Biography of Ben Jonson
Born in London, England around June 11, 1572, Ben Jonson would learn the true meaning of tragedy at a tender young age (The Life of Ben Jonson). Jonson’s father was Protestant and sentenced to prison and deprived of his estate during the reign of Mary Tudor, who was Catholic. With only a month left till Ben Jonson’s birth his Mother was left a penniless widow when his father suddenly past away. Seeking financial stability, Jonson’s Mother hastily married a bricklayer shortly following Ben’s birth (Ben Jonson).
Ben Jonson attended school at the Westminster School in London where the school’s Master William Camden paid for his education. Following completion of his education, Jonson opted to practice his stepfathers trade of brick laying rather than attending a University for further education (Poetry: Ben Jonson). Growing very unhappy with the trade he had chosen, Jonson joined the Army where he served in Flanders.
Jonson made the decision to return to England in 1592 where he met his soon to be wife, Anne Lewis. The two were united in marriage just a few years later on November 14, 1594. Jonson returned to the trade of bricklaying to support his family, but began writing poetry on the side. In 1596 his wife, Anne, gave birth to their only son whom Johnson referred to as his “best piece of poetry”(Ben Jonson). Eventually growing tired of bricklaying again; Jonson gained employment as an actor and playwright with the London theatrical company of Phillip Henslowe (The Life of Ben Jonson). Following his employment, Johnson was imprisoned by Elizabeth for his play, The Isle of Dogs because the authorities believed it offensive (The Life of Ben Jonson).
After his imprisonment, Ben Jonson emerged from the crowds of unrecognized playwrights with his play Every Man in His Humor. This being Jonson’s first popular work, he dedicated it to his inspiration, teacher, and friend Master William Camden. Following Jonson’s success, he once again found himself in trouble with the law.
During a duel in the fields at Shoreditch, Johnson mistakenly killed fellow actor Gabriel Spencer. Jonson was tried for murder at Old Baily, where he narrowly escaped by sent to the gallows by pleading the benefit of clergy. Forfeiting all of his possessions and receiving the brand of felon on his thumb, Jonson was released (The Life of Ben Jonson). It was during these subsequent imprisonment’s that Jonson converted his beliefs to Roman Catholicism (The Life of Ben Jonson).
Following Jonson’s release was the first performance of his new play, Every Man Out if his Humor causing reason for grand celebration. However, his happiness was cut short in 1603 when his son at the tender age of seven was struck down with the plague. Devastated by his son’s death, Jonson began to live the bohemian life of the city, drinking often and engaging in very detrimental behavior (Ben Jonson).
Desiring to raise himself up from the bottom, Jonson received an...