He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon maybe on 23rd April 1564. Nobody is sure about his date of birth. He was baptised on 26th April, and in those times people were baptised 3 days after their birth. William was the third child of John and Mary Shakespeare. His father was a leather merchant and glove maker and his mother was a ‘local-landed heiress’, which meant that she came from a wealthy family. Her father was a rich farmer.
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William had two older sisters, Joan and Judith, and three younger brothers called Gilbert, Richard and Edmund.
Young William’s education probably went to school at King’s New School in Stratford where he learnt Latin and Greek languages and History.
On November 28th 1582, at the age of 18, William married Anne Hathaway. Anne was 26 years old when they got married. They had a baby called Susanna in 1583. Two years later, Anne gave birth to twins – a boy called Hamnet and a girl called Judith. Sadly, at the age of 11, Hamnet died.
In the mid-1580s, William arrived in London. When he first arrived in the capital city, he worked as a horse attendant at some of London’s theatres. By 1592, he was earning money as an actor and a playwright. He was managing partner of a company of actors called The Lord Chamberlin’s Men. Their name was changed to The King’s Men after King James I was crowned the new king of England.
By 1697, William earned so much money that he bought the second largest house in his hometown of Stratford. Because it took about four days to get from London to Stratford by horse, William only ever went home during the forty days of Lent when the theatres were closed.
Shakespeare wrote plays called tragedies and comedies (more than 38 altogether). He acted in several of his plays in front of Queen Elizabeth I. He often included the themes of religion, love and the monarchy in his plays. Some of his tragedies are: Romeo and Juliet; Othello; Macbeth; King Lear; Hamlet. Some of his comedies are: A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Much Ado About Nothing; As You Like It; The Taming of the Shew.
Shakespeare also wrote sonnets – a sonnet is a poem with 14 lines. Shakespeare’s sonnets were about love, death and loss.
William Shakespeare died on April 23rd 1616, which was the same day as his birthday, at the age of 52. He is buried in the Holy Trinity churchyard in Stratford.
Look at the drawings and tell Shakespeare’s life.