The Life and Works of William Shakespeare

His Life before being “The Bard”

  • Born in Stratford-upon-Avon on April 23rd, 1564. (Above)
  • Attended the Stratford Latin School where he learned Latin and the “classics.” (Above)
  • Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway (Below) on November 28, 1582 and they had three children: Susanna (1583); twins Judith and Hamnet (1585).
Anne Hathaway:
  • He later moved from Stratford to London to act. He doesn’t return for 20 years.
  • From 1578-82 (school to marriage) and 1585-92 (birth of children to image as great player), periods referred to as his “lost years.” No one knows about him during this time.
  • By 1592, Shakespeare was established as an influential playwright. A few plays were popular by this time.
  • In 1593, the Earl of Southampton sponsored Shakespeare and funded his work.
  • At this time, he wrote many of his sonnets.
  • He acted in the Lord Chamberlain’s Men Company, mostly at the Globe theater, and in front of Queen Elizabeth many times.
  • He continued his writing throughout this time, creating all of his plays and poems during the next 20 years.
  • He dies with great prestige on April 23, 1616.

His Greatest Accomplishments

  • Shakespeare wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets, all critically acclaimed, during his lifetime.
  • He received his own coat of arms because of his reputation in 1596.
  • Classes based on his writing are the only “universal” classes taught in university English programs around the country.
  • For nearly 500 years, he has been considered the greatest playwright of all.

Sources for his Plays

  • Shakespeare was a master of character and not of plot.
  • He borrowed stories from other sources and brought them to life with his own character creations.
  • Classic literature- Ancient Greek and Roman authors, like Homer and Ovid
  • Medieval literature- Chaucer particularly
  • Biblical texts- Old and New Testament
  • Historical accounts

His Types of Plays

  • History- chronicles the history of England, highlighting main events and glorifying Queen Elizabeth
  • Comedy- deals with earning a happy life: love (sex and marriage), relationships
  • Tragedy- looks at the unhappy half of life: death, war, disease, and the mental meltdown of men


Created with images by tonynetone - "William Shakespeare" • wwarby - "Shakespeare's Birthplace" • ell brown - "The Almshouses - Church Street, Stratford-upon-Avon" • Martin Pettitt - "Shakespeare's Globe Theatre" • david__jones - "And curst be he yt moves my bones" • Ben Sutherland - "Front cover of William Shakespeare's First Folio" • KJGarbutt - "Shakespeare" • bud ellison - from the street - "Rome" • Stifts- och landsbiblioteket i Skara - "Gottfried Chaucer" • CircaSassy - "A pictorial history of England (1854)" • Andrew Campbell Photography - "Herstmonceux Medieval Festival" • Arbron - "Shakespeare's Globe Theatre" • JustABoy - "The Globe Theatre(15)" • D-Stanley - "Shakespeare`s Globe Theatre" • MCAD Library - "Hamlet" • Marcus Meissner - "Shakespeares Globe Theater main stage"

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.