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Detail of Biography - William Shakespeare
Name :
William Shakespeare
Date :
Views :
533
Category :
Birth Date :
23/04/1564
Birth Place :
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, near London, England.
Death Date :
April 23, 1616
Biography - William Shakespeare
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The seventies of sixteenth century were stirring times in the little world of theatre. The medieval miracle plays were occasionally performed in the traditional manner. In schools and at the university, boys and young men were producing Latin plays in their dining halls. Only small companies of players were retained to perform them, mainly in the Christmas season. Overall, the drama was in a sorry state. Actors were treated as rogues and vagabonds, as many of them were, and there were no public theatres. It was during such times that Shakespeare came into the scene.[br /]
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William Shakespeare was born to Mary Arden and John Shakespeare on April 23, 1564, in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, England. His parents, as history suggests, could not read or write. On the third day after his birth, ‘Gulielmus filius Johannes Shakespeare’ was christened in the parish church of Holy Trinity.[br /]
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William was third of eight children and received a free boyhood education because of his father’s position as an Alderman. The Shakespeare's were comfortable but not highly affluent by any means. As a kid, Shakespeare enjoyed football and field sports.[br /]
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William had before him his father’s success and the standing of his mother as a gentlewoman to ignite his own ambition. It was while he was young that his father was at the height of his influence.[br /]
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It is supposed that he attended the King Edward VI Grammar School in Stratford, which still flourishes today at the same site. For the sons of burgesses the education was free up to the age of 16, and moreover it was one of the best schools in the country. Here, his education consisted of a thorough knowledge of Latin, Logic and Rhetoric and also History, which was mainly classical. This curriculum was intended to induce mental precision and an awareness of intellectual truth in order to form and extend the mind.[br /]
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Just at this time, the fortunes of his father mysteriously failed. He had financial difficulties, which led him to default on his attendance at council meetings, and resulted in the mortgaging of his wife’s farm at Wilmcote, a loss that must have been sorely felt by the family.
By the time William was fifteen, the family’s fortunes were on decline and it was the main reason that William had to work for a living.[br /]
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In later life Shakespeare was to prove an admirable man of affairs, but as a boy he was frustrated by the routine of business. Yet he found some time for his adolescent scribbling, no doubt songs, sonnets and blank verse in the manner of Wyatt and Surry.[br /]
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By eighteen, he was involved in a relationship with Anne Hathaway, daughter of a Yeoman Farmer at Hewlands Farm, Shottery and had to be married by special license, possibly at Temple Grafton Church. She was eight years senior to William and already three months pregnant. There has been speculation that the match was not perfect, but he remained loyal to her throughout his life, returning regularly each year to visit the family. Susanna Shakespeare was born the following May and twins Judith and Hamnet in February, twenty months later, before William was even twenty-one.[br /]
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Between 1585 and 1592 there is considerable doubt about Shakespeare’s actions. This period in his life is known as "the lost years" and numerous theories abound as to what he did then. It is possible that he became a teacher for a while or even that he was associated with the law, as several of his plays reveal a detailed working knowledge of the law, but at some stage it is probable that he left Stratford and attached himself to a company of actors under patronage, possibly of Lord Strange’s Men. Why he left his family so suddenly cannot be explained. To escape the consequences, it is said that he ran away to London, though this is probably a fanciful tale.[br /]
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[b]AUTUMN OF THE BARD'S LIFE[/b][br /]
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The latter part of his life was well spent, as all men of good sense will wish theirs may be; he had the good fortune to gather, an estate equal to his occasion, to his wish; which is where he is said to have spent some years before his death at his native Stratford. His pleasurable wit, and good nature, engaged him in acquaintance with many. Amongst them, he had a particular intimacy with Mr. Combe, an old gentleman noted thereabouts for his wealth and usury. It happened, that in a pleasant conversation amongst their common friends, Mr. Combe told Shakespeare in a laughing manner, that he fancied, he intended to write his epitaph, if he happened to out-live him; and since he could not know what might be said of him when he was dead, he desired that it might be done immediately : Upon which Shakespeare gave him these four verses.[br /]
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Ten in the Hundred lies here ingraved,[br /]

‘Tis a Hundred to Ten, his Soul is not saved :[br /]

If any Man ask, who lies in this Tomb ?[br /]

