William Shakespeare Biography
(April 23, 1564 – April 23, 1616)
Was an English poet and playwright. Shakespeare has a reputation as one of the greatest of all writers in the English language and in Western literature, as well as one of the world’s pre-eminent dramatists. He is among the very few playwrights who have excelled in both tragedy and comedy.
Shakespeare wrote his works between 1586 and 1616, although the exact dates and chronology of the plays attributed to him are often uncertain. Shakespeare’s works have been translated into every major living language and his plays are continually performed all around the world. In addition, quotations from his plays have slipped into everyday usage in many languages.
Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England, in April 1564, the son of John Shakespeare, a successful tradesman and alderman, and of Mary Arden, a daughter of the gentry. They lived on Henley Street and Shakespeare’s baptismal record dates to April 26 of that year. Because baptisms were performed within a few days of birth, tradition has settled on April 23 as his birthday.
As the son of a prominent town official, Shakespeare was entitled to attend King Edward VI Grammar school in central Stratford, which may have provided an intensive education in Latin grammar and literature. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, who was 25, on November 28, 1582 at Temple Grafton, near Stratford.
Shakespeare’s signature, from his will
Indeed, the late 1580s are known as Shakespeare’s ‘Lost Years’ because no evidence has survived to show exactly where he was or why he left Stratford for London. On May 26, 1583, Shakespeare’s first child, Susanna, was baptized at Stratford. A son, Hamnet, and a daughter, Judith, were baptized soon after on February 2, 1585.
London and theatrical career
By 1592, Shakespeare was a playwright in London. In addition to being a playwright, Shakespeare was also an actor and, eventually, part-owner of a playing company, known as The Lord Chamberlain’s Men; the company took its name, like others of the period, from its aristocratic sponsor, the Lord Chamberlain. The group became popular enough that after the death of Elizabeth I and the coronation of James I (1603), the new monarch adopted the company and it became known as the King’s Men. In 1596, Shakespeare’s son Hamnet died; some suspect that his death was part of the inspiration behind The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.
Shakespeare’s last two plays were written in 1613, after which he appears to have retired to Stratford. He died on April 23, 1616, at the age of 52. He remained married to Anne until his death and was survived by his two daughters, Susannah and Judith. Susannah married Dr John Hall, but there are no direct descendants of the poet and playwright alive today.
Shakespeare is buried in the chancel of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon. He was granted the honour of burial in the chancel not on account of his fame as a playwright. A bust of him placed by his family on the wall nearest his grave shows him posed in the act of writing. Each year on his claimed birthday, a new quill pen is placed in the writing hand of the bust.
A number of Shakespeare’s plays have the reputation of being among greatest in the English language and in Western literature. His plays cover both tragedy, history, and comedy and have been translated into every major living language, in addition to being continually performed all around the world.
Shakespeare’s plays tend to be placed into three main stylistic groups: his early comedies and histories (such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Henry IV, Part 1), his middle period (which includes his most famous tragedies, Othello, Macbeth, Hamlet, and King Lear), and his later romances (such as The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest). The earlier plays tend to be more light-hearted, while the middle period plays tend to be darker, addressing such issues as betrayal, murder, lust, power, and egotism.
Some of Shakespeare’s plays first appeared in print as a series of quartos, but most remained unpublished until 1623 when the posthumous First Folio was published. The traditional division of his plays into tragedies, comedies, and histories follows the logic of the First Folio.
Shakespeare’s sonnets are a collection of 154 poems that deal with such themes as love, beauty, politics, and mortality. All but two first appeared in the 1609 publication entitled Shakespeare’s Sonnets; numbers 138 (“When my love swears that she is made of truth”) and 144 (“Two loves have I, of comfort and despair”) had previously been published in a 1599 miscellany entitled The Passionate Pilgrim.
The conditions under which the sonnets were published is unclear. The 1609 text is dedicated to one “Mr. W. H.”, who is described as “the only begetter” of the poems by the publisher Thomas Thorpe. It is not known who this man was although there are many theories. In addition, it is not known whether the publication of the sonnets was authorized by Shakespeare. The poems were probably written over a period of several years.
Shakespeare’s impact on modern theatre can not be overestimated. Not only did Shakespeare create some of the most admired plays in Western literature, he also transformed English theatre by expanding expectations about what could be accomplished through characterization, plot, action, language and genre. His poetic artistry helped raise the status of popular theatre, permitting it to be admired by intellectuals as well as by those seeking pure entertainment.
Theatre was changing when Shakespeare first arrived in London in the late 1580s or early 1590s. These plays, which blend piety with farce and slapstick, were allegories in which the characters are personified moral attributes who validate the virtues of Godly life by prompting the protagonist to choose such a life over evil.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Measure for Measure
The Comedy of Errors
Much Ado About Nothing
Love’s Labour’s Lost
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The Merchant of Venice
As You Like It
Taming of the Shrew
All’s Well That Ends Well
Twelfth Night or What You Will
The Winter’s Tale
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
The Two Noble
Henry IV, part 1
Henry IV, part 2
Henry VI, part 1
Henry VI, part 2
Henry VI, part 3
Troilus and Cressida
Romeo and Juliet
Timon of Athens
Antony and Cleopatra
Love’s Labour’s Won
Venus and Adonis
The Rape of Lucrece
The Passionate Pilgrim
The Phoenix and the Turtle
A Lover’s Complaint
Sir Thomas More
Citar este texto en formato APA: _______. (2010). WEBSCOLAR. William Shakespeare Biography. https://www.webscolar.com/william-shakespeare-2. Fecha de consulta: 1 de abril de 2020.