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William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616). Birth. Shakespeare’s birth date is unknown, however, we do know he was baptized on April 26 th , 1564 . Note: May have been born three days earlier on April 23 (the same month and day he was recorded to have died in 1616) The third of eight children

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  • Shakespeare’s birth date is unknown, however, we do know he was baptized on April 26th, 1564.

Note: May have been born three days earlier on April 23 (the same month and day he was recorded to have died in 1616)

  • The third of eight children
  • Born to John and Mary Shakespeare
  • Lived in an English town called Stratford-Upon-Avon
stratford upon avon
Stratford- Upon- Avon
  • Surrounded by forests
  • Deer wandered freely
  • Wild flowers grew
  • Swans sailed down the River Avon
  • Therefore, although Shakespeare later moved to London and was influenced by the city, the countryside and it’s natural surroundings certainly influenced his writing.
his parents
His Parents
  • His father was a prosperous glovemaker
  • His mother was from a good family who had some fortune (she inherited considerable farm property)
  • His parents were respected by his neighbors (a very important status to have during those times)
  • Attended what was called “grammar school”
  • At grammar school he mainly learned Latin grammar
  • Later, in London, he learned French
  • Studied many plays (based on mythology and history)
  • Travelling players (actors) came to Stratford to perform- this was his introduction to drama!
  • Married at the age of 18
  • Married Anne Hathaway
  • Anne was 8 years older than Shakespeare
  • They had 3 children: Susanna (born 1583) and

twins Hamnet (male) and Judith (female)

(born 1585)

Note: It is probably no coincidence that one of Shakespeare’s famous characters has a name very similar to that of his only son. That character and play, of course, is known as Hamlet. Tragically, his son Hamnet died at the age of 11 of unknown causes.

the lost years
“The Lost Years”
  • The period from 1585- 1592 is known as “the lost years”
  • We know very little about Shakespeare’s life during this time
  • Some believe Shakespeare may have worked as a law clerk, tutor, horse-holder, assistant to his father or even as a soldier
his move to london
His Move to London
  • At some point before Shakespeare was 28 years old he moved to London
  • He became an actor before he became a playwright
  • The first play he probably wrote was Henry VI, a history play
  • Many believe he received more money from his share as an actor, since the plays he wrote and sold would only have earned him a few pounds!
shakespeare s plays
Shakespeare’s Plays
  • Shakespeare wrote three different kinds of plays:
  • Tragedies (e.g. Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth)
  • Comedies (e.g. A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
  • Histories (e.g. Henry V, King John)
romeo and juliet painting on canvas tragedy
Shakespeare’s Tragedies:

Often depicted the fall of people in high positions or the fall of a hero and/or those he loved.

“Romeo and Juliet” (painting on canvas)(Tragedy)
much ado about nothing from the 1993 film comedy
Much Ado About Nothing (from the 1993 film)(Comedy)

Shakespeare’s Comedies:

Were a lighter form of drama which aimed to amuse audiences and often ended happily.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (stage production) by The Texas Bard Theatre CompanyNote: Nick Bottom has been turned into a donkey(Comedy)
henry v performed by the royal shakespeare company in stratford and london history
Shakespeare’s Histories:

Were based on the lives of real people and most concerned the rise and fall of English kings and nobility.

Henry V performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company inStratford and London(History)
the bubonic plague and shakespeare
The Bubonic Plague and Shakespeare
  • In 1592, the bubonic plague struck London
  • It killed ten percent of the city
  • The theatre was closed between 1592- 1594
  • Shakespeare concentrated on writing during this time
his success
His Success
  • Shakespeare wrote a total of:

38 plays

154 sonnets

2 long narrative poems

Several other poems

his success1
His Success
  • He was a member of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later called The King’s Men) acting troupe. These actors remained in the troupe over the course of Shakespeare’s professional life and they received money from the Lord Chamberlain!
  • His love for England was apparent in his plays and he was popular with Queen Elizabeth I and later King James I.
  • There is no questions that he was, by his early thirties, a respectably prosperous citizen
  • Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616 (he lived to be 52 years old)
  • There are different theories about how he died, but most agree the cause of his death is unknown
  • He is buried at Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford-Upon-Avon
  • There are many monuments dedicated to him throughout the world
  • His plays were collected and published by two of his actor friends after his death


- Stratford home and countryside (photos) from http://www.ambassador-tours.com/images/garden/Stratford-Upon-Avon.jpg

-“Travelling Players” by Brian O’Neil (painting) from www.theothersidegallery.org

- 15th Century London (replica photo) from http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/8540a/21913/

- Romeo and Juliet (painting) by http://english149-w2008.pbwiki.com

- Macbeth (stage photograph) by www.malabar.net

- King Lear (stage photograph) by


- Much Ado About Nothing (film photo) from http://www.celluloidheroreviews.com/2007/11/29/much-ado-about-nothing/

- A Midsummer Night’s Dream (stage photograph) by http://dancehunter.blogspot.com/2006/04/bard-hits-burbs-texas-repertory.html

- Henry V (stage photograph) by www.dailyinfo.co.uk

- Bubonic plague (drawing) from hawtaction.com

- Macbeth original play from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macbeth

- Shakespeare Portrait #1: www.solarnavigator.net/history/explorers_hist..

- Shakespeare Portrait #2: librarykvpattom.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/s..

- Shakespeare Photograph (actor) #3: blogs.knoxnews.com/knx/brown/archives/Sir%20W...

- Shakespeare Drawing: etc.usf.edu/clipart/700/794/shakespeare_2_lg.gif


- “Getting Acquainted with Shakespeare” (handout) (1985) by J. Weston Walch

- Shakespeare Teacher’s Guide (1999) by Shirley Eley Nachtrieb, McDonald Publishing

- Bryson, Bill. Shakespeare: The World as Stage (article)