William Shakespeare was the son of John Shakespeare, a Glover and leather merchant, and Mary Arden, a landed local heiress, he was the 3rd of eight children. The actual date of his birthday is unknown, but is tradionally celebrated on the 23rd.
Apr 23, 1565
William was given a bath once a year! This shows that cleanliness was not very important at the time.
Period: Sep 1, 1571 to Sep 1, 1578
William started at the King Edward V1 Grammar School when he was seven. He most likely got free education because of his father's social standing. When he was fourteen Shakespeare’s father had financial/social difficulty and his sons had to leave school, he is supposed to have worked for a butcher, in addition to helping run his father's business.
William married Anne Hathaway when he was 18 and she was 26. It wasn’t unusual for girls to be pregnant when they marry, and Anne was three months pregnant on their wedding day, In that time a boy got a girl pregnant he was honor-bound to marry her, and Shakespeare did.
Susanna was born in 1583 and the twins Hamnet and Judith were born in 1585(the were named after close friends of William and Anne) Shakespeare was a teenage father. He was poor at the time, and we don’t know how he supported his wife and children. A few years after the twins birth he went to London and started a career in the theatre where he did very well and was able to send home money and see them often.
This is a painting of Susanna, Hamnet and Judith.
The Lost Years
This period is known as the "Lost Years" ” because Shakespeare was away for theater then and nobody knew what he was doing.
First Period of Plays
Shakespeare wrote his first play in 1989, which was Henry VI Part 1. In this period his works had roots in Roman and medieval drama, and while good, show his voice more abruptly than the later works.
This period of plays includes Richard III, The Comedy of Errors and Taming of the Shrew.
The theaters in London were closed down on account of the plague. There are reports of 10,675 deaths in a city of 200,00.
While the theaters were closed there was no demand for plays and he began to write poetry.
The Second Period of Plays
In this period of plays there is more growth in style, and the construction becomes less awkward. Shakespeare starts to interweave comedy and tragedy which becomes one of his signature styles. Plays from this period include, Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing and As You Like It.
Lord Chamberlain's Men
Shakespeare became one of the founders of Lord Chamberlain's Men, an acting/theater group that became the leading players company in London.
Eleven years after the twins’ birth, Shakespeare became really rich. He bought a New Place, one of Stratford’s biggest houses and moved in.
Hamnet died of an outbreak of the bubonic plague when he was just eleven years old. This was one of the many deaths that Shakespeare experienced.
The Globe Theater
The theater in which The Lord Chamberlain's Men performed was forced to close since it had been built on leased land, many partners invested in a new theater built on the south band of the Thames River. The new theater was called The Globe, now the theater has become almost as famous as the playwright himself.
Coat of Arms
The College of Heralds granted a coat of arms to the family originator John Shakespeare. In that time you were given a description of your coat of arms which you would take to designer who would create the actual coat of arms. Since the actual design is no longer in existence it is left to interpretation. Just two months before the Shakespeare family was given the crest Hamnet died ending the line of the Coat of Arms. The motto was "Non sanz droict" or "Not without right"
The Third Period of Plays
This period marks the great tragedies and principal works which become the most famous. Shakespeare is at his best in these tragedies, and the comedies of this period. The plays include Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear and Julius Caesar.
The Fourth Period of Plays
The fourth period encompasses romantic tragicomedy, at the end of his career Shakespeare seemed preoccupied with themes of redemption. His writing is mores serious yet more lyrical and the plays are very symbolic. It is wondered whether this period's style was due to Shakespeare's maturity as a playwright or just the changing trend in Elizabethan theater at the time. The plays from this period include Cymbeline, The Tempest and Henry VIII. In all William Shakespeare wrote 37 plays.
Shakespeare's sonnets were first published in 1609 by Thomas Thorpe. They may have been published without authorization from Shakespeare. In all he wrote 154 sonnets.
Shakespeare died on his 52nd birthday. The cause of death is not known, but some scholars believe that he was sick for over a month before he died, while others believe he died after drinking to much and coming down with a fever.
He was buried inside Holy Trinity Church beneath a stone slab engraved with his epitaph:
“Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear
to dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
and cursed be he that moves my bones.”
In his will Shakespeare left 100 pounds to his daughter Judith, 30 for his sister and allowed her to stay on rent in two of his houses, leaving her three sons 5 pounds each. He gave all of his silverware to Judith except a silver bowl which he gave to his granddaughter. For his wife he left the second best bed in the house.