By Paige Scheller
William Shakespeare was a great writer who lead a very interesting life. In fact, he is often though of as the greatest write of his time.
As a child, William Shakespeare started his education at around the age of six or seven at Stratford grammar school, also known as the Kings New School of Stratford-upon-Avon.(Brooke pg23) It would be most likely that Shakespeares lessons would focus around Latin composition and the study of Latin authors like Seneca, Cicero, Ovid, Vigil, and Horace.(Brooke pg23) Shakespeares schooling did not last long however, when he was removed from school at the age of thirteen due to his fathers financial and social difficulties. This did not stop young Shakespeare from furthering his education however, and he began to write several plays, such as Menaechmi. It is impossible to trace what happened to Shakespeare from the time he left school till the time he re-emerged as an actor, so these years are rightfully referred to as his lost years. There is, however, a vital piece of information that emerges from this time, it is when Shakespeare betroths a pregnant orphan by the name of Anne Hathaway.
Being at the age of eighteen, Shakespeare was fully aware of what love was. In his abuse of it with his slightly older mistress (by eight years), he managed to impregnate her. He immediately wed her though in the year 1582 and on May 26, 1583 their first child was born. Only two years after her, twins followed, Judith and Hamnet. Not much
is known about Anne and her children around this date, except for the death of her son,
Hamnet, at the age of eleven on August 11, 1596. William Shakespeare was left without an aire, but by this time he had already left for England to start his career.
As mentioned before, Shakespeare had an early period of his life which led from his withdrawal from grammar school, to his marriage to Anne Hathaway, which is commonly referred to as his lost years. Now comes the second section of his life where not much is heard of him and is also likewise known as his lost years. This period lasted seven years, from the time he left his family in Stratford to the time he had become an established actor by the end of 1592. It is thought that during this time he practiced his skills and may have even been recruited by the Leicesters or Queens Men.(Bentley pg 14) Many of his plays had already become well known, such as Henry VI, The Comedy of Errors, and Titus Andronicus.
When the theatres were closed from 1592 to 1593, during this time, Shakespeare wrote many non-dramatic poems. When the Earl of Southampton saw his work, he immediately gave Shakespeare the support he needed. With the Earls help, Shakespeare returned back to the theatre in 1594. He then became so immersed with his work that he was more involved in the theatre than anyone else. He now shared ownership of the Globe. (Mabillard http://www.shakespeare-online.com) In 1596, he applied and got a coat of arms for his family, alas, with no son to inherit it along with his wealth it would prove useless. Many theorize that after his sons death, Shakespeare began to regain his
interest in Stratford and made frequent yet unrecorded visits. Towards the end of his life,
Shakespeare had grown quite sickly and ill. In his will, he left very little to his wife my second best bed(Child http://bartleby.com), thus revealing how little respect he had for her. He left his entire property to his eldest daughter, Sussana, and a fairly large sum of money to his second daughter. Shakespeares last word were:
Good friend, for Jesus sake forbeare
To digg the dust enclosed here!
Blest be ye man that spares thes stones
And curst be he that moues my bones.
– (Burgess pg 49)
This was his epitaph, which would be put upon his grave.
So Shakespeare was a great writer, who led a very interesting life. He achieved the goals he had wanted to when he first set out to become an actor and he managed to do this all with his poor amount of schooling. And being a gret writer, he managed to accumulate a certain group of fans, admirers. A Shakespearian is one who follows the art of Shakespeare.(Burgess pg1) From him, many of these Shakespearians have immerged. He is one of the authors with the greatest amount of followers. Thus proving that to his fans, he really is the greatest writer ever to immerge from his time.
Bently, Gerald Eades. Shakespeare: A Biographical Handbook. New Haven: Yale UP, 1968.
Brooke, Tucker. Shakespeare of Stratford. New Haven: Yale UP, 1926.
Burgess, Anthony. Shakespeare. London: Jonathon Cape, 1970.
Child, Harold. English Drama to 1643. The Cambridge History of English and American Literature. An Encyclopedia in Eighteen Volumes. 2000. http://bartleby.com.(0404/00)
Mabillard, Amanda. Shakespeare of Stratford. Shakespeare Online. 2000. http://www.shakespeare-online.com