William Shakespeare. The man.
Poet, Dramatist, Actor And More.
Regarded by millions as the greatest dramatist in the English language. For 400 years Shakespeare's plays, poets and sonnets have been heralded and performed around the world. His standard themes of love, hope, death and the trials of life, have endured when others have fallen by the wayside. Indeed the stories and structures in his work can still be applied today. He left us with 38 plays,154 sonnets and numerous poems and narratives.
Personal Records Are Minimal.
Although a writer by profession Shakespeare recorded little about himself or his personal life. What information we have about him comes from court records, certificates and official documents of the time. He was born in April of 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon, he was the third child and the first son of John and Mary Shakespeare. From his work we can see that he received a formal education and had a good understanding of the classics. It is thought that he was educated at the Kings New School in Stratford.
Marriage And Career.
At the relatively young age of 18 Shakepeare married Anne Hathaway, she was aged 26 and between1585 and 1592 they had three daughters Susanna and the twins Hamnet and Judith. He decided to move to London to further his career in the late 1580s leaving his family in Stratford, though he came home to Stratford as often as possible. He became popular and extremely successful with the ordinary theatregoer, as well as the Royal Court. Between 1592 and 1594 plague closed public buildings and theatres alike. Throughout this time Shakespeare wrote poetry, as well as 154 sonnets which have survived.
Wealth And Royal Patronage.
In 1594 the theatres were reopened, over the next 4 years Shakespeare wrote 5 history plays, 6 comedies and Romeo and Juliet, all of them being a great success. In 1599 the Globe Theatre was built on Bankside, just outside the restrictions of the City of London. The Theatre was built with a huge stage, this was to allow the performances of larger and more spectacular plays. The Globe opened with Henry V followed by Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night and the mighty Othello. James I, became king in 1603, increasing the royal patronage of the theatre. Due to this the company changed it's name to the King's Men Theatre. Shakespeare was a part owner of the the company and by now had become a wealthy man.
Back Home To Stratford.
In 1612 Shakespear returned home to Stratford and his family, by this time his family had grown and he had grandchildren. Here he led a full and contented life for another 4 years. He died at home on 23 April 1616. His ability to create characters, situations, tears and laughter remain with us today.