Shakespeare's Early Life by Julian Cabuguas Period 6

Above: A cotton similar to Shakespeare's

Thesis: William Shakespeare's life in Stratford was interesting because of his early life, his marriage, and his move to London.

Above: William Shakespeare

I. Early Life

Quote #1:

"What we know about William Shakespeare's personal life comes mostly from church and legal documents- a baptismal registration, a marriage license, and records of real estate transactions" (Anderson 776).


This quote shows how little is known about Shakespeare's life, and how most of the information known is from legal documents.

Although there is little-known information about William Shakespeare, the minuscule material acquired about him is interesting and inspirational in every single way.


"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" (Lander).


Shakespeare was born in a small town called Stratford, in what is believed to be April 26, 1564.

This shows how William Shakespeare did not need to live in a big city or to have a famous family to become a world-renowned playwright.

Quote #3:

"William most likely learned to read and write either at home or in a "petty" (elementary) school. Around the age of seven he probably enrolled at King's New School in Stratford, where students were required to follow a set routine. Latin study began at 6:00 or 7:00 A. M. and continued until 5:00 P. M. , with short breaks for eating and recreation. Strict discipline was maintained, often with corporal, or physical, punishment" (Carnagie).


William learned how to read and write either at home or in elementary school. By around seven, he was possibly enrolled at King's New School, which had very strict discipline.

The fascinating thing from this excerpt is the fact that the information provided from this database is not even completely sure whether or not the information they have is 100% reliable. This can be seen with the vocabulary they use. For example, they used the words and phrases most likely and probably. Also, it's very intriguing to hear that school lasted about 2 and a half hours longer than a normal high school day.

Quote #4:

"The Shakespeares were a family of considerable local prominence. In 1565, John Shakespeare became an alderman. Three years later, he was elected bailiff (mayor), the highest civic honor that a Stratford resident could receive. Later, he held several other civic posts. But toward the end of his life, John Shakespeare had financial problems" (Lander).


The Shakespeare family was pretty famous in their own little town of Stratford, one reason being William Shakespeare's father was an alderman and later mayor. He also held other civic posts, but John Shakespeare had financial struggles nearing the end of his life.

This is also significant because when people think of Shakespeare, they do not think of his father, John Shakespeare. The Shakespeare family was well-known in Stratford mostly because of John Shakespeare.

Above: Romeo and Juliet, one of Shakespeare's famous plays.

II. Marriage

Quote #5

"On Nov. 27, 1582, Shakespeare received a license to marry Anne Hathaway, the daughter of a local farmer. The two families knew each other, but the details of the relationship between William and Anne have been a source of speculation" (Lander).


According to his marriage license, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the daughter of a farmer, although there is not much other information about their relationship

This is another reason Shakespeare's life was interesting, all of the missing information on his personal life. There could be many relationship problems and information not heard to the public yet.

Quote #6:

"At the age of 18, William was young to marry, while Anne at 26 was of normal marrying age. The marriage appears to have been hurried, and the birth of their first child, Susanna, in May 1583 came only six months after marriage. Some scholars have suggested that William may have been forced to marry Anne because she was pregnant" (Lander).


Shakespeare was 18 and Anne was 26 when they were married, which makes their marriage seem kind of rushed with the birth of their first child just six months after marriage. Scholars believe Shakespeare was forced to marry Anne because of their first child.

Another interesting thing about their marriage is their age gap, and how Shakespeare is the younger person in the relationship. This is ironic because in Romeo and Juliet, both of Juliet's possible love interests were far older than her. It is also interesting how fast they married, and how there is speculation Shakespeare was forced to marry Anne because she was already pregnant.

Quote #7:

"As was then customary, the young couple probably lived in his parents’ home, which must have seemed increasingly crowded" (Branam).


William and Anne lived in the same house as their parents, which was starting to get more crowded.

The house is probably really overcrowded during this time because William had many siblings, their family could not afford a bigger house at this time, and the fact that William and Anne had 3 kids during this time.

Pictured above: a bust of Shakespeare

III. Moving to London

Quote #8:

"...this passage indicates that Shakespeare was in 1592 an actor who also wrote plays. He was successful enough to provoke the scorn and jealousy of competitors who considered themselves socially and culturally superior" (Lander).


Shakespeare was already a successful enough actor and playwright by 1592 to get envied competitors who though they were way superior.

This means if Shakespeare was already a renowned actor/play writer a little before 1592 and there is speculation he moved to London through 1592-1594, Shakespeare must have headed to London because of his art-related endeavors. Although this is just an inference because there is not much information on Shakespeare's move to London.

Quote #9:

"His actions during the seven-year interim have been a matter of much curious speculation, including unproved stories of deer poaching, soldiering, and teaching. It may have taken him those seven years simply to break into and advance in the London theater" (Branam).


The first seven years Shakespeare worked in London is still in speculation to this day, including unproven stories of his teaching, soldering, and even deer poaching.

The fact that they do not know for sure what Shakespeare was doing for a full seven years is very intriguing. What is even more interesting is that there is speculation Shakespeare was a deer poacher. Just imagining William Shakespeare, a world-renowned playwright, deer poaching is very thought-provoking.

Quote #10:

"Shakespeare was venturesome and able, and had good reasons to travel his confining family circumstances, tinged with just enough disgrace to qualify him to join the disreputable players. The theater was his escape to freedom; he therefore had strong motivation to succeed" (Branam).


Shakespeare traveled so he could get away from his problems, and he also needed to succeed in theater so he can help his family's financial struggles.

This was the most compelling piece personally, one being his good reason to travel to London and also because this shows Shakespeare had a strong motivation to succeed in playwright. He did not just do theater as a pastime, he did it to help out his family who is overcrowded in one house. The reason why writing William Shakespeare's early life was so engaging was because of how much is known for sure and how much of it is just inferred. Shakespeare's early life is really a mystery from this day.

Works Cited

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.

Branam, Harold. “William Shakespeare.” Salem Press Biographical Encyclopedia (2016): Topic Overviews 6-12. Web. 8 Dec. 2016.

Lander, Jesse M. “Shakespeare, William.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.

Shakespeare, William.“ Renaissance and Reformation Reference Library, edited by Julie L. Carnagie, et al., vol. 4: Vol. 2: Biographies, UXL, 2002, pp. 335-346. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 8 Dec. 2016.


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