William Shakespeare ( Bard) A Biography
William Shakespeare • William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564 in Stratford and baptized on April 26, 1564. • He was the third of eight children born to John Shakespeare and Mary Arden, daughter of a wealthy landowner. • William’s father was a glove maker, a grain dealer, and served in various civic offices as a member of town council, magistrate and as bailiff or mayor of Stratford.
Where Shakespeare was born: Stratford-upon-Avon Map of England
Education • Due to his father’s standing, William received free tuition to the local grammar school where he studied rhetoric, Latin and Greek • William was apprenticed to his father’s business around 1577 when his father’s fortunes began to decline • Although William did not attend university and was not regarded as a man of learning, he did have a great deal of general knowledge.
Family Life • Their first child, Susanna, was baptized on May 26, 1583 • Twins, Hamnet and Judith, were born two years later in 1585 • Hamnet, the only son, died at age 11. • Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway on Nov. 28, 1582. She was 8 yrs older than William and 3 months pregnant at the time of their marriage.
• William Shakespeare eventually leaves his family behind arrives in London where he joins Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a successful theater company. • This company changes its name to The King's Men in 1603. Shakespeare stays a member of this company until he retires in 1610. • While in the company, Shakespeare made his living three ways: he was part owner of the Globe theatre, he was an actor, and he was a playwright. • During this time very little Scenery was used on stage, but was accomplished by Dialogue or conversation between characters.
Acting and Writing • Not only was Shakespeare a successful author, but he was also an actor! • • • When theatres reopened after the plagues of 1592 -1593, Shakespeare was a partner in a company under the sponsorship of the Lord Chamberlain, head of the Royal household They were the most popular acting company in London, being invited to perform at court far more often than any other group. While theatres were closed, Shakespeare wrote two long narrative poems which he dedicated to the Earl of Southampton, who was 19 yrs. Old. Speculation says that the money he received for these poems allowed him to become a partner with the Lord Chamberlain’s Men.
• Shakespeare enjoyed great success at the Globe and Blackfriars theatres. It was thought he wrote two plays per year until he retired • In 1597, he purchased a New Place, the second largest home in Stratford • In 1603, their acting company came under the patronage of King James and became known as the The King’s Men. Between Nov. 1604 and Oct. 1605, they performed 11 times before the King. Seven of these performances were plays by Shakespeare.
The Theaters…. • Theatre, built in 1576 • The Rose, built in 1587 (London’s first “Bankside” theatre) • The Swan, 1595 • The Globe (Shakespeare helped construct in 1598 -1599)
• This theatre, like most theatres, had a flag on the top of it, which indicated to people that there would be a play that day, the color of the flag would indicate the type of play. • Plays were performed during the afternoon because they needed to take advantage of the sunlight.
Shakespeare’s Plays • Shakespeare wrote three types of plays: tragedies, comedies, and histories • In tragedies the main character is doomed to die through his own character flaw (ex. Macbeth, Hamlet) • Comedies feature mistaken identities, women disguised as men, miscarried letters, and all sorts of silly complications that are happily resolved in the end. Many end with weddings being planned.
Plays cont’d… • Histories told the stories of kings and noblemen in exciting situations. With the exception of Julius Caesar and Anthony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare wrote about English kings.
• Shakespeare was well known for his Word Play, which is a technique that uses vocabulary that has more than one meaning. • Romeo and Juliet, which was written in Shakespeare's early years, is considered a tragedy.
• Romeo and Juliet, however, is not an original story; Shakespeare retells a story that can be dated back to as early as fourth century Greece. • Shakespeare uses a narrative poem called "Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet, " which is written by Arthur Brook, to get most of his information for his play. • Shakespeare sets his Romeo and Juliet in Verona, Italy.
• Shakespeare continued • He died April 23, 1616 to invest in real estate and was buried at Holy in Stratford. Trinity Church. • He left the stage around 1611 and returned to Stratford