Oh ! ho ! quoth the Devil, ‘tis my John-a-Combe.[br /]
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But the sharpness of the satire is said to have stung the man so severely, that he never forgave Shakespeare for it.[br /]
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He had three daughters, of which two lived to be married; Judith, the elder, to one Mr. Thomas Quiney and Susannah, who was his favorite, to Dr. John Hall, a physician of good reputation in that country.[br /]
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His son-in-law, Dr. Hall attended him, but the nature of his illness remains a mystery. John Ward, a Stratford vicar wrote that "Shakespeare, Drayton and Ben Johnson had a merry meeting and the drinking proved too hard for Shakespeare who died of a fever which he contracted."[br /]
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[b]HIS FORAY INTO THEATRICALS[/b][br /]
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Shakespeare’s initial contribution to the theatre was to hold the horses outside but it was not long before he became involved in the plays themselves. By the end of 1592, he had gained a reputation for both acting and writing, for he was termed "an upstart crow" in a publication circulated at the time and was already an important member of the theatre company then based at The Rose Theatre in Southwark, London. After the sudden death of his main rival Christopher Marlowe in a tavern brawl in 1593, Shakespeare furthered his writing career without undue competition.[br /]
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Shakespeare’s early playwriting was interrupted by the plague in London, due to which the theatres were closed. Under the generous and prestigious patronage of Henry Wriothesley, the Earl of Southampton, Shakespeare wrote his two narrative poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. Venus and Adonis, proved to be so popular that it went through nine editions in as many years. By 1594 he was back in the world of the theatre, as part of The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, which had taken on the patronage of Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon, the Lord Chamberlain, after the death of Lord Strange, this company performed now at the Theatre at Shoreditch, outside London. Shakespeare’s associates in The Lord Chamberlain’s Men included the actor Richard Burbage, who had done more than anyone to raise the profile of the theatrical profession and its respectability.[br /]
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After Lord Chamberlain Cobham’s death, when there were problems with the lease, his son, Lord Chamberlain Hunsdon took down the Theatre and rebuilt it on a site not far from The Rose, where it was known as The Globe, immortalized by Shakespeare as the "Wooden O" in Henry V. Shakespeare remained with the same theatre company throughout his working life, although its title altered according to patronage, culminating in The King’s Men in 1603.[br /]
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The prestigious patrons had brought Shakespeare’s social influence and his prodigious output of plays, popularity and fame. The Lord Chamberlain’s Men organized their business dealings in a innovative way; the six most important members of the company (later the number was as high as twelve) including Shakespeare, owned a share in the property and received money from the performances. The more successful their theatre, the more they gained financially and in this way Shakespeare began to accumulate wealth. Like his father, he invested in property both in London and Stratford-upon-Avon.[br /]
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In August 1596, however, Shakespeare’s life was disturbed by family tragedy. His only son Hamnet died of plague at the age of eleven. Shakespeare’s grief may be visible in King John, but he continued to build his reputation. The following year in 1597, he purchased New Place in Stratford as his principal residence. This beautiful timber-framed three-stored house, the second largest in Stratford, had been built by the wealthy Clopton family and had five gables, fine gardens, orchards and land which stretched down towards the River Avon.[br /]
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It stood opposite the Guild Chapel on Chapel Street at the centre of the town and the world could clearly see that William Shakespeare was now a man of substance. It was to this comfortable and prestigious place that Shakespeare retired in 1614.[br /]
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[b]DISTRIBUTION OF HIS LEGACY[/b][br /]
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Whatever be the cause of Shakespeare’s death, we find him calling for his attorney to revise his Will on March 25 (new years day, old style) of 1616. The marriage of his daughter Judith to the unsavory Thomas Quincy made need of amendments. The Will is, as G.E. Bentley says, "a characteristic Will of a man of property in the reign of James I."[br /]
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It is often wondered that no books or play scripts are mentioned in the Will, but of course, Shakespeare would have owned no play scripts, since they were the property of The King’s Men. Any books would not have been itemized in the Will but would have been part of his "goods."[br /]
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Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616 and was buried in the chapel of Holy Trinity Church on April 25. On the slab over his grave appear the words :[br /]
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[b]GOOD FRIEND FOR JESUS SAKE FORBEAR,[br /]

TO DIG THE DUST ENCLOSED HERE.[br /]

BLEST HE THE MAN THAT SPARES THESE STONES,[br /]

