Shakespeare is considered to be the greatest playwright ofall time. No other writer’s plays have been produced so many times orread so widely in so many countries as his. Shakespeare was born to middle class parents. His father,John, was a Stratford businessman.
He was a glove maker who owned aleather shop. John Shakespeare was a well known and respected manin the town. He held several important local governmental positions. William Shakespeare’s mother was Mary Arden. Though she was thedaughter of a local farmer, she was related to a family ofconsiderable wealth and social standing. Mary Arden and JohnShakespeare were married in 1557.
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford in 1564. He was oneof eight children. The Shakespeare’s were well respected prominentpeople. When William Shakespeare was about seven years old, heprobably began attending the Stratford Grammar School with otherboys of his social class. Students went to school year roundattending school for nine hours a day. The teachers were strictdisciplinarians.
Though Shakespeare spent long hours at school, his boyhood wasprobably fascinating. Stratford was a lively town and duringholidays, it was known to put on pageants and many popular shows. Italso held several large fairs during the year. Stratford was aexciting place to live. Stratford also had fields and woodssurrounding it giving William the opportunity to hunt and trap smallgame. The River Avon which ran through the town allowed him to fishalso.
Shakespeare’s’ poems and plays show his love of nature andrural life which reflects his childhood. On November 28, 1582, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway ofthe neighboring village of Shottery. She was twenty-six, and he wasonly eighteen at the time. They had three children. Susana was theirfirst and then they had twins, Hamnet and Judith.
Hamnet,Shakespeare’s son, died in 1596. In 1607, his daughter Susana gotmarried. Shakespeare’s other daughter, Judith, got married in 1616. In London, Shakespeare’s career took off.
It is believed thathe may have become well known in London theatrical life by 1592. Bythat time, he had joined one of the city’s repertory theatercompanies. These companies were made up of a permanent cast of actorswho presented different plays week after week. The companies werecommercial organizations that depended on admission from theiraudience. Scholars know that Shakespeare belonged to one of the mostpopular acting companies in London called The Lord Chamberlain’sMen. Shakespeare was a leading member of the group from 1594 forthe rest of his career.
By 1594, at least six of Shakespeare’s playshad been produced. During Shakespeare’s life, there were two monarchs who ruledEngland. They were Henry the eighth and Elizabeth the first. Bothwere impressed with Shakespeare which made his name known. Thereis evidence that he was a member of a traveling theater group, and aschoolmaster. In 1594, he became an actor and playwright for LordChamberlain’s Men.
In 1599, he became a part owner of the prosperousGlobe Theater. He also was a part owner of the Blackfriars Theater asof 1609. Shakespeare retired to Stratford in 1613 where he wrote manyof his excellent plays. There are many reasons as to why William Shakespeare is sofamous. He is generally considered to be both the greatest dramatistthe world has ever known as well as the finest poet who has written inthe English language.
Many reasons can be given for Shakespeare’senormous appeal. His fame basically is from his great understandingof human nature. He was able to find universal human qualities andput them in a dramatic situation creating characters that aretimeless. Yet he had the ability to create characters that are highlyindividual human beings.
Their struggles in life are universal. Sometimes they are successful and sometimes their lives are full ofpain, suffering, and failure. In addition to his understanding and realistic view of humannature, Shakespeare had a vast knowledge of a variety of subjects. These subjects include music, law, Bible, stage, art, politics,history, hunting, and sports.
Shakespeare had a tremendous influenceon culture and literature throughout the world. He contributedgreatly to the development of the English language. Many words andphrases from Shakespeare’s plays and poems have become part of ourspeech. Shakespeare’s plays and poems have become a required part ofeducation in the United States. Therefore, his ideas on subjects suchas romantic love, heroism, comedy, and tragedy have helped shape theattitudes of millions of people. His portrayal of historical figuresand events have influenced our thinking more than what has beenwritten in history books.
The world has admired and respected manygreat writers, but only Shakespeare has generated such enormouscontinuing interest. My source states explanations rather thanopinions on why Shakespeare’s contributions to literature are so vast. My source devoted thirty pages to William Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s plays are usually divided into three majorcategories.
These are comedy, tragedy, and history. Three playswhich are in the category of comedy are “The Comedy of Errors”, “TheTaming of the Shrew”, and “The Two Gentlemen of Verone”. Threeplays which are in the category of tragedy are “Romeo and Juliet”,“Titus Andronicus”, and “Julius Caesar”. In the category of history,three plays are “Henry V”, “Richard II”, and “Richard III”.