The Life Of A Great Playwright And

Poet Essay, Research Paper In his world he was know throughout the land as a very talented writer and actor. He often performed for Queen Elizabeth and many of her royal court. Back then he did not know that his fame would extend farther than his home country. Levi Fox states:

Poet Essay, Research Paper

In his world he was know throughout the land as a very talented writer and actor. He often performed for Queen Elizabeth and many of her royal court. Back then he did not know that his fame would extend farther than his home country. Levi Fox states:

There is no other writer, poet, dramatist, scholar, artist, or man of the theater who enjoys such universal veneration and popularity. Admiration of Shakespeare unites all peoples, irrespective of language, politics, or religion. There is not a single civilized nation that does not read, translate, study, perform, and enjoy the plays of Shakespeare (Fox 7).

William Shakespeare’s father came to Stratford-upon-Avon as a yeoman farmer from the nearby town of Snitterfield. Once he and his wife, Mary, were settled in Stratford, he set up shop as a craftsman and merchant. On October 3, 1561, he was given one of the two jobs as chamberlain, which dealt with the town’s property and finance (Honan 8).

There they began their family with the birth of their first child Joan who died shortly after her birth. Their second child, Margaret, who was born on November 30, 1562, also perished about four months after her birth. Then along came their third child, and first son, William. William was thought to be born on April 23, 1564. This is the accepted date of his birth, because in this time period they did not keep records of birth dates. However, they did keep records of the baby’s baptism, and this normally happened three days after the birth of the child (Mr. Shakespeare and the Internet).

As we can all tell, William had some sort of education, but what kind and to what extent is still in question today. In the town of Stratford-upon-Avon there was a school, named The King’s School, built around the time of William’s birth. By the time he was ready for schooling, his family was high enough in the social class to send him. In conclusion to this it is thought that he attended this facility to better his education, but there have never been records found stating that William was ever a pupil at this specific school house (Mr. Shakespeare and the Internet).

In November of 1582, the Shakespeares began to notice their son William’s relationship with Anne Hathaway. She was the eldest daughter of Richard Hathaway. On the day of November 28, 1582, William and Anne were married. The ceremony was performed by Bishop Worcester.(Mr. Shakespeare and the Internet) At the time of their marriage Anne, age twenty-six, was pregnant with eighteen-year-old William’s child (Honan 73).

Their first child was born on May 23, 1583. It was a girl whom they named Susanna. The next pregnancy was a great blessing, because instead of one child the Shakespeares bore twins. The twins, Hamnet and Judith, were born in the year 1585. Unfortunately, Hamnet was a sickly little boy and perished a couple of years afterward (Mr. Shakespeare and the Internet).

After the twins were born, there is no real record of what Shakespeare did or where he was until a complaint was filed against him in 1592. “The most commonly told story about Shakespeare leaving Stratford has it that he had to leave to escape prosecution for poaching deer on the lands of Sir Thomas Lucy, and that later he revenged himself on Lucy in The Merry Wives of Windsor who he portrayed as Justice Shallow.”(Mr. Shakespeare and the Internet)

In 1592 William participated in Robert Greene’s Groats-worth of Witte. This was said to be Shakespeare’s break into theater, and because of it Greene grew jealous of William’s popularity. A few reasons Greene became jealous are William became well known among the London theaters, he became known as a Jack-of-all-trades, and he was a well known poet (Mr. Shakespeare and the Internet).

From these great accomplishments his fame grew. This opened him to opportunities that he had never been offered before. From 1594 to 1599 William traveled and performed with The Queen’s Men, Pembroke’s Men, and Lord Strange’s Men. These were all highly respected acting companies in London, but due to the plague running its course through most of this time period, the time he spent with each company was brief (Mr. Shakespeare and the Internet).

During his time period Shakespeare wrote a piece by the name of Romeo and Juliet (Mr. Shakespeare and the Internet). This story of two teenage lovers in the middle of a civil war between their families is still a popular script for movies, plays, songs, and literature. The themes presented in this piece are so universal that even in today’s society we still understand many of there concepts. That is often why Shakespeare’s works are still read today.

After touring with companies Shakespeare decided to settle down and open his own theater. In 1599, he opened the Globe Theater. This is where he performed most of his early works, such as Henry VI, Richard III, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and The Taming of the Shrew. He performed these plays with a acting company named Chamberlain’s Men, and this is the company that helped his plays become famous (Mr Shakespeare and the Internet).

In 1603, Queen Elizabeth I died and King James VI of Scotland became the King of England. Because of the great popularity that graced the Chamberlain’s Men, King James gave them royal patronage, and they were dubbed the King’s Men (Mr. Shakespeare and the Internet).

Shakespeare’s last three plays were written in collaboration with John Fletcher between 1611 and 1616. Those works were Henry VIII, Two Nobles Kinsmen, and the now lost Cardenio. No one knows exactly how Cardenio was lost, but there is proof that is was published by an old English publisher (Mr. Shakespeare and the Internet).

Before his death he called for his attorney to change his last will and testament. His will contained the following:

1. He left ?100 to his daughter Judith for a marriage portion and another ?50 if she renounce any claim in the Chapel Lane cottage near New Place previously purchased by Shakespeare. He left another ?150 to Judith if she lived another three years, but forbade her husband any claim to it unless he settled on her lands worth the ?150. If Judith failed to live another three years, the ?150 was to have gone to Shakespeare’s granddaughter Elizabeth Hall.

2. He left ?30 to his sister Joan Hart, and permitted her to stay on for a nominal rent in the Western of the two houses on Henley Street, which Shakespeare himself inherited from his father in 1601. He left each of Joan’s three sons ?5.

3. He left all his plate, except a silver bowl left to Judith, to his granddaughter Elizabeth.

4. He left ?10 to the poor of Stratford, a large amount considering similar bequeaths of the time.

5. He left his sword and various small bequests to local friends, including money to buy memorial rings. His lifelong friend Hamnet Sadler is mentioned in this connection.

6. He singles out “my fellows John Hemynges Richard Burbage & Henry Cundell,” leaving them 26s8d to “buy them Ringes.” Heminges and Condell were, seven years later, to become the editors of the First Folio.

7. He does not mention his wife Anne (though it is commonly pointed out that it would have been her right through English common law to one-third of his estate as well as residence for life at New Place), except to leave her his “second best bed.”

All the Rest of my goods Chattels Leases plate Jewels & household stuff whatsoever after my debts and Legacies paid & my funeral expenses discarded” he left to his son-in-law John Hall and his daughter Susanna.

William’s son-in-law, Dr. John Hall, oversaw his final days and treatment. The illness that took his life is still unknown to this day. He died on April 23, 1616, and was later buried on April 25 in the Holy Trinity Church graveyard in Stratford-upon-Avon (Mr. Shakespeare and the Internet).


Honan, Park. Shakespeare: A Life. New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 1998

Marder, Louis. His Exits and His Entrances: The Story of Skakespeare’s Reputation: New York: J.B. Lipponcott Company, 1963

Fox, Levi. The Shakespeare Handbook. United States: G.K. Hall and Company, 1987

Bloom, Harold. Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. New York: Penguin Putnam Inc., 1998

Mr. Shakespeare and the Internet

Visited: 10/17/99

Posted: 10/03/99

The Shakespeare Mysteries

Visited: 10/19/99

Posted: Jan. 8, 1999