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William Shakespeare

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Essay title: William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was an Englishman who wrote poems and plays. According to many he was labeled as one of the greatest dramatists the world has ever known and the finest poets who wrote in the English language. No other writer's plays have been produced so many times or read so widely in so many countries (Wadsworth 342).

On April 26, 1564, John Shakespeare and Mary Arden's son, William, was baptized at the Stratford Parish Church. No one knows for certain when his birthday was. However, since most baptisms take place three days after birth, Shakespeare's alleged birthday is April 23. He was the third of eight children (Biography.com). It was thought that young Shakespeare began attending a local grammar school at the age 7, in Stratford. He attended the school with other boys of his social class. Students spent nine hours a day in school and attended classes year round, except for brief holiday periods. In spite of his long hours spent in school, Shakespeare's childhood was not likely boring. Stratford was a lively town, and for you William is could have been an exciting place to live (www.gale.com/freresrc/poets_cn/shakebio.htm).

William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway at the age of 18. Anne was at least 8 years her husband's senior. The marriage record dates November 27, 1582 in an Episcopal register found in Worchester (Brown 45). The custom in Stratford after the eldest son married, was for the new couple to live in the house of the groom's father. In all likelihood, Shakespeare obeyed the customary procedure (Wright 24). Arden gave birth only 6 months after they were legally wed to Shakespeare's first child, Susanna. Early in 1585, Anne gave birth to twins- a boy, Hamnet and a girl, Judith. Hamnet was only 11 years old when he died (Wadsworth 345).

Shakespeare lived in the Elizabethan Period in England, the time of Elizabeth I's reign. This time saw England emerge as the leading naval and commercial power of the Western World. England consolidated its position with the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 and established the Church of England (www.gale.com/freresrc/poets_cn/shakebio.htm). England was characterized as a hierarchy and everyone lived under a strong feudal system (Singman 10). The quote by Thomas Nashe, 1593, sums up the system of rank: "Unfortunate is the man who does not have someone to look down upon."(Davis 20).

Queen Elizabeth was a fan of literature and theatre. Her interest in the arts was great and possibly influenced Shakespeare, among others, in their choice of the arts as a career. She made certain that writers and actors were paid generous amounts for their efforts (Singman 39).

In the Elizabethan Period, leisure was equally as important as work was. Elizabethan boys were schooled in Latin grammar, as well as mathematic and geographic studies. As schooling was, it was important that all people in society attended the theatre on a regular basis. Sports- such as fencing, hunting, and fishing, were popular. Another thing in the Elizabethan time was public festivals. These displayed events such as jousting and live musical performance that included loud, obtrusive instruments to which spectators danced (Singman 150). The cultural environment was an extraordinary one for a great dramatist, such as Shakespeare, to be living in.

Between 1585 and 1592, there was no account of a man named William Shakespeare. Typically referred to as the lost years. There were no records of his life. Some scholars believe he was living in London serving as an apprentice. Others believe he retreated and wrote under a fake name (Wadsworth 345). It is recognized that Shakespeare appeared in London in 1951. After Shakespeare went to London, he joined an acting group. He had no experience. He was merely a performer (Wright 43). Shakespeare was an important part of a troupe called the Lord Chamberlains Men. He eventually became an honored senior member. (11) Writing plays soon became a demanding business. Companies were always looking for new material. With few new plays, companies began paying for the plays. Once a play was sold it became the property of the company. (44-45) Shakespeare wrote 37 plays. The plays were separated into three basic categories: comedy, tragedy, and history. (Wadsworth 342). Shakespeare's first extant

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