William Shakespeare is surely one of the world's most admired for his poem and his playwrights. Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. He was son of John Shakespeare, a Glover, and Mary Arden. William was eldest of three sons; as well the family had four daughters.
Shakespeare was educated at Strateford Grammar School. No one really knows how long William attended the school. Part of Williams's education and influences came from Warwickshire countryside. His plays and poetry are full of nature, gardening, and agriculture. An example is in Henry V: "Her vine, merry cheerer of the heart.
Unprunded dies; her hedges even-pleach'd Like prisoners wildly overgrown with air, Put fourth disorder'd twigs: her fallow leas The darnel, hemlock and rank fumitory, Do root upon, while the coulter rusts, That should deracinate such savagery; The even mead, that erst brought sweetly forth The freckled cowslip, burnet, and green clover, Wanting the scythe, all uncorrected, rank, Conceives by idleness, and nothing teems But hateful docks, rough thistles, kecksies, burs, Losing both beauty and utility."
Later in his life a marriage license was issued to William Shakespeare and Ann Hathway on November 27, 1582 from the Bishop of Worchester. The next day a bond was signed to protect the bishop who issued the license from any legal responsibility for approving the marriage. William was still a minor, and his wife Anne was pregnant. Anne, was three months pregnant when they married; she was also eight years older than her husband William. William and Anne had a daughter, Susanna, on May 26, 1583. Two years later they had twins, son Hamnet and daughter Judith on February 2, 1585. Unfortunately Hamnet died in 1596 at the age of 11.
There is no record of Shakespeare after the birth of his twins. The most commonly told story is that William left Stratford to escape persecution for poaching a deer on the land of Sir Thomas Lucy.
Shakespeare seems to have arrived in London about 1588, and by 1592 he had attained success as an actor and a playwright.
William Shakespeare's reputation today is mainly based on the 38 plays that he wrote, modified, or collaborated. Records of Shakespeare's plays begin in 1594, when theatres reopened after being closed for 21 months because of a plague.
No doubt that Shakespeare's share in the acting company made him wealthy. Playwriting was poorly paid work. His plays would belong to the acting company, and when they did reach print, they would then belong to the publisher. The only form of publication William sought was performance in the theatre.
In 1597 William bought New Place, a tree-story house in Stratford. With the opening of the Globe Theatre in 1599, Shakespeare's fortunes increased and by 1609 he bought additional property. In 1609 he bought more property and his final investment was a purchase was in the Blackfriars district if London in 1613.
After 1608 Shakespeare started to write less plays. Most of his working life he wrote two plays a year, but that slowed down to about one a year by 1608.
In 1613 fire destroyed the Globe Theatre during a performance. Even though the Globe was quickly rebuilt, Shakespeare decided to retire.
Susanna, his eldest daughter, married Dr. John Hall in 1607. Dr. Hall became famous because of his skills as a doctor. They had one child named Elizabeth. Williams's youngest daughter, Judith, married at 31 to Thomas Quiney, age 27, in February of 1616. Thomas came from a good family but the marriage started out sadly. Before marrying Judith, Thomas impregnated another girl. A month after they where married the girl died in childbirth with the child. Judith and Thomas still managed to have three children; the first named Shakespeare, which unfortunately died in childbirth. The other two, boys, Richard and Thomas, both died in 1639, at ages 21 and 19.
Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616. It was rumored that he drank too much on his birthday and later "died of a fever". William Shakespeare did have a will, for some reason he called his attorney to revise his will on March 25, 1616. Shakespeare left his daughter Judith 100 pounds and another 150 pounds if Judith managed to live three more years. If Judith failed to live the three years the money would be given to his granddaughter Elizabeth. He left 30 pounds to his sister Joan Hart as well as 5pounds for each of Joan's three sons. He left all his plates to Elizabeth, except a silver bowl left to Judith. He left 10 ponds to the poor of Stratford. He does not mention his wife Anne, except that he left her his second best bed. The rest of his so called "goodies" where left to his daughter Susanna and her husband John.
The slab over William Shakespeare's grave reads, "Good frend for Jesus sake forbeare, to digg the dust enclosed heare. Bleste be ye many spares thes stones, and curst be hey moves my bones." William's wife, Anne, died on August 6, 1623. She managed to live long enough to see a monument to her husband erected in Holy Trinity Church. Soon after her mother's death Susanna and John Hall moved into New Place, which was left to her by her father. They lived there until their deaths, hers in 1649 and his in 1635. Their daughter Elizabeth died childless in 1670. Her other daughter Judith had three sons, none of which had lived long enough to produce any heirs. Judith died in 1662. By 1670, the line of Shakespeare descendants had come to an end.