William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, a quiet market town on
April 23, 1564.
He was baptized at Holy Trinity Church on April 26,1564.
William Shakespeare was the third of eight children born to Mary Arden and
John Shakespeare, but he was the first of their children to survive past infancy.
Three of the children died in there youth
The Stratford of William Shakespeare’s childhood was a peaceful town
surrounded by farms, woods, fields, and the flow of the river Avon.
William attended his first professional theater performance at the age of eleven.
All of these performances had an impact on the early development of William’s
dramatic and poetic interests.
His father, John Shakespeare, had a remarkable run of
success as a tradesman, alderman, and high bailiff(mayor) of
Stratford. He was a glover(maker of gloves and leather
His mother, Mary Arden, was a local heiress.
She was a woman who inherits or has a right of inheritance.
4. The family home
Shakespeare’s birthplace has been restored and
turned into a museum.
William Shakespeare’s birthplace was on Henley
Street, where his father had lived for several years.
John was married to Mary Arden, a wealthy
5. Shakespeare’s schooldays
At the age of five, Shakespeare began attending school six days a week at King
Edward VI Grammar School.
The long school day began around seven in the morning and ended around
five at night.
At school, boys studied mostly Latin.
Shakespeare was removed from school to serve in his father’s glove-making
business at the age of fifteen.
He did not go to a university, but he read what books he could get hold of in
his spare time.
William didn’t spend all of his teenage years working. He found time for play
and romance in Stratford, attracting the woman who was soon to become his
6. Married Life
When William was eighteen years old, he married Anne Hathaway, who was eight
years older than him and pregnant.
The marriage was a hurried affair, taking place in secret rather than in a public
At the age of twenty, Shakespeare had a wife and three children to provide for.
Six months after their marriage, in May of 1583, their first child, Susanna, was born.
Two years later, William and Anne welcomed twins, a girl and a boy, into their family.
The girl, Judith, was a healthy child, but the boy, Hamnet, did not live through his later
Shakespeare would see his wife and children little in the next eleven years, most likely
visiting only once a year.
7. Buying a New Place
Shakespeare bought a large, expensive Stratford house, “New
Place”, in 1597. It was the second largest house in Stratford.
This was quite early in his career. He was still working in
London most of the time, but it gave his wife and children
their own home, and proved to everyone that Shakespeare
had paid off all his family’s debts.
At the end of his career, Shakespeare retired to Stratford and
lived at New Place until he died in 1616.
William Shakespeare is the most influential writer in the world, but he left us
no journals or letters, however, he left us only his poems and his plays.
He had an ability to capture the interests and imaginations of playgoers of
Shakespeare had became an actor and playwright in 1592.
The theater was divided into higher-priced balcony seats and the cheap floor
space, where the groundlings stood.
Shakespeare’s plays had a darling mixture of violence and romance, and
Shakespeare’s words brought his audiences straight into the heart of each and
As a playwright, he mad little money for the writing he did, and he made even
less money for his acting.
Shakespeare became part owner of London’s Globe Theater, which became
the home of The Lord Chamberlain’s Men.
9. Later Life
At the age of 46, Shakespeare moved back to Stratford as a
He continued to write plays and hold his connections to the
Globe Theater, but in 1613, the Globe Theater burned down,
indicating Shakespeare’s retirement from the theater.
Shakespeare entertained Ben Jonson and the poet Michael
Brayton one night in April 1616. They had a entertaining
time together, drinking wine, eating, and laughing about
Soon after that night, Shakespeare felt ill.
He died on his birthday, April 23, at the age of 52, and was
buried two days later inside the chancel of the Holy Trinity
Church in Stratford.
By the time of his death at age fifty-two, Shakespeare had
produced nearly 40 plays and more than 150 sonnets. He had
earned a good reputation as a poet of the people.
Shakespeare's first plays were written in the conventional style of the day
later he began to adapt the traditional styles.
Shakespeare combined the two throughout his career.
Shakespeare's standard poetic form was blank verse.
Once Shakespeare mastered traditional blank verse, he began to add new
power and flexibility in plays such as Julius Caesar and Hamlet.
The late romances, inspired a last poetic style in which long and short
sentences are set against one another, clauses are piled up, subject and
object are reversed, and words are omitted, creating an effect of
Like all playwrights of the time, he dramatised stories from sources such
as Plutarch and Holinshed.
13. Critical Reputation
Ben Jonson said about Shakespeare that, "He was not of an age, but for all time".
John Dryden rated Shakespeare saying, “I love Shakespeare".
During the Romantic era, Shakespeare was praised by Samuel Taylor Coleridge; and the critic
August Wilhelm Schlegel translated his plays in the spirit of German Romanticism.
Essayist Thomas Carlyle wrote that, " King Shakespeare does not he shine, in crowned
sovereignty, over us all, as the noblest, gentlest, yet strongest of rallying signs;
The poet and critic T. S. Eliot said Shakespeare's "primitiveness" in fact made him truly
Eliot, along with G. Wilson Knight and the school of New Criticism, led a movement towards
a closer reading of Shakespeare's imagery.
In the 1950s, a wave of new critical approaches replaced modernism and paved the way for
"post-modern" studies of Shakespeare.
By the 1980s, Shakespeare studies were open to movements such as structuralism, feminism,
New Historicism, African American studies, and queer studies.