Willam Sheakespear’s Life
William Shakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, a town in central England, on or near 23 April (we are not sure of the date, but we celebrate his birthday on the 23rd). His father, John Shakepear, made and sold gloves, and was an important person in Stratford. His mother, Mary Arden, came from quite a rich family. John and Mary had eight children, but three of them died young, so the young Shakespear grew up with four brothers and one sister.
Shakespeare went to the Grammar School in Stratford. He got quite a good education, but he left in his early teens, before finishing school. His father had problema with money at that time; perhaps he wanted to start work. So, Shakespear didn’t go to university.
In 1582, Shakespeare married Anne Hatthaway. He was 18 and she was 26. They soon had a daughter, Susanna, and in 1585 they had twins, a boy, Hamnet, and a girl, Judith. Hamnet, however, died when he was only 11.
We are not sure what Shakespear did between 1585 and 1592, but we know that he was already working in London as an actor and playwright in 1592. Some other playwrights didn’t like him because he wasn’t from a university, but Shakespear was soon very successful. In 1594 he became a member of a company of actors ‘Lord Chamberlain’s Men’, so called because their patron was the Lord Chamberlain, an important person at Queen Elizabeth’s court. This company became the most successful in London. It built the Globe Theatre, south of the River Thames, in 1599, and later changed its name to the King’s Men When James became King in 1603. Shakespeare wrote two plays a year for this company untill about 1608.
Many writes of this time were poor, but Shakespeare made a lot of money both from writhing and because he owned part of the theatre. He made at least £200 each year ( ten times as much as a schoolteacher), and in some years he even made £500. He bought land and houses in Stratford, includine one of the best houses called New Place, which he bought in 1597. His family, who didn’t move to London stayer there. Shakespeare became rich, but he didn’t buy a house for himself in London.
In his early years in London, Shakespeare wrote exciting historical dramas such as Richard 111 (about 1591) and romantic comedies such as The Taming of the Shrew (about 1593). From 1592 to 1594, however, the theatres in London had to close because of the plaude. In these years Shakespear wrote poetry, and began his sonnets. Between 1593 and 1603 he wrote 154 sonnets. More than one hundred of them describe a friendship-sometimes difficult-with a young man, and 28 of them are about a woman who the poet both loves and hates. Perhaps the man was Shakespear’s patron, the Earl of Southampton, but we don’t know who the woman was: she is only described as a ‘dark lady’.
When the theatres opened again, Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet ( about 1595). His plays in the next five years include A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Merchant of Venice.
But Shakespeare spear wrote his greatest plays after his company moved to the Globe Theatre in 1599. His plays in this period include Hamlet (about 1600), Othello (about 1603), King Lear (about 1605) and Macbeth ( about 1606).
It seems he moved back to Stratford in about 1608. His mother died that year, and the London theatres were closet again because of the plaghe. He only wrote one play a year now, or two. Theses last four plays are about family members coming together again after being apart. The Tempest (about 1611) was the 30th and the last play that he wrote on his own; after this he only wrote two other plays with other writers.
Shakespeare died in 1616, on the same day that we think he was born, 23rd April.
He is buried in Holy Trinità in Stratford. From what people wrote about Shakspear, it seems that he was honset, a good friend, and an amazing person to be with.