Mr. Shakespeare


Not too much can be said about William Shakespeare with absolute certainty. He was born about 1564 and died in 1616. He was baptised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, and was the third of eight children. It is assumed that he probably went to a local grammar school. He was the oldest son of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden, and, because of financial decline in his father's business, was apprenticed to a local butcher. (Although, according to another account, he became a schoolmaster.)

In 1582, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the daughter of a farmer. In 1583, their first child Susanna was born, then in 1585 twins, Hamnet and Judith were born. Hamnet died in 1596.

Shakespeare apparently arrived in London around 1588, and by 1592 had achieved success as an actor and playwright. He soon secured the patronage of Henry Wriothesley, the 3rd Earl of Southampton. Although generally popular in his time, these plays were frequently little esteemed by his educated contemporaries, who considered English plays of the day to be only vulgar entertainment.

Shakespeare's professional life in London was marked by a number of financially advantageous arrangements that permitted him to share in the profits of his acting company, the Chamberlain's Men, later called the King's Men, and its two theaters, the Globe Theatre and the Blackfriars. His plays were given special presentation at the courts of Queen Elizabeth I and King James I more frequently than those of any other contemporary dramatist. It is known that he risked losing royal favor only once, in 1599, when his company performed “the play of the deposing and killing of King Richard II“ at the request of a group of conspirators against Elizabeth. In the subsequent inquiry, Shakespeare's company was absolved of complicity in the conspiracy.

After about 1608, Shakespeare's dramatic production lessened and it seems that he spent more time in Stratford, where he had established his family in an imposing house called New Place and had become a leading local citizen. He died in 1616, and was buried in the Stratford church.





All's Well That Ends Well
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Love's Labours Lost
Measure for Measure
The Merry Wives of Windsor
The Merchant of Venice
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night
Two Gentlemen of Verona
Winter's Tale
Antony and Cleopatra
Julius Caesar
King Lear
Romeo and Juliet
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Henry IV, part 1
Henry IV, part 2
Henry V
Henry VI, part 1
Henry VI, part 2
Henry VI, part 3
Henry VIII
King John
Richard II
Richard III


Shakespeare Links

Bartleby Shakespeare Collection Shakespeare Illustrated
The Shakespeare Mystery The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
Shakespeare and the Internet Shakespeare Resource Center
Shakespeare Magazine The Pro-Shakespeare Authorship Page


Most biographical information on this page was attained from "Shakespeare, William," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2001 http://encarta.msn.com © 1997-2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

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