Thesis: Shakespeare's lifetime had many significant moments through his early years, middle years, and later years.
Quote #1: "John Shakespeare was a respected man in the town and held several important positions in the local government. William Shakespeare’s mother was born Mary Arden. She was the daughter of a farmer but related to a family of considerable social standing in the county" (Lander).
Commentary: Upon reading of parts of his life in Stratford, William's family is similar to a modern middle class family. It is important to know where he stands in the social pyramid because it influences his education and path to a career. It also shows that Shakespeare would rise from mediocrity.
Quote #2: "William Shakespeare was born in the small market town of Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564, the third of eight children. The register of Holy Trinity, the parish church in Stratford, records his baptism on April 26. According to the custom at that time, infants were baptized about three days after their birth" (Lander).
Commentary: Shakespeare was born during the Elizabethan era (1558-1603), named after one of the most golden ages in England. His career would flourish and ultimately add to the era's great achievements.
Quote #3: "Knowledge of Latin was necessary for a career in medicine, law, or the church. In addition, the ability to read Latin was considered a sign of an educated person. Young Shakespeare may have read such outstanding ancient Roman authors as Cicero, Ovid, Plautus, Seneca, Terence, and Virgil" (Lander).
Commentary: It would seem that Shakespeare went through teaching under teachers of high caliber learning Latin grammar to pursue a high merit occupation. However his knowledge of Latin wouldn’t contribute to either of those, but to his passion for writing playwrights possibly inspire by the outstanding Roman authors he wrote.
Quote #4: "In 1576, outside the city walls of London, an actor-manager named James Burbage built the first permanent theater in England. He called it the Theatre" (Anderson 778).
Commentary: This was a significant moment during Shakespeare's life because it reflected early English theater and how it differed from Shakespeare's. It also would later be torn down to build the Globe Theatre in which most of Shakespeare's plays were written.
Quote #5: "At the age of eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, who was eight years older than he was. Sometime after the birth of their second and third children (twins), Shakespeare moved to London, apparently leaving his family in Stratford" (Anderson 777).
Commentary: Anne Hathaway was eight years older than Shakespeare, which reveals an interesting and different marriage was in this time period. It could have generated the use of the unusual marriage of Romeo and Juliet, as fathers of their daughters began searching for their daughter's spouse at their first menstrual cycle when they are ready to have children, which for Juliet was the age of fourteen.
Quote #6: "One of the most significant developments of the Elizabethan Renaissance was the proliferation of the sonnet, a fourteen-line poem centered on a single theme such as love or friendship. The period's most prolific sonnet writer was the famous playwright, William Shakespeare, who composed more than 50 sonnets" (Caffrey 3).
Commentary: This tells us that Shakespeare was a major figure during the Elizabethan Renaissance. His most famous works thrived during this time period and it would lead up to the creation of the first English theater.
Quote #7: "We know that several years later, by 1592, Shakespeare had already become an actor and a playwright. By 1594, he was a charter member of the theatrical company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, which was later to become the King's Men" (Anderson).
Commentary: By joining this company, Shakespeare would dedicate his life to it. Shakespeare would then receive the reputation as London's most popular playwright, writing an average of two plays a year for his company.
Quote #8: "In 1596 the application for a coat of arms that Shakespeare had filed in his father’s name was approved, and in the next year he moved his family to New Place, one of the largest houses in town...Shakespeare’s son Hamnet died in August 1596, at the age of eleven" (Gaines).
Commentary: This quote tells us that although Shakespeare was deemed one of the greatest English playwrights in the Elizabethan era, his life wasn't always successful. During his time period, sanitation and medicine was underdeveloped, which made it even more difficult to lose a child without any knowledge of preventing it. Shakespeare most likely did not think lightly of his son's death and was in a state of depression and mourning.
Quote #9: "Shakespeare's London had grown from 120,000 inhabitants in 1550 to 200,000 by 1600. By 1650, London contained 375,000 people. This exceptional population growth is remarkable considering London’s high mortality rate" (Lander).
Commentary: This is significant because it reflects Shakespeare's impact on the rest of the region. London was crowded and lacked sanitation but as a result it created a bustling and lively city, even attracting artists, teachers, students, and writers seeking advancement.
Quote #10: "By 1612, Shakespeare had become England’s most successful playwright" (Lander).
Commentary: This is significant because it is evidence that Shakespeare's works would still continue to impact life to this day. Many of his words and phrases from his plays and poems have diffused into our modern language.
Anderson, Robert. “Shakespeare and His Theater: A Perfect Match.” Holt Literature & Language Arts: Mastering the California Standards: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, by G. Kylene Beers et al., Austin, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 2003, pp. 778-80.
---. “William Shakespeare’s Life: A Genius from Stratford.” Holt Literature & Language Arts: Mastering the California Standards: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, by G. Kylene Beers et al., Austin, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 2003, pp. 776-77.
Caffrey, Cait. “Elizabethan Era.” Salem Press Encyclopedia (2016): Topic Overviews 612. Web. 2 Dec. 2016
Gaines, Barry. “Biography Of William Shakespeare.” Critical Insights: King Lear (2011): 1824. Literary Reference Center. Web. 7 Dec. 2016.
Lander, Jesse M. “Shakespeare, William.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.