William Shakespeare


In his dramatic works, Shakespeare has provided insights into human nature which, in the opinion of many of his disciples, equal those of the greatest modern psychologists. The impact of the Bard's insights is compounded by a masterful use of the language which makes him the mostly widely studied English writer.

Church records indicate that William Shakespeare was baptized in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire on April 26, 1564. April 23 is widely accepted as his date of birth. His father was a respected tradesman (a glover who was involved in a variety of commercial activities) who held several important municipal offices.

Shakespeare was probably educated at the local grammar school. He would have viewed local theatrical productions by groups of traveling players. When he was eighteen he married the twenty-six year old Anne Hathaway. In May of 1583 she gave birth to their first daughter, Susanna. In 1585, twins, named Hamnet and Judith, were born. Shortly thereafter, Shakespeare left Stratford. It is speculated that he was fleeing prosecution for poaching deer on the property of a local nobleman.

By about 1587 he had arrived in London and begun his career as an actor and playwright. His success earned him the jealousy of rivals such as Richard Greene who condemned him as "an upstart crow" in 1592.

In 1594, Shakespeare joined The Chamberlain's Men, a theatrical company which enjoyed the patronage of the royal court. It is believed that he was instrumental in enabling his father to receive a grant of arms from the College of Heralds in 1596. The following year he purchased New Place, one of the largest houses in Stratford. He was one of the proprietors of the Globe Theatre which was built in 1599.

Although he continued to contribute to the theatre in London until 1614, Shakespeare moved back to Stratford in 1610. He died on April 23, 1616 of a fever contracted after an evening of entertaining fellow writers, Ben Jonson and Michael Drayton, in his home.

Shakespeare was buried on April 25 in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford.

Appearances in the BDE Catalog:

Wrote Hamlet

Wrote King Lear

Wrote Much Ado About Nothing

Wrote Taming of the Shrew, The

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