William Shakespeare's Life One of the most influential, world renowned poets, authors, and playwrights, William Shakespeare had a fairly interesting life. This presents itself through his early years, his way to fame, and even his later years.

William Shakespeare's childhood home (upper left corner) and William Shakespeare himself (far right) are pictured above.

William Shakespeare's childhood carved the path of his life. Not much is known of his youth, however what we do know is very influential. The text reads, "Shakespeare was born in the small market town of Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564, the third of eight children on April 23" (Lander 14). William was born in this small town to a large family. His development must have been largely impacted by this. The education among young boys during this time was also very important, especially to someone such as Shakespeare. This is obvious as Lander writes, "At the age of 7, William attended the Stratford School of Grammar where he studied Latin" (Lander 16). Latin was the foundation of Shakespearian language. His early understanding of such clearly affected his later works. His late teens years greatly shaped his life by the choices he made. For example, "At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway. They had later they had three children, two of which being twins" (Baker 2). Getting married at such an early age was not uncommon during their time. However, many thought this would conflict with his expected career path. After this point, it appears no one really knows much about his schooling. Here Anderson says, "As far as we know, he had no further formal education" (Anderson 3). This is odd, because most people nowadays are required to study not only language, but a number of other topics as well. This goes to say his childhood was pretty different and quite interesting.

Shakespeare's way to fame was not the easiest, but it sure was interesting and a large portion of his life. Baker states, "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." (Baker 3). This was the start of his career. At the time, he had no idea it would lead to something much bigger. He even created his own theater. This is confirmed when it states, "...Its timbers were used by Shakespeare and his company to build the Globe Theatre for which he wrote most of his plays." (Anderson 3). Shakespeare took a chance and built one of the most well-known theatres in the world, which obviously paid off. His most famous plays were, at one point, performed in this theatre and specifically written for it. As Shakespeare became more famous throughout the years, he started to get more and more publicity. This is evident as Baker remarks, "In 1592, in Greene's Groatsworth of Wit , the well-known poet, dramatist, and prose writer Robert Greene mentioned Shakespeare in a way implying that Shakespeare was at the time a force to be reckoned with on the London stage." (Baker 26). If such a celebrity of their time mentioned Shakespeare in such a generous manner, he must have been a magnificent actor. Something as little as this also must have boosted and contributed to the growth of his career greatly.

Though it may not seem like it, William Shakespeare accomplished a great deal within the short period of time between his later years and his passing. Anderson reports, "By 1612, when he returned to Stratford to live the life of a prosperous retired gentlemen, Shakespeare had written thirty-seven plays" (Anderson 6). Shakespeare's career was so successful he was able to retire young. His thirty-seven plays, most being well-known, are still performed all over the world today. Shakespeare’s career seemed to end as quickly as it had begun. This appears as the text reads, "Most suspect Shakespeare to have died on April 23, 1616, on his birth date." Though no one knows the exact date upon which Shakespeare died, people have said that he passed on his own birthday. How fitting, right? Such a peculiar, wonderful man died on the same day he was brought into this world. Even after his passing William Shakespeare lived on to be known with the rest of the legends of his time. It goes on to say, "According to Stratford legend, the playwrights Shakespeare, Drayton, and Ben Jonson had a merry meeting, and it seems, drank too hard, for Shakespeare died of a fever there contracted." After William Shakespeare died, he was to live on in the afterlife with his "equals" as contributors to literature. Though Shakespeare himself would never have dreamed to be thought of in such light, he was, which goes to say he was as esteemed as he was made out to be.

Above shows shrine to William Shakespeare in a museum (left), a statue of him (center), and even a sketch (right).

Works Cited

Anderson, Robert. “Shakespeare and His Theater.” 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.” 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.

Baker, William. “Shakespeare, William.” In Baker, William, and Kenneth Womack, eds. The Facts On File Companion to Shakespeare. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2012. Bloom’s Literature.

Lander, Jesse M. “Shakespeare, William.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.

“William Shakespeare.” Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2016): 1-4. History Reference Center. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.

Credits:

Created with images by WikiImages - "william shakespeare poet writer" • summonedbyfells - "SHAKESPEARE'S BIRTHPLACE MUSEUM" • steveczajka - "William Shakespeare" • Ben Sutherland - "Front cover of William Shakespeare's First Folio" • Martin Pettitt - "Stowe Park, Buckinghamshire" • edenpictures - "Shakespeare" • Stifts- och landsbiblioteket i Skara - "Shakespear"

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