Shakesperience.com

The Complete Shakespeare Experience    

His wealth accumulating from his theatrical successes, Shakespeare purchased New Place, one of the largest homes in Stratford, in 1597.

Shakespeare’s theatrical career is thought to have begun in London about 1585, where he worked as an actor and writer, perhaps with the Queen’s Men players company. By 1589, Shakespeare’s writing skills were in full bloom and he produced his greatest works between then and 1613, although the order in which many of them were written and produced remains the subject of debate.

Among them are the world’s most-renowned, most-performed comedies (including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing and tragedies (including Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, and Romeo and Juliet). Three plays, All’s Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure, and Troilus and Cressida, do not fit neatly into any category and classed by many critics as the “problem plays” as they addressed complex issues, including aging, death, revenge, and the midlife crisis, among others.

By 1598, Shakespeare’s name was a big enough draw to warrant being listed on the title pages of the quarto (four-folded pages) editions of his plays which began being published in 1594. The first known collection of his dramatic works, First Folio: Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, was published in 1623, by two of his colleagues and included an engraved portrait of Shakespeare thought be the work of Martin Droeshout. While a respected playwright in his time, it wasn’t until the 19th Century, especially during the Victorian era, that his work and his professional status was elevated to the lofty heights it enjoys today.

WILLIAM

SHAKESPEARE

The Bard of Avon

1564-1616

T

he Shakespeare family coat of arms, for which Shakespeare’s father, John, first applied in 1570. The application was withdrawn at the time, but application was made again, and approved, in 1596. It is thought that William applied and paid for the coat of arms to reestablish his father’s standing in the community.

With a marriage license issued by the consistory court of the Diocese of Worcester on November 27, 1582 (some say November 28), Shakespeare, then aged 18, married the 26-year-old Anne Hathaway (c1556-1623) in the town of Temple Grafton. The couple had three children, Susanna (baptized May 26, 1583, just six months after the Shakespeares wed, died 1649) and twins, Hamnet and Judith (baptized February 2, 1585, died 1662). The elder twin, son, Hamnet (baptized February 2, 1685), died at age 11 of unknown causes and was laid to rest August 11, 1596.



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Application drawing for Shakespeare’s coat of arms.

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John Shakespeare’s house, thought to

be William Shakespeare’s birthplace.