William Shakespeare Biography / Autobiography / Memoir resources

Full Name: Mr. William Shakespeare
Date of Birth: April 23, 1564
Place of Birth: Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England
Died: April 23, 1616
Place of Death: Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England
Classification: Artists & Entertainers


Short Biography of William Shakespeare

After attending the King Edward VI Grammar School, William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway who was eight years older. Some records indicate that Anne was eight years older than Shakespeare and three months pregnant when they wed. The two had three children. The first was Susanna in 1583, and fraternal twins in 1585, a boy who later died at age 11 named Hamnet, and Judith.

Strangely, little is known about Shakespeare from the mid to late 1580s and into the 1590s. It is known; however, that he and his family moved to London where he held a prominent rank in the theatrical scene and gained immense popularity and wealth. Not only was he the writer of his plays, but an actor and a part-owner of his own play company who dubbed themselves “The Lord Chamberlain’s Men” after their sponsor, Lord Chamberlain.

In 1603, Shakespeare’s company was taken under the wing of King James I. Following, the theater group was called “The King’s Men”. With such financial backing and a growing number of theatergoers from different social levels who enjoyed his diverse works, Shakespeare’s fame grew immensely throughout London.

Not until after his death was Shakespeare considered the greatest playwright and poet in the history of the English language. With dramatic works such as Romeo and Juliet and King Lear, it is no surprise that his texts have been translated worldwide. But, Shakespeare’s greatness might stem from his ability to cross genres and produce works in comedy such as A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream, history such as in Hamlet, and romance (or fantasy-like), such as in The Tempest. Some of his works also include those labeled problem-plays or tragi-comedies due to the difficulty of labeling them under one strict genre.

No other playwright was able to develop plot, characterization, theme, and especially irony as William Shakespeare. In his works, the characters are human, real, and problematic. He leaves room for interpretation and explores the gray area where the line between good and bad is not distinct. In Macbeth, for example, Shakespeare explores the eerie occurrences when man tries to avoid his own fate. His works are enjoyable and give even the best scholars deep points to consider.

William Shakespeare’s poems are arranged in collections of sonnets, which were actually published during his lifetime. In his sonnets, he explores life, death, love, and human beauty and fragility. Interestingly, out of 144 total sonnets, 126 of them are written to a young man, which modern interpretations allude to a love and admiration beyond friendship. But, this point has been debated among scholars throughout time – whether the young man was more than a friend may never be known.

With all that is unknown about Shakespeare’s life, many such scholars have even debated whether Shakespeare actually authored his works. This debate has lost backing though, as all the evidence is suggestive in nature. Other Shakespearian experts have written biographies about him where they explore such accusations. One aspect; however, is certain – William Shakespeare’s plays are the most performed and his works the most read and discussed in the entire canon of English Literature.
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