Shakespeare

Life

William Shakespeare was a family man; he was a poet and a lasting literary
figure. He is considered to be the most fascinating Elizabethan dramatist due to
his writings and versatile life. Shakespeare’s career has endured for
centuries. He is one of the most studied authors of all time (Zender 22).

Shakespeare did not attend a university, yet he created 144 poems and many
plays, which are considered to be literary works of art. His writings in
comedies and tragedies show his talent is unbounded. William Shakespear’s
popularity must have extended beyond his own expectations as it touches people
even today (Zender 23). William Shakespeare was born in the year of 1564 and
died in 1616. His education consisted mostly of Latin studies- learning to read,
write, and speak the language fairly well and studying some of the classical
historians and poets. A bond, dated November 28, 1582, was executed by two men
of Stratford as a security to the bishop for the issue of a license for marriage
between Williams Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway of Stratford. One year later, a
daughter named Susanna was born on May 26, 1583. On February 2, 1585 twins were
born Hamlet and Judith. Shakespeare’s only son-died eleven years later (Groiler

1991). How Shakespeare spent the next eight years or so science 1585, until his
name begins to appear in London Theater records, is not known. There are stories
of stealing deer and getting into trouble with a local magistrate, of earning a
living as a school master in the country, of going to London and gaining entry
into the world of theater by minding horses of theater- goers. In the light of
evidence, exploits of Shakespeare’s life cannot be proved or dismissed.

Shakespeare has often been viewed from the internal evidence of his writings.

However, this method is unsatisfactory. One cannot conclude, for example from
allusions to the law that Shakespeare was a lawyer, although he clearly was a
writer who without difficulty could get whatever legal knowledge needed for the
composition of his works. It is not clear how his career in the theater began;
but from about 1594 onward, he was an important member of Lord Chamberlain’s
company of players, called the King’s Men after the accession of King James I
in 1603. The company had the best actor, Richard Burbage; they had the best
theater, the Globe; and the best dramatist, Shakespeare. It is no wonder that
the company prospered. Shakespeare became a full-time professional man of this
own theatre, sharing in a cooperative enterprise and intimately concerned with
the financial success of the plays he wrote (Groiler 1991). Shakespeare’s
will, made on March 25, 1616, is a long and detailed document. It included quite
extensive properties to the male heirs of his elder daughter, Susanna. As an
afterthought, Shakespeare bequeathed his second best bed to his wife, but no one
can be certain what this notorious legacy means. The signature to the will was
apparently in shaky hands. Perhaps Shakespeare was already ill. He died on April

23, 1616. No name was inscribed on his gravestone. Within a few years a monument
was erected. Its epitaph, written in Latin and inscribed immediately below the
bust, attributes to Shakespeare the worldly wisdom of Nestor, the genius of

Socrates, and the poetic art of Virgil (Groiler 1991). Shakespeare lived in a
time when ideas and social structures established in the Middle Ages still
influenced man’s thoughts and behavior. Queen Elizabeth was a firm believer in
divine power of the crown. She thought herself God’s deputy on earth, lords
and commoners had their due place in society under her, with responsibilities up
through her to God and down to those of more humble rank. The order of things
did not go unquestioned. Atheism was still considered a challenge to beliefs and
way of life of a majority of Elizabethans, but the Christian faith was no longer
the single religion, with expansion of the Anglican Church and the growing power
of the Puritans. Commoners were becoming more literate and could read the
scriptures for themselves. In philosophical inquiry, the question how became the
impulse for advance, rather than traditional why of Aristotle (Davidow 42).

Beginning in the summer of 1592, the theaters were closed almost continuously
for two years. This was the result of the bubonic plague. At this point,

Shakespeare turned his attention to writing narrative poetry. Fellow

Elizabethans considered this style of writing to be serious literature in
contrast with the popular drama entertainment of the day (Davidow 43).

Shakespeare’s manuscript of Venus and Adonis was printed and