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William Shakespeare. Life and Times. Family Background. Parents: John and Mary Dad was a Glover – considered a skilled craftsman Served as Bailiff of Stratford – the town’s chief officer and local agent of the gov’t in London Born in 1564, William was 3 rd of 8 children (oldest son).

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William shakespeare
William Shakespeare

Life and Times

Family background
Family Background

  • Parents: John and Mary

  • Dad was a Glover – considered a skilled craftsman

  • Served as Bailiff of Stratford – the town’s chief officer and local agent of the gov’t in London

  • Born in 1564, William was 3rd of 8 children (oldest son)

Early life
Early Life

  • Best schooling available as the son

    of a well-to-do Burgess

    • Grammar, logic, rhetoric, Latin

  • Lived in Stratford-Upon-Avon

    • Small town with 200 homes, orchards, gardens

    • Important crossing point over

      Avon River

Marriage and family
Marriage and Family

  • Married Anne Hathaway – 8 years older than he, and pregnant

  • A very common woman of the day - illiterate

  • Susanna - 1583

  • Twins - Hamnet and Judith - 1585

  • Hamnet died at age 11 probably of The Plague

William goes to london
William goes to London

  • Probably in search of more money than he could make in Stratford, William left Anne and the kids

    and went to London

  • Joined a company of actors (players) – all men – sometime in the mid 1580’s

  • Became involved in a theatre called “The Theatre”

Burst of theatre activity
Burst of Theatre Activity

  • Lyly, Peele, Greene, Kyd – popular writers

  • Christopher Marlowe was a peer

    of William’s

  • Most playwrights were university trained gentleman

  • Many theatres were built: The Theatre, The Curtain, The Rose, The Swan – all before Shakespeare’s famous theatre

The globe is shakespeare s theatre
The Globe is Shakespeare’s Theatre

  • Built in 1599

  • Managed by a company of men called “sharers” because they shared the expenses and profits

  • The Lord Chamberlain’s Men ran The Globe – Shakespeare was one of them

  • There were 8 Sharers in 1596

  • Hired men were paid weekly –

    did not share the profits

Strangely built
Strangely Built

  • Timbers used from tearing down The Theatre because their landlord was not renewing their lease

  • Not really circular – had 20 sides

  • Was 100 feet across

  • Held about 2000 people

  • The Yard – where people stood around the stage

  • 3 Galleries where people sat on benches

1599 1613

  • Fire destroyed The Globe during a performance of Henry VIII

  • A cannon shot off thru the open roof ignited the thatch roof on fire

  • It kindled inwardly and consumed the building in less than an hour

  • Only one man had his breeches set on fire

  • The 2nd Globe Theatre had a tiled roof

Life back at home
Life Back at Home

  • William seems to have been an “absent” husband and father, sending money home occasionally but not visiting often

  • Both daughters married and stayed in Stratford

  • His granddaughter Elizabeth lived from 1626-1670 and was his last direct descendent

The last years
The Last Years

  • Queen Elizabeth died in 1603 and was succeeded by King James I

  • The Lord Chamberlain’s Men were recognized as The King’s Men

  • Shakespeare was seen as a member of the Royal Household

  • 1613 Shakespeare retired to New Place in Stratford (the home of Susanna and her husband, a doctor)

Shakespeare died 23 april 1616
Shakespeare Died23 April 1616

37 works live on
37 works live on

1590: Henry VI, part 1

Henry VI, part 2

Henry VI, part 3

1592: Richard III

Titus Andronicus

1593: The Comedy of Errors

The Taming of the Shrew

1594 : The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Love’s Labour’s Lost

1595: Romeo and Juliet

Richard II

1596: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

King John

1597: The Merchant of Venice

Henry IV, part 1

1598: Henry IV, part 2

The Merry Wives of Windsor

1599: Henry V

Much Ado About Nothing

Julius Caesar

1600 : As You Like It

Twelfth Night

1601: Hamlet

1602: Troilus and Cressida

1603: All’s Well That Ends Well

Measure for Measure

1604: Othello

1605: Timon of Athens

1606: King Lear


1607: Antony and Cleopatra


1608: Pericles

1609: Cymbeline

1610: A Winter’s Tale

1611: The Tempest

1612: Henry VIII


  • Morley, Jacqueline and John James. Shakespeare’s Theater. New York: Peter Bedrick Books, 1999.

  • Parker, Michael St. John. WilliamShakespeare – The Pitkin Guide. Hampshire UK: Pitkin Unichrome, 2000.