William Shakespeare was allegedly born in Stratford-upon-Avon, on April 23, 1564. He was baptized in the Holy Trinity Church on April 26, of that same year. His father, John Shakespeare, was a Glover and leather merchant and his mother, Mary Arden, a landed heiress. William was the third of eight children in his family. John Shakespeare had an outstanding run of success as a merchant, and later as an alderman and high bailiff of Stratford, during William’s early childhood. His fortunes declined, however, in the 1570’s.
Shakespeare’s childhood years in Stratford are questioned frequently, but it is said that he attended a free grammar school in Stratford. Considering his father was a Stratford official, and would be granted a waiver for his son’s tuition in any school, and also considering Shakespeare’s exceptional knowledge of Latin and Classical Greek, there are obviously questionable points to his school years. But there is positively no evidence of him ever proceeding to a university level education, which has stimulated some of the arguments regarding the authorship of his works.
On November 28, 1582, at the age of 18, William married the 26 year old, Anne Hathaway. They had their first daughter, Susanna, on May 26, 1583. And less than two years later had twins, Hamnet and Judith. Hamnet died at the age of 11, and it is said that Shakespeare disappeared from all records for seven years following this incident. He finally turned up in London in approximately 1592. It is unsure of why this took place, and various theories have been broadcasted.
There is one story that states he may have been working as an assistant schoolmaster in Lancashire for a time, and another that discusses an event where he had to flee Stratford after a poaching on land owned by Sir Thomas Lucy. In any case Shakespeare arrived alone in London, and began to establish himself as not only an actor, but also a playwright. Immediately Shakespeare acquired a substantial amount of attention from citizens in the community and by 1594, he was a promise to the entertainment world in London.
He served as devoted member in the Lord Chamberlain’s company, and published his very first play, Litus Andronicus. Along with Will Kempe, a fine comedian of the time, and Richard Burbage, a leading actor, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men became a most desired, and popular group all across the city. In the mid-1590’s the plague forced theatres in London to close, to halt the spread of disease, and this was when William Shakespeare and the rest of his troupe, began plans for the Globe Theatre. Shakespeare’s name gleamed with success.
In fact, his company became the largest and most famous acting company in London, essentially because Shakespeare performed and worked for them. His plays were continuously sold, and went surprisingly quick, much like novels. “Penny-copies”, of his published plays, were sold to his educated audiences. All 154 of his sonnets were published in 1609, and were enjoyed immensely by his numerous spectators. Shakespeare’s dedicated labor paid off, and his various sources of income allowed him to retire comfortably at the, comparatively young, age of 41.
William Shakespeare supposedly died on his birthday, April 23, 1616. He was buried at Holy Trinity in Stratford on April 25. His will bequeathed all his properties to his eldest daughter Suzanne. 300 was left to his daughter Judith, and to his wife he left “my second best bed. ” Shortly after his death, the First Folio edition of the Collected Works was printed, including all his sonnets and 18 unpublished plays. These works of William Shakespeare were, and always will be, regarded as astounding and unsurpassable.