Biography of William Shakespeare


William Shakespeare was born in 1564, supposedly on 22 or 23 April, in
Stratford-upon-Avon. His father, John, who was a prosperous glover there,
preparing and selling soft leather, became alderman and later high bailiff.
Shakespeare was educated at Stratford Grammar School. When he was eighteen, he
married Anne Hathaway - eight years older than he and already, she was pregnant.
Six months later their daughter Susanna was born. They had twins, a boy Hamnet
and a girl named Judith, two years later.
There are no records of Shakespeare\'s life during the seven years that
followed, ‘the lost years\'. But by 1592 he was already an established actor and
playwright in London. He joined the Lord Chamberlain\'s Men in 1594, working as
a leading actor and dramatist. By 1599 this all-male company of experienced and
talented players - no women appeared on the stage until the Restoration - had
built their own theatre, the Globe. Its owners were seven member of the company,
including Shakespeare himself, who shared in its profits. For the next decade
the Globe, on the Thames at Bankside, was to be London\'s chief theatre, and the
home of Shakespeare\'s work. Many of his greatest plays were written during
these ten years, and were acted there. Both Queen Elizabeth, and after her
James I, showed the company many favors.
In 1613, during a performance of Henry VIII, the Globe was destroyed by
fire. But the Lord Chamberlain\'s men, by now called the King\'s Men, had four
years earlier leased a second, smaller playhouse, the Blackfriars. This was an
indoor theatre, unlike the Globe which was open to the sky, and it had the
technical facilities for scenic effects - a fact which probably accounts for the
spectacular element in Shakespeare\'s late plays.
In 1612, Shakespeare, it seems, went home. His son Hamnet had died when
only eleven, but his two daughters were in Stratford-upon-avon with his wife
Anne. He was now a wealthy man and had, as long before as 1597, bought a
handsome house, New Place, the second largest in Stratford. It had two gardens,
two orchards, and two barns. Here, with his family, he spent the last years of
his life.
Shakespeare remained friends with actors and poets, worked sometimes,
and visited London. He bought a house in Blackfriars in 1613. He died on April
23rd, 1616, after entertaining Ben Jonson and Michael Drayton at New Place. He
is buried at Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-avon. He wrote thirty-seven plays.
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Category: English