William Shakespeare

The Biography

Biographical Background

William Shakespeare, allegedly born April 23 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon. William married Anne Hathaway on November 28 1582 at the young age of 18 years old; Anne was 26. Together, Anne and William, had 3 children. Their first child was Susanna. They later had twins, Hamnet and Judith. Sadly, Hamnet died at 11 years old from a sickness.

In London around 1588, William began to establish himself as an actor and playwright. By 1594, William was not only a successful play writer, poet and actor, he was a managing partner in the operation. His company was the most successful in London in his day.

William Shakespeare allegedly died on his birthday, April 23, 1616. He will be remembered as a "body of work that will never be equaled in western civilization".

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The Globe Theater

The Globe Theater, located in London, was one of the four major theaters in this area. This theater held a seating capacity of up to 3,000 spectators. The theater was build in 1576 by James Burbage. It would be used to host Shakespeares greatest plays.

In 1613, a tragedy happened. During the Henry VIII performance, The Globe Theater was burned down when a canon struck the building. Luckily, the theater was remade before William's death. It continued operating until 1642, when the Puritans closed it down.

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Life in Elizabethan England

William Shakespeare lived in the Elizabethan era of England. Back in the day you could buy arrows from the fletcher, drugs from the apothecary, get some dental work done at the Barber Surgeon and they had your very own household nurses that were there to take care of infants and young children.

A female servant was known as a maid. A male equivalent was known as a groom. A Steward was someone who overseas the running of estates.

The City of London wasn't all beauty. It had some grotesque things about it. There were sometimes criminals chained to the banks. The streets were slender, dated and they were slimy and wet. Unfortunately, there was no drainage. They would empty their Chamber pots, also known as jordans, out the window. That without a doubt would leave a foul smell.

Sickness in Elizabethan England

There was a sickness that went around in this era called "The bubonic plague". Also known as "The Black Death". The main way the disease was spread was through fleas that lived on animals, especially rodents. If a family member caught this deadly virus, no members of the family were allowed to leave the house and no one was allowed to enter. The house would be locked and bolted from the outside to insure of this.

Since no one could leave the house if a family member was sick, watchmen would put food in baskets that were lowered from a window in the house.

This sickness was so serious that outbreaks of the disease would occur and it forced the Theater to close three times, in 1593, 1603, and 1608.

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William Shakespeare Plays

There were three themes to William's plays; History, Tragedy and Comedy. He made 10 Historic plays, one of them being "Richard II". 10 Tragic plays were made, one of them being "King Lear". There were 17 Comic plays made, one of them being "As you like it". A famous play that might ring a bell would be Romeo and Juliet, which would fall under the Tragedy theme.

Concordance of Shakespeare's Complete Works

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, vainess, babbling, drunkenness

or any taint of vice whose strong corruption

Inhabits our frail blood.

In my opinion, I think that Shakespeare is trying to explain how he very much dislikes when a person has a lack of appreciation, or thanklessness more than any other imperfection in ones personality. The word "frail" itself means weak and delicate. I think he is trying to say that we are all human and we all feel something, the least you could do is be grateful for what you have and what people give you.