Thursday, July 9, 2015

Let's talk about: William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was possibly born on April 23, 1564. 
I say possibly because the actual date of his birth remains unknown but it is observed on the 23rd of April. This date is assumed based on his baptism date on the 26th of April of that year. This date appeals to many as it is recorded that he died on April 23, 1616. 
However, even this is up for debate. It is said that the date of his death is the 23rd of April only because Britain hadn't revised their calendar to be the same as the rest of Europe. It they had, his date of death would be May 3, 1616.

William was the son of John Shakespeare, an alderman and glover, and Mary Arden, the daughter of a wealthy farmer. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, the third child of eight and the oldest surviving son.

Not a great deal is known about William's life. He is reputed to have had a good education although no attendance records survived. Most biographers agree that Shakespeare was probably educated at the King's New School in Stratford. There he would have studied Latin works. 
He left school at around age 14-15.

When he was 18, he married the then 26 year old Anne Hathaway. 
It seems to have been a rushed marriage and Anne gave birth to their daughter, Susanna, six months later on the 26th of May, 1583.
William and Anne would also have twins almost two years later. A son, Hamnet, and a daughter, Judith. Hamnet died of unknown causes at the age of 11. 
 "Grief fills the room up of my absent child..."
After the twins were born, there is not much more written of him until he is mentioned as part of the London theatre scene in 1592. Many scholars refer to the years between 1585 and 1592 as Shakespeare's "lost years". 

In London, William Shakespeare made a career as an actor, poet, and playwright.
He was also the part-owner of a playing company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as The King's Men (after Queen Elizabeth's death). 
The success of the King's Men grew substantially and they were able to invest in the building of the Globe Theater, which opened in 1599. 

(my favorite Shakespeare quote as it reminds me very much of my 5 year old daughter!)

 He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". 
His total works consist of around 38 plays, 154 sonnets, 2 long narrative poems, and a few other verses. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. 
Many of his works are still considered some of the finest works in the English language. 

He produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613.
His early plays were mostly comedies and histories. Then he wrote mostly tragedies until around 1608 when he wrote mainly romances (tragicomedies) and collaborated with other playwrights.
He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613 at age 49, dying three years later. The cause of his death is unknown.
There are no living descendents of William Shakespeare. His family line ended in 1670 with the death of his granddaughter Elizabeth, who had no children.
"It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves."

 As a teenager I had to read a few of his plays for school but I also took it upon myself to read his complete works. However, I didn't make it to all of them yet. 
And it has been so long I am pretty sure I need to go back and read again!
I think that my favorite is probably Henry V or Much Ado about Nothing.

 *Have you read any of Shakespeare's plays?
*Which is your favorite?

1 comment:

The Kings said...

Very nice write-up on Shakespeare. I have enjoyed seeing many of his works at the Shakespearean Festival. He was an amazing writer. One of my favorite quotes is from "Hamlet" ... "To thine own self be true".