From the available records, it is clear that William Shakespeare lived for 52 years. According to Shakespeare’s Resource Center (1), the artist has gained popularity because of his marvelous works in the field of literature. The Center’s records show that Shakespeare is credited with having written a total of 38 plays, a number of Shakespearean sonnets, and five poems. Commenting on his works’ popularity in the Western world, Bloom and Marson (1) state that it has only been compared to that of the Bible.
However, most scholars have noted that not many people have had interests in developing Shakespeare’s biography. Shmoop University (1) notes that it is for this reason that the information concerning his ancestors, his nuclear family, and education has remained scanty. However, there are scholars who have tried to shed some light on the man’s history. According to Shakespeare Resource Center (1), such scholars have divided Shakespeare’s life in three phases for the sake of better understanding. The first phase covers his time in Stratford. This took 20 years and included his time in school, the early part of his marriage life, and finally his fatherhood. The second phase is the period, when he lived in London, which was majorly as a play writer and an actor. Finally, the third phase of Shakespeare’s life covers the last five years of his life, which he lived in Stratford, enjoying the wealth that he had managed to accumulate while in London. This write up will present a complete history of the life Shakespeare.
The Family and Early Life of William Shakespeare
According to Bloom and Marson (1), William Shakespeare was born in April the year 1964 in Stratford-upon-Avon. His father was called John Shakespeare, while his mother was called Mary Aden. Shakespeare’s Resource Center’s Records (1) show that Shakespeare was a third born after two sisters and that after him was his brother Gilbert and Richard who unfortunately died in the year 1612 and 1613 respectively. His other siblings were Edmund, Joan and Judith. In total, Shakespeare had seven siblings, three of whom died during their early days.
Potter (1) notes that the record concerning Shakespeare’s birth was assumed from that of his baptism obtained from the Holy Trinity Church. This was because there has not been a clear record concerning date of birth. The scanty information concerning his personal history has made him remain a mysterious figure to many who find his personality and works to be sharply contrasting. Bloom and Marson, (1) note that Shakespeare’s father was a famous and successful man in their hometown, Stratford-upon-Avon. The center records that his father’s hard work later earned him a court of arm’s award from Heralds’ College, which totally changed his status. Nettleton (1) also records that his father used to trade in gloves and leather, while his mother was an heiress. Bloom and Marson (1) on their side observe that after receiving the court of Arm’s award, his father served in such positions as that of a high bailiff. William’s mother, Mary Arden was the last to be born among her sister siblings and had lots of inheritance in terms of land owning and farming estate from her father.
Bloom and Marson (1) have noted the observation by various scholars that Shakespeare obtained his early education at the Grammar School located in Stratford. According to Shakespeare’s Resource Center (1), even though there has not been a clear records to show that William Shakespeare attended for his education in this school, this is clearly indicated by the fact that Shakespeare spoke fluently both Latin and Classical Greek. From his works, it is thought that Shakespeare had studied Literature, Latin rhetoric and logic.
Shakespeare’s Resource Centre (1) further notes the contribution by Nicholas Rowe who was Shakespeare’s first Biographer in the support of the possibility of Shakespeare attending Grammar School. Its report shows that Rowe had noted that, for some duration, William’s father had placed him in a free school. It is also thought that being the norm of those days, Shakespeare may have equally ditched his studies at the age of fifteen. He then reportedly looked for a low paying job to complement his father, who was by then financially unstable. It is also argued that Shakespeare’s plays suggest that he may have also helped his father in his work during which he gained certain specialized knowledge.
The Shakespeare’s Resource Center records (1) further suggests that because his father was one of the officials at Stratford, there was a possibility of him to secure a waiver of tuition for his son. It is also not known how long William attended this school, even though he is thought to have gained good education as indicated by the quality of the various works he did. However, Potter (1) notes that it is clear that Shakespeare never managed to obtain university education. According to many observers, this affected his literary works as some scholars were questioning the legality of their authorship.
William Shakespeare’s Marriage Life
According to Shakespeare’s Resource Center (1), on 28th November, 1582, Shakespeare got married at the age of 18 to Anne Hathaway, who was a daughter to a local farmer. Bloom and Marson (1) further note that their marriage was a bit unusual, because Anne was eight years older than William Shakespeare and was even pregnant by the time of their marriage. The two got their first child, Susan, on the 26th of May the following year. They later begot Hamnet and Judith, who were twins. Unfortunately, one of their children, Hamnet, died in the year 1596 when she was 11 leaving them with the other two children (Shakespeare’s Resource Centre, 1).
Shakespeare’s Resource Centre, (1) notes that the records for his whereabouts for seven years after they had given birth to their twin children is not clear. It is only recorded that after missing for a number of years, he reappeared in public in the year 1592. There have been controversial suggestions of where William and his family could have been during these “lost years” as the resource center puts it. Shakespeare’s centre has recorded the suggestion by Rowe that the disappearance may have been caused by the fact that Shakespeare was afraid that his life would be in danger after poaching Sir Thomas Lucy’s dears and rabbits. This was from the notion that poaching had been his habit. However, the center records that another group of scholars have also argued that during this period, Shakespeare had secured a job in Lancashire as an assistant schoolmaster, though it has not been ascertained.
Shakespeare’s Resource Centre, (1) however notes that it is estimated that Shakespeare settled in London in the year 1588 when he immediately began to stage and write plays. This was reportedly after he noted the kind of critics people were making over the works of earlier playwrights, like Robert Green, who were based in London. Bloom and Marson (2) note that his work as a writer and an actor officially began in the year 1594 when he was contracted for his services by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. It was during the same time that William Shakespeare became a managing partner in the group considered as the Favorite London Troupe. He therefore increased in his popularity as the theatre went public.
Blooms and Marson (2) observe that when compared against the other plays written by other scholars during the same time, it is obvious that Shakespeare’s accomplishments are apparent. This is clearly indicated by the fact that his company was rated as having achieved the most level of success within London during his day as a play writer and an actor. His plays were for the first time published and sold in such editions as octavo. This enabled those who were literate, among his audience, to get copies of his work.
By owning shares in the theoretical company, Shakespeare became an entrepreneur besides his participation in arts. Bloom and Marson (3) observe that by the time of his retirement, Shakespeare had managed to afford and purchase a personal home. The scholars argue that irrespective of the fact that Shakespeare may not qualify to be counted among the rich individuals in London, he could manage to enjoy comfort after his retirement in Stratford in the year 1916.
The Death of William Shakespeare
Records by Shakespeare’s Resource Center show that William Shakespeare may have died on the 23rd April, the year 1616, a day that is also thought to be his birthday. This was allegedly after he had willingly written his will five years earlier in 1611. In his will, Shakespeare divided his property amongst his two children and wife Anne. Bloom and Marson (3) however note that it was until 1623 that John Heminges and Henry Condell from the group of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men managed to print the very first edition of Shakespeare’s works.
In conclusion, it is clear that irrespective of William Shakespeare’s allegedly low education, his achievements and legacy were never mere ones. His works, for example, have withstood all kinds of criticisms for the last 400 years to remain just as powerful as they were at the time they were written.