⚡ William Shakespeare Background

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William Shakespeare Background



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After the birth of his twins in , Shakespeare disappeared from public record until , when his works began appearing on the London stage. These seven years are known as "Shakespeare's Lost Years," and have been the source of various stories that remain unverified, including a salacious story involving Shakespeare escaping Stratford prosecution for deer poaching. This story, among others, are solely entertainment and are not considered as part of the canon that makes up the playwright's personal life. William Shakespeare first made his appearance on the London stage, where his plays would be written and performed, around , although the exact date is unknown.

He was, however, well known enough to be attacked by critics in newspapers, and thus was considered to be already an established playwright. After the year , Shakespeare's plays were solely performed by a company owned by a group of actors known as the Lord Chamberlain's Men, which became London's leading company. After Queen Elizabeth's death in , the company was given a royal patent that renamed it the King's Men, named so after King James I.

Shakespeare, along with a group of players that acted in his play, created his own theatre on the River Thames in and named it the Globe Theatre. After that, a record of property purchases and investments made by Shakespeare showed the playwright had become a very wealthy man, so much so that he bought properties in London and Stratford for himself and his family, as he spent most of his time in London. It was in that the first known quartos of Shakespeare's plays were published, solidifying his reputation by when his name became the selling point in new productions.

This led to his success as both an actor on stage and a playwright, and his name was published on the title page of his plays. Shakespeare continued to work with his company of men at the Globe Theatre until around , the year that he retired from working on the stage. He, however, continued to support the Globe Theatre, including buying apartments for playwrights and actors to live in, all of which were near to the theatre.

Shakespeare retired from public life in , right after the bubonic plague began to subside its attack on London. This act was unusual for the time, but he was by no means less active. In fact, the playwright continued to make frequent trips to London to collaborate with other playwrights, such as John Fletcher, and to spend time with his son-in-law John Hall, who married his elder daughter Susanna in The playwright was an active dramatist and writer up until when the last of his great works was finished.

From then on, Shakespeare spent most of his time in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he had purchased the second-largest home in town for his family. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. William Shakespeare died on April 23, , and was buried at the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford two days later, with a curse written on his tombstone to ward off those who would disturb his bones.

He was 52 years old at the time of his death and was survived by his wife, Anna, and their two daughters. There are no direct descendants from Shakespeare's line, as both daughters had children who did not make it to adulthood. Shakespeare was noted both for poetry and plays, with both mediums serving different needs; the plays were related to the theatrical fashion that was on trend while his poetry served to provide storytelling in erotic or romantic ways, culminating in a canon of work that is as diverse in language as the issues of human nature that the works portray.

William Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays that scholars know of, with most of them labeled is comedies, histories, or tragedies. The most serious and intense skepticism began in the 19th century when adoration for Shakespeare was at its highest. The detractors believed that the only hard evidence surrounding Shakespeare from Stratford-upon-Avon described a man from modest beginnings who married young and became successful in real estate. Members of the Shakespeare Oxford Society founded in put forth arguments that English aristocrat and poet Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, was the true author of the poems and plays of "William Shakespeare. The Oxfordians cite de Vere's extensive knowledge of aristocratic society, his education, and the structural similarities between his poetry and that found in the works attributed to Shakespeare.

They contend that Shakespeare had neither the education nor the literary training to write such eloquent prose and create such rich characters. However, the vast majority of Shakespearean scholars contend that Shakespeare wrote all his own plays. They point out that other playwrights of the time also had sketchy histories and came from modest backgrounds. They contend that Stratford's New Grammar School curriculum of Latin and the classics could have provided a good foundation for literary writers.

Supporters of Shakespeare's authorship argue that the lack of evidence about Shakespeare's life doesn't mean his life didn't exist. They point to evidence that displays his name on the title pages of published poems and plays. Royal records from show that Shakespeare was recognized as a member of the King's Men theater company and a Groom of the Chamber by the court of King James I, where the company performed seven of Shakespeare's plays. There is also strong circumstantial evidence of personal relationships by contemporaries who interacted with Shakespeare as an actor and a playwright. What seems to be true is that Shakespeare was a respected man of the dramatic arts who wrote plays and acted in some in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

But his reputation as a dramatic genius wasn't recognized until the 19th century. Beginning with the Romantic period of the early s and continuing through the Victorian period, acclaim and reverence for Shakespeare and his work reached its height. In the 20th century, new movements in scholarship and performance have rediscovered and adopted his works. Today, his plays are highly popular and constantly studied and reinterpreted in performances with diverse cultural and political contexts. The genius of Shakespeare's characters and plots are that they present real human beings in a wide range of emotions and conflicts that transcend their origins in Elizabethan England. We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!

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Their daughter Elizabeth, Shakespeare's first grandchild, was born in In , just months before his death, Shakespeare's daughter Judith married Thomas Quiney, a Stratford vintner. The family subsequently died out, leaving no direct descendants of Shakespeare. For several years after Judith and Hamnet's arrival in , nothing is known for certain of Shakespeare's activities: how he earned a living, when he moved from Stratford, or how he got his start in the theater.

Following this gap in the record, the first definite mention of Shakespeare is in as an established London actor and playwright, mocked by a contemporary as a "Shake-scene. The next year, in , Shakespeare published a long poem, Venus and Adonis. The first quarto editions of his early plays appeared in For more than two decades, Shakespeare had multiple roles in the London theater as an actor, playwright, and, in time, a business partner in a major acting company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men renamed the King's Men in Over the years, he became steadily more famous in the London theater world; his name, which was not even listed on the first quartos of his plays, became a regular feature—clearly a selling point—on later title pages.

On Shakespeare Documented: Primary-source materials relating to Shakespeare as a playwright, actor, and shareholder. Shakespeare prospered financially from his partnership in the Lord Chamberlain's Men later the King's Men , as well as from his writing and acting. He invested much of his wealth in real-estate purchases in Stratford and bought the second-largest house in town, New Place , in Among the last plays that Shakespeare worked on was The Two Noble Kinsmen , which he wrote with a frequent collaborator, John Fletcher, most likely in He died on April 23, —the traditional date of his birthday, though his precise birthdate is unknown.

We also do not know the cause of his death. His brother-in-law had died a week earlier, which could imply infectious disease, but Shakespeare's health may have had a longer decline. The memorial bust of Shakespeare at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford is considered one of two authentic likenesses, because it was approved by people who knew him. The bust in the Folger's Paster Reading Room, shown at left, is a copy of this statue. The other such likeness is the engraving by Martin Droeshout in the First Folio edition of Shakespeare's plays, produced seven years after his death by his friends and colleagues from the King's Men.

On Shakespeare Documented: Original copy of Shakespeare's last will and testament. On Shakespeare Documented: A timeline of Shakespeare's life.

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