Shakespeare's father was a tanner and glovemaker. He was an alderman of Stratford for years. He also served a term as high bailiff, or mayor. Toward the end of his life John Shakespeare lost most of his money. When he died in 1601, he left William only a little real estate. Not much is known about Mary
Shakespeare, except that she came from a wealthier family than her husband
Stratford-upon-Avon is in Warwickshire, called the heart of England. In Shakespeare's day it was well farmed and heavily wooded. The town itself was prosperous and progressive (see Stratford-upon-Avon). The town was proud of its grammar school. Young Shakespeare went to it, although when or for
how long is not known
MARRIAGE AND LIFE IN LONDON
In 1582, when he was 18, he married Anne Hathaway. She was from Shottery, a village a mile (1.6 kilometers) from Stratford. Anne was seven or eight years older than Shakespeare. From this difference in their ages, a story arose that they were unhappy together. Their first daughter, Susanna, was born in 1583. In 1585 a twin boy and girl, Hamnet and Judith, were born.
What Shakespeare did between 1583 and 1592 is not known. Various stories are told. He may have taught school, worked in a lawyer's office, served on a rich man's estate, or traveled with a company of actors. One famous story says that about 1584 he and some friends were caught poaching on the estate of Sir Thomas Lucy of Carlecote, near Warwick, and were forced to leave town. A less likely story is that he was in London in 1588. There he was supposed to have held horses for theater patrons and later to have worked in the theaters as a page.
By 1592, however, Shakespeare was definitely in London and was already recognized as an actor and playwright. He was then 28 years old. In that year Robert Greene, a playwright, accused him of borrowing from the plays of others.
Between 1592 and 1594, plague kept the London theaters closed most of the time. During these years Shakespeare wrote his earliest sonnets and two long narrative poems, 'Venus and Adonis' and 'The Rape of Lucrece'. Both were printed by Richard Field, a boyhood friend from Stratford. They were well received and helped establish him as a poet.
DEATH AND BURIAL AT STRATFORD
Shakespeare retired from his theater work in 1610 and returned to Stratford. His friends from London visited him. In 1613 the Globe Theatre burned. He lost much money in it, but he was still wealthy. He shared in the building of the new Globe. A few months before the fire he bought as an investment a house in the fashionable Blackfriars district of London.
On April 23, 1616, Shakespeare died at the age of 52. This date is according to the Old Style, or Julian, calendar of his time. The New Style, or Gregorian, calendar date is May 3, 1616 (see Calendar). He was buried in the chancel of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford.
C HIEF KNOWN FACTS OF SHAKESPEARE'S LIFE
1564. Born at Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, probably April 21-23, and baptized April 26 1582. License issued for his marriage with Anne Hathaway of Shottery 1583. Daughter Susanna born 1585. Twins Hamnet and Judith born 1592. First alluded to in a book, by Robert Greene 1593. 'Venus and Adonis' published 1594. 'The Rape of Lucrece' published 1596. His son Hamnet dies 1596. His father is granted a coat of arms 1597. Purchases New Place in Stratford 1598. Is praised by Francis Meres, who mentions his poems and sonnets and names 12 of his plays 1603. He and his fellow players are honored by James I; appointed Grooms of the King's Chamber 1607. Daughter Susanna marries 1609. 'Sonnets' published 1616. Daughter Judith marries 1616. Dies April 23 and is buried April 25
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
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