William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564. He was baptized on April 24, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. He was the third of eight children born to John Shakespeare and Mary Arden. John was a well-known merchant and Mary was the daughter of a Roman Catholic member of the gentry. Shakespeare was educated at the local grammar school. According to history, Shakespeare was the eldest son, and he should have been the apprentice to his father's shop so that he could be taught everything his father knew and soon take over the business. But instead he was the apprentice to a butcher because of the trouble in his father's financial situation. Another story says that Shakespeare became a schoolmaster.
Shakespeare was allowed a lot of free time when he was young. This was suggested by historians that his plays show more ideas of hunting and hawking than do those of other play writers. In 1582 he married Anne Hathaway, the daughter of a farmer. He was thought to have left Stratford after he was caught poaching in the deer park of Sir Thomas Lucy. He was a local justice of the peace. Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway had a daughter in 1583 and twins- a boy and a girl- in 1585. The boy however, eventually did not live.
Shakespeare apparently arrived in London around 1588 and by 1592 had gained success as an actor and a playwright. Shortly after that, he secured the business of Henry Wriothesley, 3rd earl of Southampton. The publication of Shakespeare's two poems Venus and Adonis (1593) and The Rape of Lucrece (1594) and some of his Sonnets (published 1609), established a reputation for him as a talented and popular Renaissance poet. The Sonnets describe the devotion of a character to a young man whose beauty and charm he praises and to a mysterious and untrue woman with whom the poet is afraid. The following triangular situation, resulting from the attraction of the poet's friend to the woman, is treated with passionate intensity and psychological insight. However, Shakespeare's modern reputation is based mainly on the 38 plays that he wrote, modified, and collaborated on. When in his days, these plays frequently had little respect by his educated friends, who considered English plays of their own to be only tasteless entertainment.
Shakespeare's professional life in London was marked by a number of financially beneficial arrangements that allowed him to share in the profits of his acting company, the Chamberlain's Men, later called the King's Men. The acting company had two theaters, the Globe Theatre and the Blackfriars. His plays were given special presentation at the courts of Queen Elizabeth I and King James I more frequently than those of any other coexistent writer. It was known that he risked losing royal favor only once, in 1599, when his company performed "the play of the deposing and killing of King Richard II" at the request of a group of conspirators against Elizabeth. They were led by Elizabeth's unsuccessful court favorite, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, and by the earl of Southampton. In the later study, Shakespeare's company was cleared of dealing with the conspiracy.
After 1608, Shakespeare's dramatic production lessened and it seemed that he spent more time in Stratford. There he had secure family in a wealthy house called New Place. Shakespeare had become a leading local citizen. He died on April 23, 1616, and was buried in the Stratford church.
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