Englands greatest poet and playwright was born at

WORDS  342

England's greatest poet and playwright was born at

Stratford-upon-Avon, the son of a tradesman and

Alderman of Stratford, John Shakespeare in 1564.

William, the eldest son, and third child (of eight) was
baptised on 26th April 1564 and probably educated at

Stratford Grammar School, but little is
known of his life up to his eighteenth year. He did not
go to University and his younger contemporary and
fellow-dramatist, Ben Johnson, would later speak
disparagingly of his small Latin, and less Greek in
the eulogy prefaced to the Firs Folio. However the

Grammar School curriculum would have provided a
formidable linguistic, and to some extent literary,

Although, in 1575 when he was eleven, there was a
great plague in the country and Queen Elizabeth
journeyed out of London to avoid its consequences and
stayed for several days at Kenilworth Castle near

Stratford enjoying festivities arranged by her host

Lord Leicester. It is probable these events may have
made a strong impact on the mind of young William.

At the age of Eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, eight
years his senior. Five years later he left for London.

William worked at the Globe Theatre and appeared in
many small parts. He first appeared in public as a poet
in 1593 with his Venus and Adonis and the following
year with The Rape of Lucrece. He became joint
proprietor of The Globe and also had an interest in the

Blackfriars Theatre.

The play writing commenced in 1595 and of the 38 plays
that comprise the Shakespeare Cannon, 36 were published
in the 1st Folio of 1623, of which 18 had been
published in his lifetime in what are termed the Quarto

Love's Labour's Lost and The Comedy of Errors appear
to be among the earliest, being followed by The Two

Gentlemen of Verona and Romeo and Juliet. Then followed

Henry VI, Richard III, Richard II, Titus Andronicus,

The Taming of the Shrew, King John, The Merchant of

Venice, A Midsummer Night's Dream, All's Well that Ends

Well, Henry IV, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Henry V,

Much Ado about Nothing, As you like it, Twelth Night,

Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Troilus and Cressida, Othello,

Measure for Measure, Macbeth, King Lear, Timon of

Athens, Pericl...

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