William Shakespeare. William Shakespeare: Basic Details. Shakespeare was born in April of 1564 Grew up in a market town in Stratford Upon Avon, England . Although not much is known about his life, he was the son of a merchant and had a grammar school education.
Shakespeare was born in April of 1564
Grew up in a market town in Stratford Upon Avon, England.
Although not much is known about his life, he was the son of a merchant and had a grammar school education.
He was well read: Virgil, Ovid, Plutarch, Holinshed’s Chronicles and the Bible. Evidence of all of these works are present in his own writing.
1582- Married Anne Hathaway. He was 18. They had three children. Susanna (1583) and twins, Judith and Hamnet (1585). Hamnet died of the plague in 1596.
By 1592- Shakespeare achieved some prominence as an actor and playwright in London.
These poems were written at a time when the theaters were closed because of the plague. In 1594, Shakespeare returned to acting and playwriting. He was a leading member of an acting troupe known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Later it was known as the King’s Men. Shakespeare was a principal actor, dramatist, and shareholder for the rest of his career.
1599- Shakespeare’s company built a theater for themselves across the river from London, named the Globe. The theater burned down in 1613 following a fire sparked from a performance of Henry VII but it was later rebuilt. The plays considered Shakespeare’s major tragedies (Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth) as well as several comedies (Twelfth Night and Measure for Measure) were written when he was in residence at the Globe.
Shakespeare also performed at court for Queen Elizabeth I and after her death in 1603, for King James I.
Sometime between 1610-1613- Shakespeare returned to Stratford to live with his wife and daughters.
Inside Globe Theatre
1623- The First Folio is published. This included Shakespeare’s collected plays. It was entitled Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories and Tragedies. 36 of his 38 plays were included.
In 17th Century England, there was no separation between Church and State. The King was head of both.
“In view of the overriding importance of religion and the spiritual life in early seventeenth-century England, and in view of the control exerted over both religion and morality by the State in this era when Parliament actually debated the death penalty for pre-marital sex.” (xiv)
Marriage Rituals- Marriage began with courtship, which was usually brief. Family involvement in marriage increased with the social status. Following courtship, there was a private promise to marry. Then there would be a more public betrothal. The ceremony was called “handfasting.” The couple usually held hands and exchanged vows before witnesses. It seems that many couples regarded themselves as married at this point, even though they had not been married in the church, and then began a sexual relationship. In the eyes of the church, and the law, a couple would not be considered wed until there was a formal church wedding, followed by a wedding feast and then the couple could consummate their marriage. (227-8)