William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. The personal history of William Shakespeare is sort of a mystery. No birth records exist. Though there are church records which state that he was baptized on April 23, 1564. So historians consider this his official birth date. Stratford-upon-Avon was near London and at Shakespeare’s time, was considered as a market town. It bisected with the River Avon (hence the name). He had 5 siblings; two older sisters and three younger brothers.
His father was John Shakespeare and his mother was Mary Arden. John Shakespeare was a leather merchant and his wife was a local heiress. John was a rather successful merchant and held a title that would be similar to a mayor in today’s times. However, William was born, his fortunes declined.
There are very little records of William Shakespeare’s childhood and even less of his education. But, historians have deducted that he went to the King’s New School in Stratford, England. Since there is so little known about Shakespeare’s education, this has led to some speculation as to the authorship of his plays/works and to as whether Shakespeare ever really existed.
In 1582, William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway. Anne was from a small village north of Stratford. William was 18 and Anne was 26 when they got married. Less than a year later, their first daughter named Susanna was born. Two years later, the newlyweds welcomed two baby twins named Hamnet and Judith.
Preceding the birth of Hamnet and Judith, there are 7 years of no records regarding Shakespeare “Scholars call this period the “lost years,” and there is wide speculation on what he was doing during this period. One theory is that he might have gone into hiding for poaching game from the local landlord, Sir Thomas Lucy. Another possibility is that he might have been working as an assistant schoolmaster in Lancashire. It is generally believed he arrived in London in the mid- to late 1580s and may have found work as a horse attendant at some of London’s finer theaters.” ()
Around 1592 is when Shakespeare started earning a living as an actor and a playwright in London. Around this time, he was the manager of one of the major acting companies in London, Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Shakespeare had his writings published through this company and they sold as popular literature.
1597 was when William Shakespeare officially established himself in the London theatre community. He had published 15 plays already in his career. From these plays he had earned a decent amount of money. Records show that he purchased the second largest house in Stratford. This was a considerably long way from London so it is speculated that he spent most of his time in London writing and acting and came home during the break period of the play season. Two years later, he and his business partners opened up a theatre on the Thames River. They named this theatre the Globe.
William Shakespeare’s writing style consisted of elaborate metaphors and rhetorical phrases. His ability to adapt the traditional style of the day to his own purposes was what made him a truly innovative playwright. He wrote a plethora of histories and comedies in his early writing period. Such as, Richard II and Henry VI, parts 1, 2 and 3 and Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Merchant of Venice, and The Taming of the Shrew. After 1600, Shakespeare wrote more tragedies such as, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, and Macbeth.
It is said that William Shakespeare died on his birthday, April 23, 1616. He left most of his things to his first born, Susanna. He however, left little to his wife. Shakespeare regarded his wife as “second best in bed” which obviously showed that the couple was not on good terms.
There are still skepticism’s on whether or not Shakespeare was actually the author of his famous plays. People started naming names such as Francis Bacon and Christopher Marlowe because these other great authors had better known backgrounds than Shakespeare did. Regardless of these skepticism, Shakespeare was a truly gifted writer and actor. His plays are still highly popular and have been reacted and studied countless times since they first debuted in 16th century. His plays have the ability to show real people’s emotions and hardships. That’s why they are so highly regarded. William Shakespeare is a true contribution towards society.