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Shakespeare Speech

"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears" That is the first line of Mark Antonys infamous
speech in the play Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare, and one of the most famous lines he ever
wrote. The exact date of Shakespeares birth is unknown, but it is commonly celebrated on April 23 rd, in
1564. William Shakespeare was the third child of eight kids, the oldest boy of John and Mary
Shakespeare. John held many titles like glove maker, and city council member, and Mary was the
daughter of a wealthy landowner. Although there are no official records of his education, it is very
probable that he went to the Kings New School in Stratford which was near his home. He married quite
young, at the age of 18, to one Anne Hathaway (not the actress). Scholars think the wedding was rushed
as only one set of public banns was announced instead of three, and they had their first child, a girl, 6
months later. Twins came along two years later, Hamnet and Judita, but unfortunately Hamnet died early,
and Shakespeare was left without an heir. The next seven years contain no clues into Shakespeares life,
affectionately called the Lost Years by scholars. By the next time anything is written about him, some
of his plays were already being performed in London theaters. The first mention of William as a
playwright was by his jealous rival Robert Greene in 1592 in Groatsworth of Wit:
"for there is an up-start Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tygers hart wrapt in a Players
hyde, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you: and beeing an absolute
Johannes fac totum (Jack of all trades), is in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrey."
Basically, Greene felt Shakespeare was trying too hard to be as scholarly as the other writers of his
generation. This is important because not many playwrights were popular in their own time; he was.
When the Black Plague hit in 1593 and 94, the theaters were closed, so Shakespeare occupied himself by
writing poetry. Some of the most popular were the two narrative poems Venus and Adonis and A Lovers
Complaint. These works usually featured blank verse composed in iambic pentameter;( Shakespeare's
Twelfth Night: If MUsic BE the FOOD of LOVE, play ON.) In 1594 he joined an acting troupe named

the Chamberlains men, which were the only players showing his works. They renamed themselves the
Kings men after King James I, which gave the group respectability, and propelled them to the top spot in
the London theater scene. 1599 saw him becoming the partial owner of the Globe Theater just outside of
London, and by partial owner, I mean he held 10% of its shares. He continued to write around 2 plays per
year, which made him quite wealthy. His 154 sonnets dropped at just right time, 1609, when sonneteering
was considered cool, and were written all throughout his career.
Almost none can boast the kind of influence Shakespeare left on the world of theater, literature, and the
arts in general. His plays, which even after translating are still very interesting, contained characters that
were way more intricate and difficult (like real people), and reflected his incredible understanding of the
human experience/nature. On top of that, the stories and situations encountered in his plays are still
relatable in the modern day. Incredibly, around 20,000 pieces of music have been linked somehow to
Shakespeares works. Of course, there is much discussion over whether or not Shakespeare actually wrote
all the plays, since he had a very basic education, and didnt come from nobility. Also, there are theories
of him being a homosexual since a majority of his sonnets are written to a young man. These could have
some validity, but are yet to be proven, so Shakespeare still stands as one of the greatest, if not the
greatest dramatist and poet.