William Shakespeare | Biography, Life, Plays, Facts & Death — What Insider
William Shakespeare (born April 23, 1564, Stratford-upon-Avon, and died on April 23, 1616, Stratford-upon-Avon) was an English playwright and poet, regarded as the most important writer in English and generally considered the most eminent playwright of western culture.
He is considered the most representative poet of the English people and nicknamed the “Bard of the Avon” (or simply “The Bard”) or the “Swan of the Avon”; of his works have been found, including some collaborations, 37 theatrical texts, 154 sonnets and a series of other poems. His plays have been translated into all the major languages of the world and have been staged more often than any other opera; he is also the most quoted writer in the history of English literature.
Although the exact chronology of his works is still at the center of numerous debates, as well as the authorship of some of them, it is possible to place with sufficient certainty the period of composition of most of his works in the approximately twenty-five years between 1588 to 1613.
Able to excel in both tragedy and comedy, he was able to combine the popular taste of his time with a complex characterization of the characters, a refined poetics, and a remarkable philosophical depth. Although he was already popular in life, he became immensely famous after his death and his works were exalted and celebrated by numerous important figures in the following centuries.
The scarcity of documents received concerning his private life has given rise to many conjectures regarding his physical appearance, his sexuality, his religious belief, and even the attribution of his works. An asteroid was dedicated to him: 2985 Shakespeare.
Quick Facts of William Shakespeare
- Known for: One of the most famous playwrights in history, who have written at least 37 plays, which are still studied and performed to date, as well as 154 sonnets, which are also highly regarded.
- Born: April 23, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon, England
- Parents: John Shakespeare, Mary Arden
- Died: April 23, 1616, in Stratford-upon-Avon, England
- Published works: “ Romeo and Juliet” (1594–1595), “A Midsummer Night’s Dream “ (1595–1596), “ Much Ado About Nothing “ (1598–1599), “Henry V” (1598–1599), “ Hamlet “ 1600–1601, “ King Lear” (1605–1606), “Macbeth” (1605–1606), “The Tempest” (1611–1612)
- Prizes and distinctions: After Shakespeare’s death, a funeral monument was erected in his honor at the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he is buried. It represents a half-effigy of the Bard in the act of writing. Many statues and monuments have been erected around the world to honor the author.
- Spouse: Anne Hathaway (M 28 November 23 1582-April 1616)
- Children: Susanna, Judith, and Hamnet (twins)
- Notable Quote: “The world is a scene, and not all men and women play it: they have their exits and their entrances, and a man in his time plays several roles, his acts being seven years old. “
William Shakespeare Biography
William Shakespeare was probably born on April 23, 1564, but this date is an assumption because we only have a record of his baptism three days later. His parents, John Shakespeare and Mary Arden were successful city folk who moved to a large house in Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, surrounding villages.
His father became a wealthy city official and his mother was from a large, respected family. It is widely believed that Shakespeare attended the local grammar school where he would have studied Latin, Greek, and classical literature. His early education must have had a huge impact on him because many of his plots are based on the classics.
At 18, on November 28, 1582, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway of Shottery who was already pregnant with their first daughter. The marriage would have been arranged quickly to avoid the shame of having a child born out of wedlock.
Shakespeare fathered three children, Susanna, born in May 1583, but conceived out of wedlock, and Judith and Hamnet, twins born in February 1585. Hamnet died in 1596, at the age of 11. Shakespeare was devastated by the death of his only son, and it is argued that “Hamlet” is proof four years later written.
William Shakespeare Theater career
At some point in the late 1580s, Shakespeare toured London for four days, and by himself had established 1592 as a writer. In 1594, an event occurred that changed the course of literary history: Shakespeare joined the acting company Richard Burbage and became its chief playwright for the next two decades.
Here, Shakespeare was able to perfect his craft, writing for a regular group of artists. Shakespeare also worked as an actor for the theater company, although the main roles were still reserved for Burbage himself.
The company has become a great success and often played before the Queen of England, Elizabeth I. In 1603, Jacques I ascended on the throne and granted his royal patronage to Shakespeare’s company, which became known by the name of men of the King.
William Shakespeare the Gentleman
Like his father, William Shakespeare had an excellent business sense. He bought the largest house in Stratford-upon-Avon by 1597, the shares held in the Globe Theater, and took advantage of some real estate transactions near Stratford-upon-Avon in 1605. Before long, Shakespeare officially became a man, partly due to his own wealth and partly due to inheriting the coat of arms from his father who died in 1601.
Homecoming and death
In 1610, William Shakespeare returned to his hometown. He had served one of his many purposes, to make a fortune, until the date of his death Shakespeare engaged in litigation with the neighbors. It did not occur to him to deliver to the printing press his vast scattered play, Shakespeare knowing that theatrical performance was true publicity, not the printing of a text.
By 1613, at the age of forty-eight, in the full power of his mental faculties and in the full prosperity of his career, Shakespeare finished the theater with the play The Tempest, which is already rich enough.
He retired to his hometown Stratford to a house called by him New-Placeporto enjoy his goods in the country stillness, where he dedicates himself body and soul to his garden, in which he planted the first mulberry cultivated in Stratford.
He died on 23 April of 1616 at fifty-two, on a date that was marked in black in the history of world literature by coincidence mourning the death of Cervantes. Shortly before dying, he had made his will; furniture and real estate are discussed, but not a single book is mentioned.
He was married to Anne until his death, they affirm that it is very possible that the English writer suffered from cancer. Shakespeare’s remains were buried in the presbytery of Stratford’s Holy Trinity Church. The honor of being buried in the chancel, near the church’s high altar, was not due to his prestige as a playwright, but to the purchase of a church tithe for £440 (a considerable sum at the time).
List of William Shakespeare plays
- Titus Andronicus (1589–1593)
- Romeo and Juliet (1594–1596)
- Julius Caesar (1599)
- Hamlet (1600–1602)
- Troilus and Cressida (1601)
- Othello (1604)
- King Lear (1605–1606)
- Timon of Athens (1605–1608)
- Macbeth (1605–1608)
- Antony and Cleopatra (1607)
- Coriolanus (1607–1608)
- Cymbeline (1609)
- Henry VI, part I (1588–1590)
- Henry VI, part II (1588–1592)
- Henry VI, part III (1588–1592)
- Richard III (1591–1592)
- Richard II (1595)
- Henry V (1598–1599)
- Henry IV, part I (1597)
- Henry IV, part II (1598)
- Henry VIII (1612–1613)
- King John (1590–1597)
- The two gentlemen of Verona (1590–1595)
- The comedy of errors (1592)
- The Taming of the Shrew (1593)
- Love’s Labour’s Lost (1593–1596)
- The merchant of Venice (1594–1597)
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595)
- Much Ado About Nothing (1598–1599)
- How you like it (1599–1600)
- Twelfth Night (1599–1601)
- The Merry Wives of Windsor (1599–1601)
- All is well that ends well (1602–1603)
- Measure by Measure (1603)
- Pericles, Prince of Tire (1607–1608)
- The Tempest (1611)
- The winter’s tale (1610–1611)
There are serious doubts about the authorship of the first on the list, Edward III. Of the latter, Henry VIII, it is believed to have been written in collaboration with John Fletcher, who replaced Shakespeare as a chief playwright for the King’s Men company.
Originally published at https://whatinsider.com on May 9, 2020.