William Shakespeare is a name that is known to almost everybody. Every one in his/her educational time period must have heard of this name. Literature would be incomplete without Shakespeare. All his works are phenomenal and exceptional. The way he portrayed his characters in prose or in poetry would seem as if they were real and have lived not in books but in hearts of readers. If you still have questions like: who was real Shakespeare? Where did he come from? Who was his inspiration?
Then following essay is an attempt to address these questions. William Shakespeare remains a mysterious figure with regards to personal history despite of all his fame and commemoration. One can refer to the two primary sources for information on the Bard: (1) his works, and (2) various legal and church documents that have survived from Elizabethan times.
Naturally, there are many gaps and loop holes in this body of information, which tells us little about Shakespeare the man, the person. (Peter R.) William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, purportedly on April 23, 1564. William was born of John Shakespeare, a glover and leather merchant, and Mary Arden, a landed heiress. He was the third of eight children. His father, John Shakespeare had a remarkable run of success as a merchant, and later as an alderman and high bailiff of Stratford but his fortunes declined, however, in the 1570s.
There is great speculation about Shakespeare’s childhood years, especially regarding his education. It is deduced by scholars through various documents that Shakespeare attended the free grammar school in Stratford, which at the time had a reputation to rival Eton. In addition, Shakespeare’s first biographer, Nicholas Rowe, wrote that John Shakespeare had placed William “for some time in a free school.” John Shakespeare, as a Stratford official, would have been granted a waiver of tuition for his son.
As there no sounds records on how long William attended the school, so one can infer that William Shakespeare never preceded to university schooling but certainly the literary quality of his works suggest a solid education and has also stirred some of the debate concerning the authorship of his works. The next documented event in Shakespeare’s life is his marriage to Anne Hathaway on November 28, 1582. William was 18 at the time, and Anne was 26.
They had three children daughter, Susanna, who was born on May 26, 1583 and twins, Hamnet and Judith, born February 2, 1585. (Stephen K.) William Shakespeare effectively disappears from all records for seven years, as he was turning up in London circa 1592. This flashed as much controversy about Shakespeare’s life as any other period could have. Rowe notes that young Shakespeare was quite fond of rustle, and may have had to run off from Stratford after an incident with Sir Thomas Lucy, whose lands he supposedly hunted.
There was also a rumor of Shakespeare working as an assistant schoolmaster in Lancashire for a time. It was estimated that Shakespeare arrived in London and began to establish himself as an actor and playwright.
Evidently, Shakespeare gained envy early on for his talent, as related by the critical attack of Robert Greene, a London playwright, in 1592: “…an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tiger’s heart wrapped in a player’s hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you: and being an absolute Johannes factotum, is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country.” Shakespeare must have shown considerable promise despite of Greene’s bluster.
By 1594, he was not only acting and writing for the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (called the King’s Men after the ascension of James I in 1603), but was a managing partner in the operation as well. With Will Kempe, a master comedian, and Richard Burbage, a leading tragic actor of that day, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men became a favorite London cast, supported by royalty and made popular by the theatre-going public.
When the plague forced theatre closings in the mid-1590s, Shakespeare and his company made plans for the Globe Theatre in the Bankside district, which was across the river from the proper London. (Mark L.) Shakespeare’s success is apparent and noticeable when studied against other playwrights of this time. He had plays published and sold in octavo editions, or “penny-copies” to the more literate of his audiences. It is noted that never before had a playwright enjoyed sufficient acclaim to see his works published and sold as popular literature in the midst of his career.
While Shakespeare could not be accounted wealthy, by London standards, his success allowed him to purchase New House and retire in comfort to Stratford in 1611. With this Shakespeare created a history that could not be forgotten. William Shakespeare allegedly died on his birthday, April 23, 1616. William Shakespeare’s legacy is a body of work that will never again be equaled in Western civilization. His words have endured for 400 years, and still reach across the centuries as powerfully as ever and would continue to mark his name.