The Life And Works Of Shakespeare William Shakespeare is the world’s most admired playwright and poet. He was born in April, 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, about 100 miles northwest of London. According to the records of Stratford’s Holy Trinity Church, he was baptized on April 26. As with most sixteenth century births, the actual day is not recorded but people are guessing that he was born on April 23. Shakespeare’s parents were John and Mary Shakespeare, who lived in Henley Street, Stratford.
John, the son of Richard Shakespeare, was a maker, worker and seller of leather goods like purses, belts and gloves and a dealer in agricultural commodities. He served in Stratford government successively as a member of the Council , constable , chamberlain , alderman and finally high bailiff which is the equivalent of town mayor. About 1577 John Shakespeare’s fortunes began to decline for unknown reasons. There are records of debts. William had seven siblings. He was the third child and first born son.
In the sixteenth century Stratford-upon-Avon was an important agricultural center and market town. The building in Henley street known today as the birthplace of William Shakespeare was at the time of his birth, two different buildings that John Shakespeare bought at two different times. William went to school at the Stratford Grammar School. He had to show up at six or seven A.M. depending on the season and stay there most of the day, six days a week. William studied many different authors and dramatists including Caesar, Cicero, Virgil, Horace, Livy, and Ovid.
Ovid was his favorite. Grammar school was the beginning of Shakespeare’s career. Almost everything he mastered he learned there. After grammar school, William went to the Warwickshire Countryside. There he played parts in plays and wrote poetry. The years 1594-1599 were momentous for Shakespeare.
He produced a steady stream of plays of the highest quality. He continued as a principal actor and manager in the Chamberlain’s men, blessed with a stable work environment in the theater. Finally in 1599, he became part owner in the most prestigious public playhouse in London, the Globe. His first works which were heavily influenced by the classical examples he had learned as a student were The Comedy of Errors and Titus Andronicus. He invented a new genre called the history play.
His early works in this genre were the three Henry VI plays, and Richard III. He got his idea for Venis and Adonis and Rape of Lucrece from his favorite author, Ovid. Over the years 1594-1599 the Chamberlain’s Men had become the most popular acting company in London, being invited to perform at court far more often than any other group. Shakespeare must have done a great deal of acting. He is listed by Ben Jonson in Jonson’s magnificent 1616 Folio of his Works as having acted as the chief comedian in Every Man In His Humour in 1598.
The Globe Theater burned down in 1613 and many of Shakespeare’s manuscripts were ruined. It was then rebuilt by a carpenter named Peter Rose. Shakespeare’s last work before he retired was The Temptest. Then he died in 1616 and was then buried in the Parish Church. His death was sudden and they don’t know what caused it but they think he could have lived much longer. Almost all his things went to his oldest daughter Susanne.
His younger daughter Judith got 300 pounds, and his wife got all the furniture. After he died Judith married John Quiney. He cheated on her and got another girl pregnant. That baby died. Judith and John had three children together.
One they named Shakespeare died as an infant. There other two, Richard and Thomas died at the ages of 21 and 19. Shakespeare was one of the greatest playwrights and poets ever. He was a big part in literature. He invented a new genre and made many plays that everybody loves. He was a great man.
On his grave it says: GOOD FRIEND FOR JESUS SAKE FOR BEAR TO DIG THE DUST ENCLOSED HEAR BLESSED BE YE MAN WHO SPARES THESE STONES AND CURSED BE HE WHO MOVES MY BONES.