William Shakespeares Life

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William Shakespeare's Life

By Paul Bleier

William Shakespeare was a supreme English poet and playwright,
universally recognized as the greatest of all the dramatists.

A complete, authoritative account of Shakespeare's life is lacking; much
supposition surrounds relatively few facts. His day of birth is traditionally
held on April 23, and he was baptized on April 24, 1564. He was the third of
eight children, and was the eldest son of John Shakespeare. He was probably
educated in a local grammar school. As the eldest son, Shakespeare would of
taken over his father's business, but according to one account, he became a
butcher because of reverses in his father's financial situation. According to
another account, he became a school master. That Shakespeare was allowed
considerable leisure time in his youth is suggested by the fact that his plays
show more knowledge of hunting and hawking than do those of other dramatists.
In 1582, he married Anne Hathaway. He is supposed to have left Stratford after
he was caught poaching in a deer park.

Shakespeare apparently arrived in London about 1588 and by 1592 had
attained success as a playwright. The publication of Venus and Adonis, The Rape
of Lucrece and of his Sonnets established his reputation as a poet in the
Renaissance manner. Shakespeare's modern reputation is based mainly on the 38
plays he wrote, modified, or collaborated on.

Shakespeare's professional life in London was marked by a number of
financially advantageous arrangements that permitted him to share in the profits
of his acting company, the Chamberlain's Men, and its two theaters, the Globe
and the Blackfriars. His plays were given special presentation at the courts of
Queen Elizabeth I and King James I. After about 1608, Shakespeare's dramatic
production lessened and he spent more time in Stratford. There he established a
family in and imposing house, the New Place, and became a leading local citizen.
He died on April 23, 1616, and was buried in the Stratford church.

Although the precise date of many of Shakespeare's plays is in doubt, his
dramatic career is divided into four periods: (1) the period up to 1594, (2)
the years from 1594 to 1600, (3) the years from 1600 to 1608, (4) the period
after 1608. In all periods, the plots of his plays were frequently drawn from
chronicles, histories, or earlier fiction.

Shakespeare's first period was one of experimen...

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