William Shakespeare Essay

784 words - 3 pages

The Life of William Shakespeare (1564-1616)Within the class system of Elizabethan England, William Shakespeare did not seem destined for greatness. He was not born into a family of nobility or significant wealth. He did not continue his formal education at university, nor did he come under the mentorship of a senior artist, nor did he marry into wealth or prestige. His talent as an actor seems to have been modest, since he is not known for starring roles. His success as a playwright depended in part upon royal patronage. Yet in spite of these limitations, Shakespeare is now the most performed and read playwright in the world.Born to John Shakespeare, a glovemaker and tradesman, and Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent farmer, William Shakespeare was baptized on April 26, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon. At that time, infants were baptized three days after their birth, thus scholars believe that Shakespeare was born on April 23, the same day on which he died at age 52. As the third of eight children, young William grew up in this small town 100 miles northwest of London, far from the cultural and courtly center of England.Shakespeare attended the local grammar school, King's New School, where the curriculum would have stressed a classical education of Greek mythology, Roman comedy, ancient history, rhetoric, grammar, Latin, and possibly Greek. Throughout his childhood, Shakespeare's father struggled with serious financial debt. Therefore, unlike his fellow playwright Christopher Marlowe, he did not attend university. Rather, in 1582 at age 18, he married Anne Hathaway, a woman eight years his senior and three months pregnant. Their first child, Susanna, was born in 1583, and twins, Hamnet and Judith, came in 1585. In the seven years following their birth, the historical record concerning Shakespeare is incomplete, contradictory, and unreliable; scholars refer to this period as his "lost years."In a 1592 pamphlet by Robert Greene, Shakespeare reappears as an "upstart crow" flapping his poetic wings in London. Evidently, it did not take him long to land on the stage. Between 1590 and 1592, Shakespeare's Henry VI series, Richard III, andThe Comedy of Errors were performed. When the theaters were closed in 1593 because of the plague, the playwright wrote two narrative poems, Venus and Adonisand The Rape of Lucrece, and...

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