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Shakespeare's Life

Shakespeare's Life

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Published by mslenihan
Life of Shakespeare
Life of Shakespeare

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Published by: mslenihan on Nov 21, 2012
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03/17/2014

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Shakespeare Introduction
1
 William Shagsbere. Shaxpere. Shackerpere. Scheackespyrr?
 
Shakespeare Introduction
2
 William Shakespeares Life
We assume that William Shakespeare was born
April 23, 1564
, but it is not an exact date. Only thedate of his baptism is recorded (April 26) andtraditionally, the baptism took place three days after birth.
 
Shakespeare died
April 23, 1616
at the age of 52 in Stratford-Upon-Avon.Shakespeare’s parents, John and Mary, were well todo. His father was a
high bailiff 
(equivalent to a town mayor) and his mother hadeight children. However, the prosperous times did not continue. John, Shakespeare’sfather, began to accumulate debt.Shakespeare most likely went to grammar school (which was a school that taughtyoung boys Latin, Greek, and important pieces of fiction. It was harder than highschool, but easier than university) because of his father’s status in the community buthe did not attend college. Shakespeare’s
contemporary critics
were scornful of hislack of education and did not consider him in the same league as other writers like
Ben Johnson
and
John Milton
.Shakespeare married
Anne Hathaway
in 1582 when he was 18 years old and shewas 26. Because Shakespeare was still a minor, he had to get his father’s permissionto get married. The rush to the altar became obvious when, six months after thewedding, their first child
Susanna
was christened on May 26, 1583. Two years later  Anne gave birth to twins,
Hamnet and Judith
(Hamnet died at aged eleven of unknown causes. Judith went on to marry, have children and died at age seventy-seven).From about 1583 to 1592 there are very few records of what Shakespeare did, theseare called the
Lost Years
. There is much speculation about what might havehappened in this gap: that Shakespeare was chased out of Stratford because he
poached
deer, he became a moneylender, a sailor, a soldier, a gardener, acoachman, or a printer. One thing is certain: by 1592 Shakespeare was no longer 
 
Shakespeare Introduction
3
living in Stratford-Upon-Avon with his wife and children; he was living in London,writing plays and poetry. A journey from London to Stratford would take four days onfoot or two days on horseback.By 1592, Shakespeare resurfaces: there is documentation that Shakespeare waswell established in the theatre community. A contemporary writer accusesShakespeare of being
“an upstart crow”
. This means that Shakespeare hadenough credibility to ruffle the feathers of other, well-established
playwrights
inLondon. Although Shakespeare might have thought his fortunes were on the rise in 1592, hecould not control the
bubonic plague (the “Black Death”)
. The disease closed all of the theatres in January 1593 and they remained closed until the spring of 1594.During this time, Shakespeare wrote poetry and sonnets to keep himself fed.From 1594, when the theatres re-opened, until 1599 are considered the high pointsin Shakespeare’s life. They are years of increased production, both in writing and inperforming (and he did perform his own plays). Shakespeare continued his work as aprinciple actor and manager of an acting company called
the Lord Chamberlain’sMen
and so was guaranteed a steady income. In 1599, Shakespeare and partnersbought the
Globe Theatre
in London, which became one of the most importanttheatres in history.In 1597, Shakespeare bought a newhouse in Stratford, aptly named NewPlace. This house was the secondbiggest house in Stratford, which showedto all those around him just howsuccessful he had become.In 1603, after 
Elizabeth I
died,
James VIof Scotland
became
James I of England
. Shakespeare’s acting company, the LordChamberlain’s Men, became
the King’s Men
and received royal patronage. Thismeant that Shakespeare now received a
pension
from King James to perform infront of the court.
 
Consequently, Shakespeare was able to retire from acting andplaywriting a rich man.
 

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