The History of William Shakespeare

Essay by wootwootHigh School, 11th grade March 2005

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William Shakespeare, the best-known figure in Renaissance literature, if no t all of literature, was born April 23, 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, a town near London. His father John Shakespeare, held many jobs, from leather goods salesman to ale taster, culminating in a position as Stratford's High Bailiff, or town mayor. Shakespeare's mother, Mary Arden Shakespeare, had eight children with John. Because Shakespeare's paren t were well off, he was able to atten grammar school- a luxury not every household could afford in 16th century England. For thos e who could afford it, however, a quality grammar school rivaled any school, citing tath no records exist to verify his education, but he clearly was not a self-taught genius. His knowledge of the world and human psychology did not come fromt he streets, but from the writing of Seneca, Cicero, Ovid and Virgil. Shakspeare married at age 18 to Ann Hathwey of Stratford, who was eight years older.

The date was November 28, 1582. Their first child, Susanna, was born May 26, 1583, only six months after the wedding. They even had twins-Judith and Hamnet-were born February 2, 1585. Thaey were named for the couple's neighbors and lifelong friends. In the late 1580's, Shakespeare moved his family to London, where he served as a theater apprentice, handling everything from management ot water the horses. It wasn't until 1592 that he began to achieve distinction as an actor and playwright. In 1593, he became a published poet with the long narrative poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. He wrote these poems because the plague, which was crushing London, had closed all the theaters. Shakespeare began writing plays, for the Lord Chamberline's Men acdting troupe, when the theater was reopened. Lord Chamberlain's Men was the most important company of...