William Shakespeare Biography (1564-1616)

shakespeare“To be or not to be” that is one of the many great lines written by . Shakespeare is considered to be one of best playwrights of all time. He wrote an estimated 37 plays, including , , and . Despite having been written hundreds of years ago, Shakespeare’s work remains popular because of his engaging characters, interesting plots, and artful dialogue.

Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564. His exact birth date is a bit of mystery, like many aspects of Shakespeare’s life. While the exact date wasn’t recorded, it has been commonly accepted as April 23. His father was a glove maker and an important man in the town. Shakespeare attended school for a time and it is thought that some of his studies in classical poetry, plays, and history inspired his plays.

It is believed that Shakespeare left school around the age of fourteen, which was not uncommon at the time. He married Anne Hathaway in 1582 when he was eighteen years old. The next year they had a daughter named Susanna. The Shakespeare family grew again in 1585 with the birth of twins named Hamnet and Judith.

Nothing is known for certain about what Shakespeare did between 1585 and 1592. There are stories that he joined a theatrical company or that he worked as a schoolteacher. Whatever the case, Shakespeare had become known as a dramatist and an actor in London by 1592. Some of his early works include Titus Andronicus and The Two Gentleman of Verona.

An outbreak of a deadly disease called the plague closed the theaters in the early 1590s. Around this time, Shakespeare had his first work published in 1593, which was the narrative poem Venus and Adonis. Later Shakespeare would earn great praise for his sonnets, which are a type of poem that has three four-line sections with a pair of lines at the end, all following a special rhyming scheme.

The theaters reopened in 1594 and Shakespeare returned to the stage as part of a troupe called Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later the King’s Men). He stayed with this group as a dramatist, an actor, and a part-owner for many years. In 1599, the company built the Globe, a theater near London. Shakespeare wrote some of his greatest tragic and comedic works around this time. He created Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth as well as Twelfth Night and Measure for Measure here. Shakespeare’s works were so popular that even Queen Elizabeth I of England had them performed for her.

In his later years, Shakespeare returned home to Stratford-upon-Avon around 1610 to 1613. Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616. Since his death, there has been some speculation whether he really wrote all of the plays himself or they were written by a group of people. Some have even questioned whether he really existed at all. The mysteries surrounding Shakespeare may never be solved, but there is no arguing about the lasting impact of the plays and poems attributed to him.

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