William William ShakespeareShakespeare


William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon in England. His parents were Mary Arden and John Shakespeare, a locally respected glove-maker. He attended the local grammar school, where he would have learned to read and write in English and Latin, and married Anne Hathaway when he was 18 years old. They had three children, two girls and a boy.

Shakespeare traveled to London and made a name for himself as an actor. His first successes as a playwright were historical works such as Henry VI, Parts 1, 2, and 3, and Richard III, which appeared in the early 1590's. Soon after, he wrote A Comedy of Errors, and then Romeo and Juliet in 1594-95. Despite his marriage, children, and the strong heterosexual themes of Romeo and Juliet and many of his other plays and poetry, Shakespeare's own sexuality has often been the subject of speculation. The first edition of his sonnets, a series of 154 poems on love and other assorted topics, was dedicated to a "Mr. W. H." Some scholars hypothesize that this was Shakespeare's lover; others say simply that he was the son of his publisher and/or a good friend.

In 1596, his father was granted a coat of arms, making Shakespeare an official gentleman.

In 1599, he became part-owner of the Globe Theatre. In 1603, Queen Elizabeth I died, and James I became king. He granted Shakespeare's company the highest honor possible for a troupe of actors by making them the official "king's players."

Shakespeare died in 1616, on his 52nd birthday. He was buried as an honored citizen at Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the time of his death, only a few of his works had appeared in print form. Most of his plays were brought together for publication in 1623 in what is called the First Folio Edition. Altogether, he is supposed to have written 37 or 38 plays as well as poetry, although no one knows for sure how many of the works published under his name were actually written by him; many scholars believe some works by lesser-known authors were placed in his folio so they would sell better. Some scholars believe Shakespeare's works were all written by someone else; possibilities include Sir Francis Bacon, Edward de Vere, and Christopher Marlowe. Despite this controversy, Shakespeare is widely considered to be the greatest writer of the English language, and possibly of any language.

This introduction to William Shakespeare has been taken from Sparks Notes- Online FreeStudy Guide