AND CAUSED BE HE WHO MOVES MY BONES.
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His wishes have been honored, at least by men, though the grave is near Avon and work of the river underground may have had no respect for the curse. A painted funerary bust was also erected in the church early in the seventeenth century that has lasted till date.[br /]
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The Bard of Avon, as he was known, is still famous in this era more than four hundred years after his birth. He is the synonym of poetry. The great poet and playwright rose to fame from a relatively obscure background. He enriched the literary world by his masterpieces. He is certainly the world’s most read author and perhaps the most performed dramatist.[br /]
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Shakespeare not only wrote poetry but also was a dramatist par excellence. He created such real life characters that it is hard to believe that they were meant for the stage. He put so much magic into words that the spell his words were enthralling to one and all.[br /]
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Although, Shakespeare remains elusive, changing subtly from one character to another, his spirit permeates the plays. We read them not only for the poetry and the characters portrayed there, but also for the very human element inherent in them. We read them for the genial wisdom, gaiety and wit. Shakespeare still evokes in us a certain thirst for the dramatic element, that dash of sugar and spice and everything nice. His status shall remain unparalleled in the history of Literature.[br /]
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[b]April 23, 1564[/b] William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, near London, England.[br /]
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[b]1564[/b] William Shakespeare christened in Stratford Church on April 26.[br /]
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[b]Nov. 27, 1582[/b] Marriage license to William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway.[br /]
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[b]1583[/b] First child Susanna christened at Stratford on May 26.[br /]
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[b]1585[/b] Twins, Hamnet and Judith Christened at Stratford on February 2.[br /]
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[b]1587[/b] Moved to London, leaving his family at Stratford. Established as an actor and playwright.[br /]
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[b]1592[/b] By the end of the year, he had written the three parts of Henry VI and made a considerable reputation as a dramatist.[br /]
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[b]April 18, 1593[/b] Registration of his first work Venus and Adonis.[br /]
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[b]1594[/b] The Lord Chamberlain’s Company formed. Shakespeare joined the Company. Litus Andronicus was performed on January 24, becoming the first of Shakespeare’s plays to be published.[br /]
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[b]Jan. 24, 1594[/b] Titus Andronicus was first performed[br /]
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[b]March 12, 1594[/b] Registration of Henry VI, Part II[br /]
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[b]May 9, 1594[/b] The Rape of Lucrece was registered[br /]
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[b]Dec. 28, 1594[/b] Comedy of Errors was first performed at Gray’s Inn[br /]
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[b]1596[/b] Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son aged 11, died of plague on August 11. Lord Chamberlain Cobham died. The second Lord Chamberlain Hunsdon was appointed to the vacant office.[br /]
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[b]May 4, 1597[/b] Shakespeare buys New Place, a lovely home in Stratford.[br /]
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[b]Aug. 29, 1597[/b] Richard II was registered.[br /]
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[b]Oct. 20, 1597[/b] Richard III was registered.[br /]
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[b]July 22, 1598[/b] The Merchant of Venice was registered.[br /]
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[b]Feb. 25, 1598[/b] Henry IV, Part I, was registered.[br /]
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[b]Feb. 21, 1599[/b] The Globe Shareholders, including Shakespeare, sign a lease to build the theatre.[br /]
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[b]Aug. 23, 1600[/b] Henry IV, Part 2, registered.[br /]
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[b]Oct. 8, 1600[/b] A Midsummer Night’s Dream was registered.[br /]
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[b]Feb. 7, 1601[/b] Richard II was performed for the first time.[br /]
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[b]Sept. 8, 1601[/b] Shakespeare’s father, John, was buried.[br /]
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[b]Jan. 18, 1602[/b] The Merry Wives of Windsor was registered.[br /]
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[b]Feb. 2, 1602[/b] Twelfth Night was performed for the first time.[br /]
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[b]1603[/b] The Lord Chamberlain’s Men became The King’s Men, who performed at Court more than any other company.[br /]
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[b]1604[/b] Othello, The Merry Wives of Windsor and Measure for Measure were performed at Court.[br /]
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[b]1606[/b] King Lear was performed at Court on December 26.[br /]
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[b]Jan. 22, 1607[/b] Taming of the Shrew was registered.[br /]
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[b]1607[/b] Sausanna married Dr. John Hall, a physician in Stratford on June 5.[br /]
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[b]Dec. 31, 1607[/b] Shakespeare’s brother Edmund was buried[br /]
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[b]May 20, 1608[/b] Anthony and Cleopetra, Pericles, Prince of Tyre were registered.[br /]
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[b]Sept. 9, 1608[/b] Shakespeare’s mother, Marry, was cremated.[br /]
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[b]May 20, 1609[/b] The Sonnets are registered.[br /]
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[b]1611[/b] The Tempest performed on November 1, and The Winter's Tale on November 5, both at Court.[br /]
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[b]1612 – 1616[/b] Shakespeare retired from London life and moved to Stratford.[br /]
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[b]March 1616[/b] Shakespeare fell ill.[br /]
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[b]April 23, 1616[/b] William Shakespeare died at Stratford.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] What’s there in a name.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] Be not be afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] No legacy is so rich as honesty.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] The fashion wears out more apparel than the man.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinity variety : other women cloy the appetites they feed, but she makes hungry where most she satisfies.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] I had rather than forty shillings I had my Book of Songs and Sonnets here.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods;[br /]

They kill us for their sport.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man,
If with his tongue he cannot win a woman.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] The miserable have no other medicine,
But only hope.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] Virtue id bold, and goodness never fearful[br /]
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[b]•[/b] Every true man’s apparel fits your thief.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] A forted residence ‘gaints the tooth of time
And razure of oblivion.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] Truth is truth

To the end of reckoning.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] At tu Brutus, (then fall Caesar).[br /]
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[b]•[/b] Let’s go hand in hand, not one before another.[br /]
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