Shakespeare's Life by Vegas Munson ; Period 6

Thesis: Shakespeare lived a very successful and impactful life.

Early Life


Quote #1: "His father, John Shakespeare, was successful in the leather business during Shakespeare's early childhood but later met with financial difficulties. During his prosperous years his father was also involved in municipal affairs, holding the offices of alderman and bailiff during the 1560s." ("William".)

Commentary: Father Shakespeare specialized in the arts of leather. As a father, he was very involved. During Shakespeare's early years, John Shakespeare, the father of William Shakespeare, would hold meetings. He died Sept. 07, 1601.


Quote #2: "While little is known of Shakespeare's boyhood, he probably attended the grammar school in Stratford, where he would have been educated in the classics, particularly Latin grammar and literature. Whatever the veracity of Ben Jonson's famous comment that Shakespeare had "small Latine, and less Greeke," much of his work clearly depends on a knowledge of Roman comedy, ancient history, and classical mythology." ("William")

Commentary: Not much is known about Shakespeare's childhood. What is known is that Shakespeare ended grammar school in Stratford, predicted to be around six or seven age when he started grammar school. He shined in the classic, noticeably Latin grammar and literature.

Young Adulthood

Quote #3: "In 1594 Shakespeare became an actor and playwright for the Lord Chamberlain's Men, the company that later became the King's Men under James I." ("William")

Commentary: At age 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, in 1582, eight years his senior and pregnant at the time of the marriage. The two of them had three children. Their first child, Susanna was born in 1583. The next two were twins, Hamnet and Judith, born in 1585. Nothing is known of the period between the birth of the twins and Shakespeare's career kickoff as a playwright in London (c.1592). He officially 1594, Shakespeare officially became both an actor and playwright for the Lord Chamberlain's Men. The company eventually became King's Men under James I.


Globe Theater

The Globe Theater

Quote #4: "In 1576, outside the city walls of London, an actor-manager named James Burbage built the first permanent theater in England." ("Robert Anderson")

Commentary: Shakespeare's first company, Lord Chamberlain's Men, was built in 1576. James Burbage was the owner of this theater. He was also an actor as well. The theater allowed actors to set-up a temporary platform stage instead of renting wherever. The structure allowed the audience to surround the courtyard, in a cylinder-like way. In 1599, Shakespeare was one of six shareholders who signed the lease for the new site.

Quote #5: "In 1599, Burbage's theater was torn down and its timbers were used by Shakespeare and his company to build the Globe Theater." ("Anderson")

Commentary: Burbage's theater was torn down in 1599, but that did not stop Shakespeare. Even using timber's from Burbage's theater, Shakespeare and his company successfully their own theater- the Globe Theater. The Globe Theater is where the majority of Shakespeare's plays were written. The structure also closed in like Burbage's. In 1599, Shakespeare was one of six shareholders who signed the lease for the new site.


Quote #6: "Shakespeare wrote two long poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. Both are narrative poems—that is, they tell a story." ("Lander")

Commentary: Between 1592 to 1594, London authorities variously shut down the theaters because of repeated outbreaks of plague. Due to this (the income provided by acting and playwriting being cut), Shakespeare turned to poetry. Venus an Andonis, in 1593, became the first of Shakespeare’s poem to be published. The poem was a hit, being reprinted 15 times before Shakespeare's death. He had another success with his poem "The Rape of Lucrece", produced in 1594. Though not as popular as "Venus and Adonis", it still considered an amazing volume. When the theaters reopened in 1594, Shakespeare continued on with plays.


Shakespeare's masterpiece, "Romeo and Juliet".

Quote #7: "The publishers were assisted by two leading members of the King’s Men, John Heminge and Henry Condell, who were able to provide copies of the 18 plays that had not appeared before in print. Along with these 18 plays, the First Folio republished an additional 18 plays, making a total of 36." ("Lander")

Commentary: Shakespeare had a total of 38 plays throughout his time (or is what is seen as completed plays). His plays were very popular, such as Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra. Is it unknown how many and which one Shakespeare's entirely wrote/owns however. Most scholars accept the First Folio as Shakespeare's work, but it is up in the air. The First Folio, known as Shakespeare's canon were 36 out of Shakespeare's 38 plays. Shakespeare's canon is not set in stone however. "Pericles" and "The Two Noble Kinsmen", were not featured in the First Folio's. The two plays started to join Shakespeare's collection around the 1900's.

Late Life


Quote #8: "By 1612, when he returned to Stratford to live the life of a prosperous retired gentleman, Shakespeare had written thirty-seven plays." ("Anderson- William")

Commentary: While scholars believe Shakespeare wrote more plays, Shakespeare was credited with 37 plays at his retirement. Before his retirement though, many of the plays were seen as masterpieces, such as Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth.

Quote #9 : "His monument records the day of death as April 23, the generally accepted date of his birth." ("Lander")

Commentary: Shakespeare died at the age of fifty-two. The accepted death date of Shakespeare is Apr. 23, 1616. Shakespeare was buried under the stone floor in the chancel of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. Six weeks before Shakespeare's fateful death, he changed his will to fit his daughter's. Judith, new husband.


Quote #10: "Shakespeare's play are still produced all over the world." ("Anderson")

Commentary: Even though he may be dead, Shakespeare's legacy still lives on. One critic in the 1980's predicted that Shakespeare would be receiving $25,000 a week in royalties for his famous play "Othello" alone if he was still alive.

Quote #11: "Shakespeare, though he cannot be called an American poet, as he was not born here and never saw our continent, is yet a poet of the Americans."

Commentary: Even outside of Shakespeare's home, his legacy strives. Shakespeare is a very successful poet and playwright. The plays written by Shakespeare keep a connection between the current and the past. Many people today still love, listen, and admire Shakespeare and his works.

Works Cited

Beers, G. Kylene, et al. Holt Literature & Language Arts: Mastering the California Standards: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking. Austin, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 2003, pp. 778-80.

---. Holt Literature & Language Arts: Mastering the California Standards: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking. Austin, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 2003.

Bryant, William Cullen. “Shakespeare,” Prose Writings, 1884, volume 2, edited by Parke Godwin, pp. 305–06. Quoted as “Shakespeare” in Heims, Neil, ed. William Shakespeare, Bloom’s Classic Critical Views. New York: Chelsea House Publishing, 2010. Bloom’s Literature, Facts On File, Inc.

Lander, Jesse M. “Shakespeare, William.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.

“William Shakespeare.” Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2016): 1-4. History Reference Center. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.


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