The Life Of Shakespeare
William Shakespeare wrote 37 plays in his lifetime. These plays included
comedies, histories, and tragedies. The plays contain vivid characters of all types and
from many walks of life (World Book I). Shakespeare’s works contain kings,
pickpockets, drunkards, generals, hired killers, shepherds, and philosophers.
Shakespeare’s plays have been divided into four different periods of which he wrote plays.
The first period lasted from 1590 to 1594. In this period he wrote Comedy of Errors,
Henry VI, Richard III, The Taming of the Shrew, Titus Andronicus, The Two Gentlemen
of Verona, and King John. The second period lasted from 1595 to 1600 and contained A
Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard II, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Romeo and Juliet, The
Merchant of Venice, Henry IV, As You Like It, Henry V, Julius Caesar, Much Ado About
Nothing, Twelfth Night , and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Hamlet, Troilus and Cressida,
All’s Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Timon of
Athens, Pericles, Antony and Cleopatra, and Coriolanus were written in the third period,
from 1601 to 1608. The fourth period, 1609 to 1613, had the plays Cymbeline, The
Winter’s Tale, The Tempest, and Henry VIII written. No other writer’s plays have been
produced so many times or so widely in so many countries (World Book I).
Shakespeare was born into a middle class family in the town of
Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564. Shakespeare’s father was John Shakespeare, a local shop
owner who held many positions in the local government. William Shakespeare’s mother
was Mary Arden Shakespeare. She was married to John in 1557. Mary was the daughter
of a local farmer, but had wealthy relatives. William was the third of eight children.
Shakespeare was baptized on April 26, 1564.
At age seven, William began attending the Stratford grammar school with other
boys of his age and social class. The school’s teachers were graduates of Oxford
University. William and his classmates spent nine hours a day in class. The students
attended year round except for three or four short holiday periods. The school had strict
discipline and physically punished students who were bad. William mainly studied Latin
In November 1582, at the age of 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway. Anne
was 26 and was the daughter of a farmer who lived a mile from Stratford. W...