William Shakespeare: biography
The great English playwright of the Renaissance, a national poet, internationally recognized, William Shakespeare was born in Stratford, which is located north of London. In history, there is information only about his baptism on April 26, 1564.
The boy's parents were John Shakespeare and Mary Arden. They were the wealthy citizens. The father of the boy in addition to agriculture was engaged in the manufacture of gloves. Also, he was a money lender. He was elected several times to the board of the city. He was a constable and even a mayor.
According to some reports, John was a Catholic, for which he was persecuted at the end of his life, which forced him to sell all his lands. During his life, he paid large amounts to the Protestant church for not attending the service. William's mother was a born Saxon; she belonged to an ancient respectable family. Mary gave birth to eight children; the third of them was William.
In Stratford, little William Shakespeare received for those times a good education. In childhood, he entered a grammar school, where he studied Latin and the ancient Greek language. For a deeper and fuller understanding of ancient languages, students were supposed to participate in school plays in Latin.
According to some sources, in addition to this educational institution, William Shakespeare in youth also attended the royal school, which was also in his native town. There he had the opportunity to get acquainted with the ancient Roman poetry.
At the age of 18, the young William had relations with a 26-year-old daughter of his neighbor Anne Hathaway, whom he married. The reason for the marriage was the pregnancy of the girl. In those days, pre-marital relations in England were considered the norm. And often people got married when the girl was pregnant. The only condition for such relations was the wedding at church before the birth of the child. When in 1583, their daughter Susan was born, William was happy. All his life he was especially attached to her even after the birth of twins, the son Hemnet and the second daughter Judith.
There were no other children in the family, most likely because of the second heavy childbirth of his wife Anne. In 1596, the couple experienced a personal tragedy: during the epidemic of dysentery their only heir died. After William moved to London, his family stayed in his hometown. Not often, but regularly William visited his relatives.
About William’s personal life in London, historians have many assumptions. It is possible that the playwright lived alone. Some researchers of the biography of the poet say that he had relationships also with men. But this information is not proved.
Unknown seven years
William Shakespeare is one of the few authors about whom there is little information. There is very few direct evidence of his life. Basically, all the information about William Shakespeare was taken from secondary sources, such as statements by contemporaries or administrative records. Therefore, there are only assumptions about seven years after the birth of his twins and to the first mentions of his work in London.
The historians tell that Shakespeare worked for a noble landowner as a teacher, as a prompter in London theaters, as a stage worker and even as a horse breeder. But there is no truly reliable information about this period of the poet's life.
In 1592, the press published the statement of the English poet Robert Green on the works of the young William. This is the first mention of Shakespeare as an author. The aristocrat in his pamphlet tried to laugh at the young playwright since he saw in him a strong competitor, but who did not have a noble origin and a good education. At the same time, the first plays of Shakespeare's "Henry VI" are mentioned in the London Theater "Rose".
This work was written in the popular English genre, chronicles. This type of representation was common during the Renaissance in England. It had the epic nature of the narrative, the scenes and pictures were often not interconnected. The chronicles were written in order to praise the government of England in contrast to feudal fragmentation and internecine wars.
It is known that William since 1594 was part of the large actor community "Lord Chamberlain's Men" and soon became its co-founder. The plays brought great success, and the troupe became so rich in a short time that it allowed building the famous Globus Theater within the next five years. And by 1608, they bought a private room, which they called "Blackfriars".
They achieved success because the rulers of England: Elizabeth I and her successor Jacob I, whose theatrical team got a permission to change its status. Since 1603, the troupe got the name "The King's Men". Shakespeare not only wrote plays but also took an active part in staging his works. In particular, there is information that William played all the main roles in all his plays.
According to some information William Shakespeare earned enough money and was successful. There is information that the playwright was money lender.
Shakespeare saved money and in 1597, he bought a spacious mansion in Stratford. In addition, after death, Shakespeare was immediately buried at the Holy Trinity Church, located in his native city. This honor was given to him not for special merits, but for the fact that he had paid for the place of his burial.
The great playwright created an immortal treasury for the world culture, which has been popular for more than five centuries. Plots of his plays became an inspiration not only for actors of drama theaters but also for many composers, as well as for filmmakers. For all his creative life Shakespeare has repeatedly changed the nature of writing his works.
His first plays often copied popular genres and stories, such as chronicles, Renaissance comedies ("The Taming of the Shrew"), "tragedy of horror" ("Titus Andronicus"). There were big works with a lot of heroes and unnatural syllable for the perception. The young Shakespeare studies the basics of writing drama through classical works.
The second half of the 90s of the XVI century was marked by the appearance of drama works for the theater. The poet was looking for a new form in the given framework of the Renaissance comedy and tragedy. It filled old forms with new content. Thus, the genius tragedy "Romeo and Juliet", the comedy "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "The Venetian Merchant" appeared. The fresh verse in the new works of Shakespeare was combined with an unusual and memorable story, which makes these plays popular with the public.
