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Essay/Term paper: Shakespeare: biography

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Shakespeare

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Shakespeare: Biography

William Shakespeare was a great English playwright, dramatist and poet
who lived during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.
Shakespeare is considered to be the greatest playwright of all time. No other
writer's plays have been produced so many times or read so widely in so many
countries as his.

Shakespeare was born to middle class parents. His father, John, was a
Stratford businessman. He was a glove maker who owned a leather shop. John
Shakespeare was a well known and respected man in the town. He held several
important local governmental positions. William Shakespeare's mother was Mary
Arden. Though she was the daughter of a local farmer, she was related to a
family of considerable wealth and social standing. Mary Arden and John
Shakespeare were married in 1557.

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford in 1564. He was one of eight
children. The Shakespeare's were well respected prominent people. When William
Shakespeare was about seven years old, he probably began attending the Stratford
Grammar School with other boys of his social class. Students went to school
year round attending school for nine hours a day. The teachers were strict

Though Shakespeare spent long hours at school, his boyhood was probably
fascinating. Stratford was a lively town and during holidays, it was known to
put on pageants and many popular shows. It also held several large fairs during
the year. Stratford was a exciting place to live. Stratford also had fields
and woods surrounding it giving William the opportunity to hunt and trap small
game. The River Avon which ran through the town allowed him to fish also.
Shakespeare's' poems and plays show his love of nature and rural life which
reflects his childhood.

On November 28, 1582, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway of the
neighboring village of Shottery. She was twenty-six, and he was only eighteen
at the time. They had three children. Susana was their first and then they had
twins, Hamnet and Judith. Hamnet, Shakespeare's son, died in 1596. In 1607,
his daughter Susana got married. Shakespeare's other daughter, Judith, got
married in 1616.

In London, Shakespeare's career took off. It is believed that he may
have become well known in London theatrical life by 1592. By that time, he had
joined one of the city's repertory theater companies. These companies were made
up of a permanent cast of actors who presented different plays week after week.
The companies were commercial organizations that depended on admission from
their audience. Scholars know that Shakespeare belonged to one of the most
popular acting companies in London called The Lord Chamberlain's Men.
Shakespeare was a leading member of the group from 1594 for the rest of his
career. By 1594, at least six of Shakespeare's plays had been produced.

During Shakespeare's life, there were two monarchs who ruled England.
They were Henry the eighth and Elizabeth the first. Both were impressed with
Shakespeare which made his name known. There is evidence that he was a member
of a traveling theater group, and a schoolmaster. In 1594, he became an actor
and playwright for Lord Chamberlain's Men. In 1599, he became a part owner of
the prosperous Globe Theater. He also was a part owner of the Blackfriars
Theater as of 1609. Shakespeare retired to Stratford in 1613 where he wrote
many of his excellent plays.

There are many reasons as to why William Shakespeare is so famous. He
is generally considered to be both the greatest dramatist the world has ever
known as well as the finest poet who has written in the English language. Many
reasons can be given for Shakespeare's enormous appeal. His fame basically is
from his great understanding of human nature. He was able to find universal
human qualities and put them in a dramatic situation creating characters that
are timeless. Yet he had the ability to create characters that are highly
individual human beings. Their struggles in life are universal. Sometimes they
are successful and sometimes their lives are full of pain, suffering, and

In addition to his understanding and realistic view of human nature,
Shakespeare had a vast knowledge of a variety of subjects. These subjects
include music, law, Bible, stage, art, politics, history, hunting, and sports.
Shakespeare had a tremendous influence on culture and literature throughout the
world. He contributed greatly to the development of the English language. Many
words and phrases from Shakespeare's plays and poems have become part of our
speech. Shakespeare's plays and poems have become a required part of education
in the United States. Therefore, his ideas on subjects such as romantic love,
heroism, comedy, and tragedy have helped shape the attitudes of millions of
people. His portrayal of historical figures and events have influenced our
thinking more than what has been written in history books. The world has
admired and respected many great writers, but only Shakespeare has generated
such enormous continuing interest. My source states explanations rather than
opinions on why Shakespeare's contributions to literature are so vast. My
source devoted thirty pages to William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare's plays are usually divided into three major categories.
These are comedy, tragedy, and history. Three plays which are in the category
of comedy are "The Comedy of Errors", "The Taming of the Shrew", and "The Two
Gentlemen of Verone". Three plays which are in the category of tragedy are
"Romeo and Juliet", "Titus Andronicus", and "Julius Caesar". In the category of
history, three plays are "Henry V", "Richard II", and "Richard III".


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