Shakespeare


William Shakespeare, a renowned English playwright who wrote more than thirty plays in his short life time, was probably born in the year 1564 in Stratford-on-Avon as the record of the church in Stratford-on-Avon showed that he was baptised on April 23, 1564. William Shakespeare was born to John Shakespeare and Mary Arden and he probably attended the King Edward IV Grammar School in Stratford for his formal education and it was there that he learnt the rudiments of drama and also learnt Latin and a little Greek. William Shakespeare got married to Anne Hathaway, a young woman slightly older than him at 18 and they had three children between them; two daughters and a son – Susanna, Hamnet, and Judith. Hamnet and Judith were twins and born in 1585 while Susanna was born in 1583 but Hamnet died in boyhood.

Shakespeare took up a career as an apprentice actor and a playwright in London after his marriage to Anne and an account in ‘A Groatsworth of Wit’ by Robert Greene reported that Shakespeare greatly succeeded in this endeavour between 1585 and 1592 and was also a co-owner of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men which was a playing company that later metamorphosed into the King’s Men. The outbreak of a plague in 1592 in London led to the frequent closure of theaters between June 1592 and April 1594 and Shakespeare was probably supported financially during this period by the earl of Southampton, Henry Wriothesley, as indicated in Venus and Adonis , Shakespeare’s first two poems written in 1593, and The Rape of Lucrece  written in 1594.

In 1599, the King’s Men built and operated the Globe, a successful and famous new theatre playhouse that became profitable for its owners and out of which Shakespeare earned enough money as his own share of the incomes to buy a new home in Stratford. Shakespeare became famous as a dramatist and as a poet. His sonnets were written between 1593 and 1601 and the first edition of the sonnets were 154 and published in 1609.

William Shakespeare’s plays and poems were dotted with thousands of words invented from the combination of a number of languages especially French and Latin to form new words in English Language. Such new words are stillborn, courtship, zany, bloodsucking , fanged, leapfrog, arch-villain, misquote, pageantry, radiance, birthplace, dewdrop, schoolboy, downstairs, heartsore, hunchbacked, radiance, watchdog, and many more words invented by Shakespeare and these words have now become a part and parcel of the modern day English Language. Shakespeare’s popular plays includes Henry VI, Romeo and Juliet, The Comedy of Errors, Julius Caesar, Othello, Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear and Antony and Cleopatra . Shakespeare retired from active participation in drama in 1612 and subsequently returned to Stratford and died a few years after on April 23, 1616.