life of William Shakespeare, written by Sir Sidney Lee, and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Volume Twenty, written by William himself, were used to summarize his life and works. The website ‘History.com’ via article, William Shakespeare was also used in creating this essay.
Of course both books were amazingly stated and interesting to read, as was the article from the history webpage that ultimately co-signature the event which go hand in hand. All three worked together to support each other on the findings of William Shakespeare, his family, life, and career.
Although ‘History.com’ was a great cite to do research from, some of the information was either wrongly dated, or just simply not there. I based this perception from the two books that I referenced from in the essay. Every event that is noted in the website’s article about William Shakespeare can be accurately found in both books noted above. For every event noted in the essay, a direct reference was paraphrased from either book.
If a date or event in the article didn’t match the findings in the book of the same date or event which occur, the information noted in either book was dominant of the article. This assignment was very informative and I really enjoyed doing the research on William Shakespeare, just to brush up on the knowledge that I had previously had of him already. Thank you.
Lee, Sidney. _A Life of William Shakespeare,_. New ed. New York: Macmillan, 1916. Print.
“William Shakespeare.” _History.com_. A&E Television Networks, 1 Jan. 2011. Web. 11 Sept. 2014. .
Shakespeare, William. The complete works of William Shakespeare. Vol. 20. Harper& brothers, 1908