William Shakespeare


Biographical Background

William Shakespeare was allegedly born on April 23, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon. Shakespeare be wedded 26 year old Anne Hathaway on November 28, 1582 at the young age of 18. Together they had three children, Susanne the oldest was born on May 26, 1583. Two years later on February 2, 1585 they had twins, Hamnet and Judith. Unfortunately, Hamnet passed away at the young age of 11 on August 11, 1596.

In 1588 Shakespeare began to establish himself as an actor and playwright and helped establish The Globe Theatre in London. By 1594, he was not only successful in acting and writing plays, but he was as well a managing partner in the operation. Unfortunately, in 1613 the Globe Theatre had been burnt down in act of King Henry VIII, a canon which is used to represent the Kings entrance had set off a beam which engulfed the theatre in flames.

William allegedly passed on his birthday, April 23, 1616. Shakespeare holds a legacy of being a body of work that will never be equaled in Western civilization and has been endured for 400 years.

Life in Elizabethan England

William Shakespeare lived in the Elizabethan era of England. In this time and day the Fletcher made and sold arrows, if they needed dental work they went to the Barber Surgeon and drugs etc. were bought from the apothecary. In their household they had maids and grooms, nurses took care of children and infants and the Steward which was someone who took after the Lords house.

The City of London was a crammed commercial city that smelt of river. The people who lived in London, lived in much grotesque. Streets were narrow and slippery with slime of refuse chamber pots and jordans were emptied out the windows; there was no drainage. Fleet Ditch stank to make a man gag.

Sickness in Elizabethan England

Shakespeare lived in the Elizabethan era when the bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death was virulent. The Black Death was a feared deadly disease that took lives of many. There was no hiding from this plague. Families that had caught this virus were sealed into there houses. They were locked and bolted in from the outside. They weren't allowed to leave nor was someone allowed to enter. As a result of no one being allowed to enter or leave their houses, watchmen were allocated to watch the "plague houses". Victims would lower baskets from the top window for watchmen to put food in. Watchmen had a gruesome job that put their health at risk, but the spread of this plague was most common through rodents. Not only humans were at risk of this, but animals as well. This disease forced the theatre to close three times.

A plague o' both your houses!

In Shakespeare's time he was a very successful writer, he wrote a total of 37 plays. His plays fell into three different themes, history, tragedy and comedy. He wrote 10 historical plays, 10 tragedy plays and 17 comedy.