William Shakespeare On April 26, 1564, John Shakespeares son, William, was
baptized at the Stratford Parish Church. No one knows for certain when his
birthday was. (Brown 22) It was thought that young Shakespeare began attending
school at the age 7, in Stratford. (Wadsworth 344) Before Shakespeare reached
the age of 13, his family endured hardships. Shakespeares formal schooling
ceased. At that time, William may have begun helping his father in the gloving
business. (Wright 22) There is historical warrant for such an approach.
Christian images, of course, pervade Shakespeares culture, throughout his
career he obviously thought in terms of them. If those images are themselves
frequently allegorical, and we should consider the extent to which the
allegories are incorporated into the living texture of Shakespeares
creations. (Kirch 18) At a young age Shakespeare may have viewed annual plays
and seen traveling artists. These performances possibly ignited a spark that
continues to burn. (Wright 20) William Shakespeare was an Englishman who wrote
poems and plays. According to many he was labeled as one of the greatest
dramatists the world has ever known and the finest poets who wrote in the
English language. Shakespeares work relied mostly on his instincts of nature.
His understanding of other people allowed him to fully grasp the quality he
wrote of. (Wadsworth 342) John Shakespeare married Mary Arden in 1557. Both the
Shakespeares and the Ardens were farmers, and sold their products to make
a living. (Brown 23) Shakespeare had two sisters. Joan died in 1562; Margaret
died at infancy. Then in 1566 Gilbert was born. In 1569 a second child named
Joan was born; in 1571 came Anne, who died when she was eight years old.
Richard was then born in 1574 followed by Edmund in 1580. (25) William
Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway at the age of 18. Anne was at least 8 years
her husbands senior. The marriage record dates November 27, 1582 in an
Episcopal register found in Worchester. (45-46) The custom in Stratford after
the eldest son married, was for the new couple to live in the house of the
grooms father. In all likelihood, Shakespeare obeyed the customary procedure.
(Wright 24) Shakespeare and his wife probably had a good and happy marriage. She
gave birth only 6 months after they were legally wed. (Wilson 43)
Shakespeares son named Hamnet was only 11 years old when he died. He also had
a daughter named Judith. Judith Shakespeare had 3 sons who died at young ages.
Shakespeares only bloodlines were the descendants of his (second) sister
Joan. (Brown 25-26) Between 1585 and 1592, there was no account of a man named
William Shakespeare. Typically referred to as the lost years. There were no
records of his life. Some scholars believe he was living in London serving as an
apprentice. Others believe he retreated and wrote under a fake name. (Wadsworth
345) At about age 20, some people thought young William stole a dear from a
wealthy man in order to poach. A crime not tolerated during that period. (Wright
6) Eight years before the death of Shakespeare he wrote 4 new plays. Some
scholars debate, which plays, was his last. Very little was known about him
before the age of 28. (Wilson 38) He continued to visit Stratford on occasion.
(Wadsworth 347) He bought a house in London where he gradually retired. On April
23, Shakespeare was laid to rest inside the Stratford Parish Church in 1616.
Shakespeare was a young 52 when he died. (Wadsworth 347) For nearly a century
after his death Shakespeare remained more a theme for criticism by the few than
a subject of adulation by the many. (Brown, 2) William Kent erected a stone
statue of William Shakespeare. The statue is located in the Poets Corner of
Westminster Abby. (Wright 8) Shakespeare may not have felt a calling to write
when he left Stratford, but he had a lot to learn in the big city of London.
(44-45) After Shakespeare went to London, he joined an acting group. He had no
experience. He was merely a performer. (43) William Shakespeare was an important
part of a troupe called the Lord Chamberlains Men. He eventually became an
honored senior member. (11) Writing plays soon became a demanding business.
Companies were always looking for new material. With few new plays, companies
began paying for the plays. Once a play was sold it became the property of the
company. (44-45) Shakespeare wrote 37 plays. The plays were separated into three
basic categories: comedy, tragedy, and history. (Wadsworth 342)