William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was a great English playwright, dramatist and poet who

lived during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Shakespeare

is considered to be the greatest playwright of all time. No other writer's

plays have been produced or read as much as his.

Shakespeare was born to a middle class family. His father, John, was

a Stratford businessman. He was a glove maker who owned a leather shop. John

Shakespeare was a well known and respected man in the town. He held several

important local governmental positions. William Shakespeare's mother was Mary

Arden. Though she was the daughter of a local farmer, she was related to a

family of considerable wealth and social standing. Mary Arden and John

Shakespeare were married in 1557.

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford in 1564. He was one of

eight children. The Shakespeare's were well respected prominent people. When

William Shakespeare was about seven years old, he probably began attending

the Stratford Grammar School with other boys of is social class. Student went

to school year round attending school for nine hours a day. The teachers were

strict disciplinarians.

Though Shakespeare spent long hours at school, his boyhood was

probably fascinating. Stratford was a nice town and during holidays, it was

known to put on pageants and many popular shows. It also held several large

fairs during the year. Stratford was an exciting place to live. Stratford

also had fields and woods surrounding it giving William the opportunity to

hunt and trap small game. The River Avon, which ran through the town, allowed

him to fish also. Shakespeare's poems and plays show his love of nature and

rural life, which reflects his childhood.

On November 28, 1582, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway of the neighboring

village of Shottery. She was twenty-six, and he was only eighteen at the

time. They had three children. Susana was their first and then they had

twins, Hamnet and Judith. Hamnet, Shakespeare's son, died in 1595. In 1607,

his daughter Susana got married. Shakespeare's other daughter, Judith, got

married in 1616.

In London, Shakespeare's career took off. It is believed that he may

have become well known in London theatrical life by 1592. By that time, he

had joined one of the city's repertory theater companies. These companies

were made up of a permanent cast of actors who presented different plays week

after week. The companies were commercial organizations that depended on

admission from their audience. Scholars know that Shakespeare belonged to one

of the most popular acting companies in London called The Lord Chamberlain's

Men. Shakespeare was a leading member of the group from 1594 for the rest of

his career. By 1594, at least six of Shakespeare's plays had been produced.

During Shakespeare's life, there were two monarchs who who ruled

England. They were Henry the eighth and Elizabeth the first. Both were

impressed with Shakespeare which made his name known. There is evidence that

he was a member of a traveling theater group, and a schoolmaster. In 1594, he

became an actor and playwright for Lord Chamberlain's Men. In 1599, he became

a part owner of the Blackfriars Theater as of 1609. Shakespeare retired to

Stratford in 1613 where he wrote many of his excellent plays.

There are many reasons as to why William Shakespeare is famous. He is

generally considered to be both the greatest dramatist the world has ever

known as well as the finest poet who has written in the English language.

Many reasons can be giving for Shakespeare's enormous appeal. His fame

basically is from his great understanding of human nature. He was able to

find universal human qualities and put them in a dramatic situation creating

characters that

are timeless. Yet he had the ability to create characters that are highly

individual human beings. Their struggles in life are universal. Sometimes

they are successful and sometimes their lives are full of pain, suffering,

and, failure.

In addition to his understanding and realistic view of human nature,

Shakespeare had a vast knowledge of a variety of subjects. These subjects

include music, law, Bible, stage, art, politics, history, hunting, and

sports. Shakespeare had a tremendous influence on culture and literature

throughout the world. He contributed greatly to the development of the

English language. Many words and phrases from Shakespeare's plays and poems

have become part or our speech. Shakespeare's plays and poems have become a

required part or education In the