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William Shakespeare : The Bard of Avon

Published on 09-Sep-2022

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is known as one of the greatest writers this World has ever witnessed. He is also renowned for all his sonnets and poems. He is believed to be one of the most brilliant dramatists ever lived. William Shakespeare was born in a civilized English town now known as Stratford in England. Although his career flourished in London and most of his works were published in the big town, his heart remained in Stratford with his family and the townspeople.

He died at the age of 52 in his house in Stratford in the presence of his family. Shakespeare spent most of his years writing plays and dramas. Many of his original drafts were not found in any piece; however, 32 of his plays were salvaged and published after his death.

Those plays and dramas still keep Shakespeare alive in this World as one of the greatest writers in the English Language. His most famous works are "Romeo and Juliet," "King Lear," "Macbeth," "Tempest" and "Othello." Almost every work of his was translated into more than 30 languages making him one of the few writers to achieve that level of acknowledgment.  

William Shakespeare


Shakespeare's Childhood

William Shakespeare was born in 1564 and was baptized on 26 April in the Holy Trinity Church. Many believe he was born on 23 April, the same day he passed away. William's father, John Shakespeare, worked as a successful glove-maker in Stratford. He was also a valuable member of the Municipal Assembly, which elevated his family status among others in that town. His mother, Mary Arden, was the daughter of one of the wealthy landowning families in England. Mary and John Shakespeare together had eight children.

Two of their daughters died soon after birth, making William their eldest son. Growing up, William Shakespeare enjoyed a comfortable childhood along with his siblings, thanks to his parents' status in society. William's interest in literature might have started with bedtime stories his mother told him. Mary Shakespeare was one of the literate women in the Elizabethan Era, and her influence on story-telling was reflected in Shakespeare's works later in his life. 

At the age of 7, William was admitted to King's New School, one of the free chartered grammar schools under King Edward VI. He studied there until the age of 14. After leaving the school, William took part in an apprenticeship of seven years. 

William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway's marriage

At 18, William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, who was 8 years older than William, making her 26 years old at that time. Their marriage was sped up to avoid scandals as Anne was already pregnant with William's first child. During that time, although Anne Hathaway was an eligible young adult, William Shakespeare, on the other hand, was still a minor. To proceed with the wedding, William's father had to permit and be present for William as an adult guardian.

Their marriage was licensed outside of Stratford on 27 November 1582. William's apprenticeship soon ended after his marriage. He and his wife lived with John and Mary Shakespeare until Anne gave birth to William's first daughter, Susanna, six months after the wedding. Their daughter was baptized on 26 May 1583 in the same Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare was baptized. 

Anne Hathaway was the eldest daughter of a farmer, Richard Hathaway. After her father's death, she inherited the big farmhouse called "Hewland Farm" in the village of Shottery, just a mile away from Stratford. William and Anne moved there with their daughter, Susanne. After two years of marriage, they welcomed the twins, son Hamnet and daughter, Judith. Both children were baptized on 2 February 1585.

Shakespeare's lost years.

After the birth of the twins in 1585, followed to the year until 1592, there are no records of William Shakespeare and any of the works he did. Many scholars refer to this timeline between 1585 and 1592 as Shakespeare's "lost years." Many biographers believed he lived unanimously after fleeing from London to escape prosecution for deer poaching. Many also rumored he worked as a schoolmaster in a small country school in Lancashire.

Although there was no substantial evidence for any of the claimed statements, no one still knew what he did around that time. It is certain that Anne Hathaway continued to live with her children in the Village of Shottery, Stratford. In 1596, one of the twins, Hamnet, died at 11 of unknown causes. William and Anne buried Hamnet Shakespeare in Holy Trinity Church on 11 August 1596.

The beginning of Shakespeare in London

It isn't easy to find exactly when William Shakespeare started writing his plays. Although around sometime between the lost years of 1585 to 1592, William made his name as an actor, writer, and co-owner of a Theatre Company in London. The company was called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, It afterwards adopted The King's Men as its name.

William Shakespeare's first printed works were the two long poems, "Venus and Adonis," published in 1593, and "The Rape of Lucrece," published in 1594. The much-published works of Shakespeare were only dedicated to his best friend and patron, Henry Wriothesley.

Henry Wriothesley was the 3rd Earl of Southampton who met William Shakespeare during one of his acting troupes and quickly became fond of Shakespeare's way of story-telling through acting. It is assumed Shakespeare befriended Henry Wriothesley because he accepted Shakespeare's illicit or controversial and unorthodox literature aspect in plays. Both friends shared the same sense of humor. 

Shakespeare's reputation as a writer peaked in London 1590s after he started writing some of his first plays for the Theatre. They were "The trilogy of Henry VI," "Richard III," "The Two Gentlemen of Verona," and "Titus Andronicus." 

William Shakespeare continued working in his Theatre Company, "The King's Men," for almost twenty years as a dramatist and actor. TheTheatree produced two plays yearly with the support of another patron, William Herbert, the 3rd Earl of Pembroke, and his brother Philip Herbert.

Soon Elizabeth I became one of the patrons for the company and even had one of her acting companies called "Queen's Men." During this recognition time, some of Shakespeare's best plays were introduced in The Theatre. The most remembered ones are "Romeo and Juliet," "Othello "and "The Taming of the Shrew."

William Shakespeare's retirement

After Shakespeare's career soared as a dramatist and writer, his first significant investment was made at the age of 33 in 1597. He bought the biggest family house in the middle of the town in Stratford. He named the family house "New Place." He separated his personal and professional life between Stratford and London.

However, most of his financial investments were made in Stratford as his family lived there. It is also recorded that Shakespeare never settled in London but lived in Lodges during his stays for work. His elevated status in Stratford allowed him to become a full-time writer now. He continued working with "The King's Men" until 1613 as an actor and a dramatist. At 49, he retired from his position and returned to his homeland, Stratford, for good. 

William Shakespeare's death

William Shakespeare died just three years after his retirement in 1616. The cause of death cannot be found in any family records, but some believe it might be because of a contagious fever he got from his friends. Some even think he might have been murdered in secret. There was no evidence for any of the theories or rumors. However, his will, written on 25 March, almost a month before his death, subdued every other rumor. And it is widely believed William Shakespeare might have had an incurable disease. 

Shakespeare's burial was recorded on 25 April in 1616, and he is believed to have died on 23 April, the day of his birth. William Shakespeare is buried in the same church he got baptized and married, The Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. 

The end of William Shakespeare's Family line

William Shakespeare's wife Anne Hathaway died at the age of 67. Their two daughters, Susanna and Judith, married respectively. Susanna married John Hall, a physician in Stratford. They both had three children, one daughter and two sons. However, the two sons died at birth. Susanna's daughter, Elizabeth, lived on and married but died without any children. 

William's second daughter, Judith, married Thomas Quinney, who was a vintner and a tobacconist. They had three boys named Shakespeare, Richard, and Thomas. Shakespeare died at the age of one. Richard and Thomas died at the age of 19 and 21 because of the ongoing plague at that time. . Thus, there's no Shakespeare descendant left alive and ending the direct bloodline of William Shakespeare.


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