William Shakespeare and Hamlet

By Jessica Tota

Achieve greatness, born great, or thrust upon?

William Shakespeare's Life and Times.


William Shakespeare penned 37 plays and 154 sonnets in his lifetime; a life time that coincidently began and ended on the same day (April 23rd 1564-1616).

Shakespeare acquired a formal education as a child in the Stratford area, beginning grammar school at age seven.

Merely eleven short years later, William found the love of his life, Anne Hathaway, who shockingly was twenty-six at the time. They married at the Temple Grafton on November 27th.

William and Anne had three children, Susanna (born May 26th) and Judith and Hamnet (twins born February 2nd). All of Shakespeare's children lived long and normal lives… except Hamnet. Hamnet died at age eleven due to the Black Plague.

Shakespeare began writing shortly after the death of his son; writing Henry VI, Part One in 1589/90.

From then on Shakespeare began writing and publishing numerous amounts of plays, all great in their own way.

Little is known about the death of William Shakespeare. Myths ranging from drinking too hard the night before with some friends, to contracted a disease called the "New Fever" which was a new outbreak of typhus.

He was buried on April 25th in the chancel of the Holy Trinity Church in his hometown of Stratford, Warwickshire. His gravestone reads, "Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare, To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he that moves my bones." an epitaph he supposedly wrote himself.

William Shakespeare was born great. A ladies man at only eighteen, and an inspirational playwright shortly thereafter.

"To be, or not to be: that is the question"

William Shakespeare Works.


Who is "Mr. W.H"?

Are the dedications in William Shakespeare's Sonnets intended for William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, or Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton? The common belief is that the dedication was intended for Herbert because Shakespeare may have written the seventeen sonnets at the request of Herbert's mother, the Countess of Pembroke.


Why read Shakespeare?

A classic is a novel or play that can be put into any time period and still be relevant. It is a story that never gets old, and teaches a new lesson with each read. This applies to William Shakespeare too. He is still studied and read today because he has the capability of saying the thing you want to say, but in a more eloquent way.


Who read Shakespeare, and saw his plays?

All social classes attended the plays of Shakespeare. There were designated seats where people with more money would sit, because they could afford to sit under the “roof” of the seats incase it began to rain. Lower class people would fill in the standing room area directly in front of the stage. Depending on what social class you were in that would determine how you would interpret the plays.


Does Shakespeare view women as a powerful entity?

Shakespeare likes to depict his women with a lot of power. Examples: Lady Macbeth and Juliet. Each of these women has power over the men in their lives…which is a reoccurring theme in Shakespeare’s plays.

Sadly, it is almost the opposite in Hamlet. The women are given very insignificant roles and their voices are rarely ever heard in society. An example would be how Polonius is very willing to use his daughter for his own needs.