Do You Know Shakespeare
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Do You Know Shakespeare



Short biography of William Shakespeare

Short biography of William Shakespeare



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Do You Know Shakespeare Do You Know Shakespeare Presentation Transcript

  • Do We Know Shakespeare? A Biography Slide Show w/ Fun Facts Jan VanStavern Eng 202
  • Well, Do We?
    • For all his fame and celebration, William Shakespeare remains a mysterious figure with regards to personal history. Where is the evidence of his life, education, birth?
    • Check out this handout for some information, and also consult that solemn tome, Shakespeare for Dummies.
    • Know Thy Sources to Guess at the Man There are just two primary sources for information on the Bard: his works, and various legal and church documents that have survived from Elizabethan times. Naturally, there are many gaps in this body of information, which tells us little about Shakespeare the man.
  • Baby Born!
    • William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, allegedly on April 23, 1564. Church records from Holy Trinity Church indicate that he was baptized there on April 26, 1564. Young William was born of John Shakespeare, a glover and leather merchant, and Mary Arden, a landed local heiress. William, according to the church register, was the third of eight children in the Shakespeare household—three of whom died in childhood. John Shakespeare had a remarkable run of success as a merchant, alderman, and high bailiff of Stratford, during William's early childhood. His fortunes declined, however, in the late 1570s.
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  • The Education Conundrum
    • There is great conjecture about Shakespeare's childhood years, especially regarding his education. It is surmised by scholars that Shakespeare attended the free grammar school in Stratford, which at the time had a reputation to rival that of Eton. But what do we know for sure about his education?
    • Another Source tells us : After two years in petty school, Shakespeare would have advanced to the grammar school, where he would have studied what a grammar school's name implies: grammar; Latin grammar.
    • It must have been at this school that he learned to look beyond the mechanics of language to the beauty of literature; he would have studied Ovid, who remained a great favourite all his life, and he would have read Plautus, the most admired writer of Latin comedy.
    • Although boys normally attended grammar school until age fifteen or sixteen, Shakespeare may have been forced to leave school as early as 1577, at age 13, because of his father's financial difficulties.
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  • Love? And Marriage
    • The next documented event in Shakespeare's life is his marriage to Anne Hathaway on November 28, 1582. William was 18 at the time, and Anne was 26—and pregnant. Their first daughter, Susanna, was born on May 26, 1583. The couple later had twins, Hamnet and Judith, born February 2, 1585 and christened at Holy Trinity. Hamnet died in childhood at the age of 11, on August 11, 1596.
    One of these Anne Hathways was married to Shakespeare: guess which!
  • The Missing Father
    • For the seven years following the birth of his twins, William Shakespeare disappears from all records, finally turning up again in London some time in 1592. This period, known as the "Lost Years," has sparked as much controversy about Shakespeare's life as any period.
    • Rowe notes that young Shakespeare was quite fond of poaching, and may have had to flee Stratford after an incident with Sir Thomas Lucy, whose deer and rabbits he allegedly poached. There is also rumor of Shakespeare working as an assistant schoolmaster in Lancashire for a time, though this is circumstantial at best.
  • Man Gone to London
    • It is estimated that Shakespeare arrived in London around 1588 and began to establish himself as an actor and playwright. Evidently, Shakespeare garnered envy early on for his talent, as related by the critical attack of Robert Greene, a London playwright, in 1592: " upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tiger's heart wrapped in a player's hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you: and being an absolute Johannes fac totum, is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country." Ouch.
  • About the Globe . . .
    • Made It! Shakespeare's company erected the storied Globe Theatre circa 1598 in London's Bankside district. It was one of four major theatres in the area, along with the Swan, the Rose, and the Hope.
    • Lost a Lease : The Lord Chamberlain's Men had been performing in the Theatre, built by James Burbagein 1576. In 1597, although the company technically owned the Theatre, their lease on the land on expired.
    • New Place: Their landlord, Giles Allen, desired to tear the Theatre down. This led the company to purchase property at Blackfriars in Upper Frater Hall, which they bought for £600 and set about converting for theatrical use.
    • Neighbors Complain : Unfortunately, their aristocratic neighbors complained about the plans for Blackfriars.
    • Let’s Steal a Building ! Richard and Cuthbert learned of his plans and set in motion a plot of their own. It seems that the company's lease had contained a provision allowing them to dismantle the building themselves.
  • The Globe Goes On…
    • And they did ! In late December of 1598, Allen left London for the countryside. The Burbage brothers, their chief carpenter, and a party of workmen assembled at the Theatre on the night of December 28. The men stripped the Theatre down to its foundation, moved the materials across the Thames to Bankside, and proceeded to use them in constructing the Globe.
    • A pissed off landlord . A furious Giles Allen later sued Peter Street, the Burbage's carpenter, for £800 in damages. . . . (The court ruled that he had to stop bugging the actors)
    • Oops ! In an ironic epilogue, the troupe won the right in 1609 to produce plays at Blackfriars, and subsequently split time between there and the Globe.
    • Henry Burns It Down : In 1613, the original Globe Theatre burned to the ground when a cannon shot during a performance of Henry VIII ignited the thatched roof of the gallery.
    • Rebuilt ! The company completed a new Globe on the foundations of its predecessor before Shakespeare's death.
    • Closed by the Puritans : It continued operating until 1642, when the Puritans closed it down (and all the other theatres, as well as any place, for that matter, where people might be entertained).
    • The Puritans Burn It Down
    • Foundations Rediscovered ! The latest Globe Theatre was completed in 1996; Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the theatre on June 12, 1997 with a production of Henry V.
  • A Successful Man About Town
    • By 1594, Shakespeare was not only acting and writing for the Lord Chamberlain's Men (called the King's Men after the ascension of James I in 1603), but was a managing partner in the operation as well. With Will Kempe, a master comedian, and Richard Burbage, a leading tragic actor of the day, the Lord Chamberlain's Men became a favorite London troupe, patronized by royalty and made popular by the theatre-going public.
  • The Biggest Thing of His Time (Play-wise)
    • Shakespeare's success is apparent when studied against other playwrights of this age. His company was the most successful in London in his day. He had plays published and sold in octavo editions, or "penny-copies" to the more literate of his audiences. Never before had a playwright enjoyed sufficient acclaim to see his works published and sold as popular literature in the midst of his career.
    • More Money: In addition, Shakespeare's ownership share in both the theatrical company and the Globe itself made him as much an entrepeneur as artist. While Shakespeare might not be accounted wealthy by London standards, his success allowed him to purchase New House and retire in comfort to Stratford in 1611.
  • The “Will” of Shakespeare
    • William Shakespeare wrote his will in 1611, bequeathing his properties to his daughter Susanna (married in 1607 to Dr. John Hall). To his surviving daughter Judith, he left £300, and to his wife Anne left "my second best bed." (No comment)
    • William Shakespeare allegedly died on his birthday, April 23, 1616. This is probably more of a romantic myth than reality, but Shakespeare was interred at Holy Trinity in Stratford on April 25. In 1623, two working companions of Shakespeare from the Lord Chamberlain's Men, John Heminges and Henry Condell, printed the First Folio edition of his collected plays, of which half were previously unpublished.
  • The Genius’s Grave Send-Off
    • Even in death, he leaves a final piece of verse as his epitaph:
    • “ Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbeare
    • To dig the dust enclosed here.
    • Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
    • And cursed be he that moves my bones.”