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The Life of William Shakespeare DRA 111 Steve Wood TCCC.

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1 The Life of William Shakespeare DRA 111 Steve Wood TCCC

2 A Life of Mystery Despite being the most famous and influential writer in the English language and despite the critical attention of thousands of historians and scholars, many aspects of Shakespeare’s life remain a mystery.

3 Early Life William Shakespeare was born in 1564, to John and Mary Shakespeare. His birthday is celebrated on April 23 because records indicate his christening on April 26. At the time of Shakespeare’s birth, his father was a successful glover in Stratford-upon-Avon. Over the next few years, his father would be successful in local politics, becoming bailiff (1568) and alderman (1571). Shakespeare was the oldest son of 8 children, the oldest to survive infancy.

4 Education Due to his father’s position, Shakespeare probably attended grammar school for free. His education, or a perceived lack of education, is the reason that a number of elitist critics (called the Anti-Stratfordians) have tried to claim that someone other that Shakespeare was the author of his plays. The list of other claimants includes: Christopher Marlowe, Edward de Vere, Francis Bacon, and even Queen Elizabeth.

5 Marriage In November 1582, a marriage license was obtained by Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway (who was 26 at the time). In May 1583, six months after their marriage, Shakespeare and Anne had a daughter Susanna. In February 1585, Shakespeare and Anne had twins: Judith and Hamnet.

6 Lost Years The birth of his twins in 1585 is the last public record of Shakespeare until In 1592 the deathbed pamphlet of Robert Greene (a rival dramatist) mentions Shakespeare as an “upstart crow.” Thus, most critics assume that Shakespeare had moved to London and entered the theater business at some point before 1592 (The usual guesses are 1589 or 1590).

7 His Dramatic Career Although the exact date of his arrival in London is unknown, Shakespeare’s career in the London theater lasted for 20 years, from Most of his most famous plays were written in the decade from 1600 to 1610.

8 The Dating Game Most of the dates assigned to his plays are educated guesswork, based upon entries in the Stationer’s Register, the publication of the quatro editions of some plays, and other miscellaneous records. One of the most universally accepted set of dates is the one found in the Riverside edition of his plays.

9 Dates 1590 Henry VI, Part Henry VI, Part Henry VI, Part Richard III 1592 The Comedy of Errors 1593 Titus Andronicus 1593 The Taming of the Shrew 1594 The Two Gentlemen of Verona 1594 Love’s Labors Lost 1594 King John1595 Richard II1595 Romeo and Juliet 1595 A Midsummer Night’s Dream 1596 The Merchant of Venice 1596 Henry IV, Part Merry Wives of Windsor 1598 Henry IV, Part Much Ado About Nothing 1599 Henry V1599 Julius Caesar

10 Dates 1599 As You Like It 1600 Hamlet1601 Twelfth Night 1601 Troilus and Cressida 1602 All’s Well That Ends Well 1604 Measure for Measure 1604 Othello1605 King Lear 1606 Macbeth1606 Antony and Cleopatra 1607 Coriolanus 1607 Timon of Athens 1607 Pericles1609 Cymbeline1610 The WInter’s Tale 1610 The Tempest 1612 Henry VIII (Collaboration with John Fletcher) 1612 Cardenio (Collaboration with John Fletcher) 1613 The Two Noble Kinsmen (Collaboration with John Fletcher)

11 The Beginning of His Success In 1594, after a bout of plague closed the theaters, many of the companies are reorganized. Shakespeare’s career took an important step forward as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men was formed, with Shakespeare as a full member.

12 Official Recognition In 1596, Shakespeare was granted a coat of arms; the motto translates as “Not Without Right.” Unfortunately, this success comes at the same time as a tragedy: Shakespeare’s son Hamnet, to whom he would have passed along his coat of arms, dies.

13 Meanwhile, Back in Stratford … In 1597, Shakespeare bought the second largest house in Stratford, New Place.

14 The Globe In 1599 Shakespeare was made a principal shareholder in the newly built Globe Theater. Legend has it that the Globe was built from the timbers of the first permanent theater in London, built by James Burbage in 1576.

15 The Great Decade With the succession of James I to the throne after the death of Queen Elizabeth, Shakespeare’s company became The King’s Men. This assured them of a certain number of royal performances each year.

16 Family Shakespeare father died in Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna was married in In 1608, Susanna had a daughter, thus making Shakespeare a grandfather. In 1609, Shakespeare’s mother died.

17 1610 Shakespeare retired from the theater business in London and returned to Stratford. Except for a few collaborations with John Fletcher, his dramatic career is done. Many regard the farewell speech by Prospero in The Tempest to be Shakespeare’s farewell to his life as a playwright.

18 Prospero’s Farewell “Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits, and Are melted into air, into thin air; And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a tack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep.”

19 Last Days In 1613, the Globe Theater burned down during a performance. It was rebuilt, but then was closed by the Puritans in 1642 and razed in Its foundations are unearthed in the 1980s, and a new Globe replica theater is built in In February of 1616, Shakespeare’s remaining daughter Judith is married. On April 23, Shakespeare died.

20 Epitaph “Good friend for Jesus sake forbear/ To dig the dust enclosed here:/ Blest be the man that spares these stones, / And curst be he that moves my bones.”

21 The First Folio In 1623, seven years after his death, some of Shakespeare’s friends published what came to be called The First Folio. This authorized edition features the texts of most of his plays.


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