At the same time, Shakespeare created sonnets, the famous at that time genre of love poetry lyrics. Almost for two centuries, these poetry masterpieces of the master were forgotten. But when romanticism appeared these works gained fame again. In the XIX century, there was a fashion for quoting immortal lines, written at the end of the Renaissance by the English genius.
The topic of the poems was love messages to the unknown young man, and only the last 26 sonnets of 154 were devoted to a black-haired lady. Many researchers see autobiographical traits in these poems, suggesting the playwright's non-traditional orientation. But some historians tend to believe that in these sonnets, William Shakespeare turned to his patron and friend Count Southampton in the accepted at that time form.
At the turn of the century, William Shakespeare wrote his famous poems that made his name immortal in the history of world literature and theater. Successful and rich, the playwright created a series of tragedies such as “Hamlet”, “Macbeth”, “King Lear”, “Othello” that brought him fame not only in England. These works have raised the popularity of the theater "Globe" to the heights of one of the most visited entertainment establishments in London. At the same time, the net worth of its owners, including Shakespeare, has increased several times in a short period of time.
At the end of his creative life, Shakespeare created a number of immortal works that surprised his contemporaries with its new form. In them, the writer combined tragedy with comedy, and in fairy tales people can notice situations from everyday life. First of all, there are the fantasy plays "The Tempest", "The Winter's Tale", as well as dramas on ancient subjects - "Coriolanus", "Antony and Cleopatra". In these works, Shakespeare acted as a great expert in drama laws. He combines the traits of tragedy and fairy tales easily and gracefully, as well as complex high syllables and simple figures of speech.
Most of Shakespeare's dramatic works were published during his life. But the complete collection of works, which included all the canonical plays of the playwright, appeared only in 1623. The collection was printed thanks to Shakespeare's friends William John Heming and Henry Condell, who worked in the "Globe" troupe. The book included 36 plays by the English author, was published under the title "First Folio".
During the 17th century, three more folios were published, which were published with some modifications and with the addition of previously unpublished plays.
According to his handwriting, the last years of his life, William Shakespeare had a serious illness. He co-wrote some of the last plays with another playwright of the troupe, whose name was John Fletcher.
In 1613, Shakespeare finally left London but continued to work. He took part in the trial of his friend as a witness of protection and also bought another mansion in the former Blackfriars Priory. For some time, William Shakespeare lived in the estate of his son-in-law John Hall.
Three years before his death, William Shakespeare wrote his will, in which he left his eldest daughter practically everything. The English writer died in late April 1616, in his own house. His wife Anne died 7 years later.
In the family of the eldest daughter Susan, the granddaughter of the genius Elizabeth was born by this time, but she died in childhood. In the family of Shakespeare's younger daughter Judith, who married Thomas Quinn two months after her father's death for, there were three boys. But all of them died in their youth. Therefore, Shakespeare has no direct descendants.
• No one knows the exact date of William Shakespeare birth. There is only a church record of the baby's baptism, on April 26, 1564. The researchers suggest that he was baptized on the third day after his birth. So, the playwright was born and died on April 23.
• The great English poet had a phenomenal memory; his knowledge could be compared with encyclopedic. He spoke two ancient languages and he also knew the modern dialects of France, Italy, and Spain. He never left England. Shakespeare understood the current political situation. His was fond of music and painting. Shakespeare also studied botany.
• Many historians tend to think about the poet's non-traditional orientation, referring to the fact that the playwright lived separately from his family. He had a long friendship with the Earl of Southampton, who was famous for dressing in women's clothes and applying a large amount of paint to his face. But there is no direct evidence for this.
• The Protestant religion of Shakespeare and his family remains in doubt. There is information that his father was a Catholic. But during the reign of Elizabeth I, it was forbidden to be an open Catholic, so many adherents of this branch simply paid money in order to attend the Catholic worship secretly.
• The writer's only autograph, which has survived to this day, is his will. In it, he lists all his, but never mentions his literary works.
• Throughout his life, Shakespeare has about 10 professions. He was a watchman in the stables of the theater, an actor, a co-founder of the theater and a producer of plays. In parallel with acting, William had the usurious business, and at the end of his life he was engaged in brewing and rented houses.
Modern historians support the version of an unknown writer who made Shakespeare his front man. Even the British Encyclopedia does not abandon the version that Count Edward de Vere created his plays under the pseudonym of Shakespeare. The historians also suppose that Lord Francis Bacon, Queen Elizabeth I and even a group of people of aristocratic origin could write under his pseudonym.
• Shakespeare's poetic style influenced the development of the English language, forming the basis of modern grammar, and enriching the literary speech of the British with new phrases, which were used as quotations from the works of the classic. Shakespeare left to his compatriots more than 1700 new words.
The famous Shakespeare quotes
Famous phrases of the playwright often contain philosophical thoughts, which are expressed very accurately. Some of them are devoted to love. Here are some of them:
"Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall";
"Vows made in storms are forgotten in calm";
"If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me";
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. ";
"Love runs away from those chasing her, and those who run away, she throws herself."