William Shakespeare

The greatest writer in the English language

Biographical Background

William Shakespeare was allegedly born in Stratford-upon-Avon on April 23rd, 1564. The well known poet, actor, and playwright married Anne Hathaway on November 28th, 1582 at the young age of 18, Anne being 26. The couple had three children together; Susanna, their first born, then fraternal twins Hamnet and Judith. Unfortuanately, Hamnet Shakespeare passed away at the early age of 11.

William began a career in acting and commenced to establish himself as a playwright at around age 24 in the city of London. He was also part-owner of a playing company, "The Lord Chamberlain's Men". William experienced a great amount of success at such a young age due to his excellent work and art, along with his company.

William Shakespeare is belived to have passed away on April 23rd, 1616 at age 52. William left us with pieces of art that will never be forgotten, that are still studied and performed to this day. His legacy will live on forever, as he is commemorated for being "a body of work that will never be equaled in Western civilization".

The Globe Theatre

The Globe Theatre was built by James Burbage in 1576. Situated in the city of London, this theatre was established with the help of William. Among four other main theatres, this was one of the largest in the area. The Globe Theatre could hold up to 3,000 viewers, which was essential for the large crowds interested in watching some of Shakespeare's finest plays.

In the year 1616, as "Henry VIII" was being performed, a canon was shot at the building. Sadly, the Globe Theatre set fire and burnt down. Although the theatre was rebuilt and plays were continuing to be performed, the theatre was shut down and closed forever by the Puritans in 1642.

Life during the Elizabethan Era

The Elizabethan era was a very different time period than what we live in today. Weapons such as arrows were available to purchase from the fletcher in the area, and drugs were accessible through the town apothecary. If dental aid was necessary, people would visit the Barber Surgeon for extended medical treatment. Nurses were sent to various households if parents needed extra assistance with their infants and young children. Both males and females were employed as servants, the males being referred to as "grooms". The stewards would administer property, finances, etc.

The streets of London were also gruesome at times. Being described as narrow, cobbled, slippery and wet with slime, you can assume how frequently disgusted citizens were. Chamber pots were emptied out the windows and there was no drainage in the streets, leaving an extremely foul smell and triggering the sickness of others.

The main pandemic of this era was the bubonic plague, also known as the "Black Death". This illness was spread by the transmission of fleas on animals, mainly rodents. If a family member caught the virus, they would be sealed from the house which was locked and bolted from the outside, preventing anyone to leave or enter the building. In order to recieve food, baskets were lowered out of a window and filled by the watchmen. The theatre was obligated to close three seperate times due to serious outbreaks of the disease, in 1593, 1603, and 1608.

Famous Shakespearean Plays

William Shakespeare wrote plays in three main categories; History, Tragedy, and Comedy. He had written 10 history related plays, one including "King John", 10 tragedy related plays, including the very popular "Romeo and Juliet, and 17 plays with a comical theme, including "Winter's Tale".

The Language of Shakespeare

Twelfth Night

Line 1905

I know of none;

Nor know I you by voice or any feature:

I hate ingratitude more in a man

Than lying, vainness, babbling, drunkeness,

Or any taint of vice whose strong corruption

Inhabits our frail blood

I believe these lines signify an explanation of one's absolute hatred and disgust towards people who are not grateful and take things for granted, perhaps even through a confrontation between two people. The personality trait of ingratitude is compared to lying and vainness which are also two very negative characteristics, which demonstrates that the speaker is very strong minded and believes in their opinion.