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Transcript of William Shakespeare
Died (maybe) on his 52nd birthday. Weird!
Born: April ? 1564
Died: April 23, 1616
Baptized on April 26th. Common practice to baptize on the third day after birth suggests Will's b-day is April 23rd. There is no other evidence of the actual date.
Parents: John and Mary Shakespeare
1. Successful glover
2. Town alderman
Mom and Dad from Catholic backgrounds...
Will was born into a well-to-do middle class family. Not rich, but successful in business and respected in the community.
...which was not necessarily safe! Queen Elizabeth I enforced Protestantism. Spies/informers looked for people like the Shakespeares who still held onto the "old" beliefs. It wasn't illegal to be Catholic, but Catholics couldn't practice, meaning holding mass was strictly prohibited. Lapsing in religious duties, such as attending church, could get people fined.
1. Of the wealthy Arden family
2. Dad left her large family estate - she was quite a catch!
3. Married John when she was 17 years old. (He was 26.)
3. (Probably) Dealt in illegal wool trading
The Shakespeares were from . . .
Will's home on Henley Street
William started grammar school in 1571 at the age of seven.
**Tudor England would have been the most literate society on the planet during this time.**
Start school at 6:00 am in summer and 7:00 am in winter.
Required to memorize huge chunks of literature by heart.
Also learned debate and social responsibilities like politeness and civic duty.
Had to participate in drama.
In 1578, thanks to dad's illegal wool trading and Catholic stance, Will had to leave school early and become a breadwinner for the family.
William Gets a
He found love with Anne Hathaway...
NOT this Anne Hathaway.
Nope, young Will married Anne Hathaway of Shottery, a small village near Stratford. Anne was 26, a full eight years older than the barely-legal William.
When they married in 1582, Anne was pregnant!
**Tudor England wasn't such a spiritual golden age. An estimated third of the Tudor female population were pregnant when they were married. Extramarital sex took place at every level of society. So, Will's wedding was more commonplace than we would be led to believe.**
They were married on the 27th of November.
The couple lived with William's parents in Stratford.
They remained there after the birth of their first child, Susanna, in 1583.
Judith and Hamnet, William and Anne's twins, were born in 1585.
Susanna, Hamnet, and Judith Shakespeare
In 1583, Shakespeare pretty much falls off the radar, beginning a time historians call "The Lost Years."
First play in 1590, the comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Over the next couple of years, six more plays written and performed.
Shakespeare's son, Hamnet, dies at age eleven. The cause is unknown. Shakespeare is away on tour during both the last days and funeral of his only son.
In 1608, Shakespeare publishes Shakespeare's sonnets, which contains the poems that lead us to believe he was involved in a messy love triangle with one of his patrons (a handsome young man) and Emilia Lanier. These were not received well; later, they would shock and disgust Victorians because of the clear homosexual undercurrents and obvious eroticism.
William Shakespeare, aged 52, died on April 23, 1616, the cause of his death unknown.
He lies in Stratford-upon-Avon, near the home where he was born and raised.
The life he lived was full (often of drama, in both the literal and the social sense), yet successful and impressive. His friend/rival Ben Johnson once said that Shakespeare was "not of an age, but for all time."
And he was so right.
Altogether, Shakespeare published a total of 37 plays and 154 sonnets, plus some additional poetry.
Today, we divide his plays into three categories.
Poking fun at love and other silly trifles. Usually, full of bawdy humor. Typically ends in a marriage or big party.
Fictionalized accounts of actual historical figures and events.
Tragic hero has a tragic flaw that leads to his downfall. Lots of people die.
Born: 1564 (Same year as Will!)
Social class was middle, like Shakespeare, but he did attend university, so he was better educated.
Writing style was innovative and popular by the 1580s. Shakespeare would have known Marlowe and was clearly influenced by his work.
Died in 1593 under mysterious circumstances. Though the coroner declared his death the result of a fight, it more likely was a murder that was a result of his big mouth when it came to government issues.
Clearly, Marlowe is Marlowe and not Shakespeare. He died, on the record, WAY too soon and had plays and poetry of his own published.
Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford:
Had a better education and knowledge of the upper classes.
Would have travelled more, so could accurately write plays set in Italy.
The poetry of De Vere sounds similar to Shakespeare’s.
There are parallels between his life and the play Hamlet.
BUT! He died in 1604, before 12 of Shakespeare’s plays were published.
He would have had no need, as an aristocrat, to write under a pseudonym.
Modern critics find NO connection between the poetry of De Vere and Shakespeare.
During this time, Shakespeare became commercially and financially successful, a big deal during this time thanks to some important people with whom he gained favor.
1. People didn't take plays seriously, but Queen Elizabeth I did enjoy the theatre...
3. Most artists and actors aren't exactly rollin in the dough, but Shakespeare made bank
2. and later, so did King James I, after whom Shakespeare's acting troupe, The King's Men, was named.
Shakespeare wasn't upper class,
had no royal connections,
and wrote for the people
who would boo and laugh and yell at the actors on stage.
Shakespeare's plays contain plenty of innuendo and bawdy humor.
So, Perhaps surprisingly to you,
4. Before his plays started raking in cash, he had patrons (pay him to write them poetry) and was an actor himself
Yet, he was a hit and his plays live on today. How did he do it?
He read A LOT.
In order to know enough about history, the courts and royals, mythology, and more, Shakespeare had to devote himself to learning as much as he could on his own.
High school dropout, remember?
So, see what READING will get you?
An awesome career, plenty of adoring fans, tons of money, and everlasting reverence for your unmatched talents.
Did you know?
Shakespeare's 400 year old plays have been adapted into many popular modern films.
The Taming of the Shrew
Romeo and Juliet
And . . .
Until he "mysteriously" wasn't
. Around the time William turned 13, his father was counted absentee at Church (which was a big deal) and incurred fines as well. He apparently mortgaged his wife's inherited farm as well, then flew under the radar for awhile. Strange for a man who was basically mayor of Stratford... hmmm....