Famous English poet, playwright and actor William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564. His birthday is generally celebrated on 23rd April. It is said that he bid adieu to the world in 1616.
Shakespeare was a renowned writer during the English renaissance or the early modern period. He was prominent during the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages of British theater. Shakespeare’s plays and poems are his most enduring legacy.
There are records regarding Shakespeare’s early life and the lives of his family members. John Shakespeare and Mary Arden had 8 children. Their daughters died as infants, making William their eldest child. John Shakespeare who was a glove-maker was a known figure in the town of Stratford. It is believed that he sent his children to the local grammar school.
Until he turned eighteen, it is said that William Shakespeare lived with his family in their house on Henley Street. Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway when she was twenty-six. They had three children. Their first daughter was named Susanna. Twins Hamnet and Judith were born to the couple later on. Sadly, Hamnet died when he was just 11 years old.
Life in London
Shakespeare’s career as a writer flourished in London. His twins were baptized in 1585. He became popular in London by 1592. The intervening years are considered a mystery. These years are referred to as ‘The Lost Years’.
Shakespeare’s first printed works were published during his stay in London. His two long poems ‘Venus and Adonis’ and ‘The Rape of Lucrece’ were published in the years 1593 and 1594 respectively. He was also the founder of the company of actors called ‘The Lord Chamberlain’s Men’. He was a regular dramatist for 20 years and produced at least two plays a year for almost twenty years.
Shakespeare was closely associated with the company throughout his life. From 1603, the company came to be known as the King’s men under the patronage of King James. During his stint at the company, Shakespeare wrote his most famous tragedies such as ‘King Lear’ and ‘Macbeth’, and also his great romances including ‘The Winter’s Tale’ and ‘The Tempest’.
Shakespeare’s broad spectrum of works include 38 plays, 2 narrative poems, 154 sonnets, and a number of other poems. Original manuscripts of Shakespeare’s plays do not exist anymore. Half of the total number of plays written by Shakespeare were published by a group of actors from his company post his death. The ‘First Folio’ contained 36 plays written by the legendary author.
Shakespeare is famous across the globe. His plays have several adaptations across multiple genres and cultures. William Shakespeare’s plays have had an everlasting presence on stage and film. ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare include all his plays, sonnets, and other poems. He is definitely one of the most important literary figures of the English language.
His success made Shakespeare considerably wealthy. In 1597, he purchased a large house at Stratford-upon-Avon. Shakespeare always maintained close links with his native town.
Archaeological evidence suggests that Shakespeare divided his time between Stratford and London. After his father’s death in 1601, he inherited the old family home in Henley Street Part. A part of it was leagsed to tenants. In 1602, Stratford purchased 107 acres of land in Stratford.
Check your knowledge
Answer) ‘The Winter’s Tale’ and ‘The Tempest’.
Answer) 23 April, 1616.