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William Shakespeare. Life of William Shakespeare. Known as the world’s most performed & admired playwright Born approximately on April 23, 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. Life of William Shakespeare (cont’d). Father: John Shakespeare

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Life of william shakespeare
Life of William Shakespeare

  • Known as the world’s most performed & admired playwright

  • Born approximately on April 23, 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, England

Life of william shakespeare cont d
Life of William Shakespeare (cont’d)

  • Father: John Shakespeare

    • Whittawer: maker, worker and seller of leather goods such as purses, belts & gloves

    • Also was a dealer of agricultural commodities such as wool, grain, malt and other farm produce

    • Active in Stratford-upon-Avon government until financial difficulties began

    • Illiterate

    • Died 1601 (60 years old)

Life of william shakespeare cont d1
Life of William Shakespeare (cont’d)

  • Mother: Mary Arden

    • Married John Shakespeare in 1557

    • Had eight children

      • William was the 3rd child and first son

    • Her role in the family was to bring up the Shakespeare family

    • Died September 9th, 1608 of unknown causes (68 years old)

Life of william shakespeare cont d2
Life of William Shakespeare (cont’d)

  • Education

    • Attended the “Free School” Elementary School

      • Motivation = Parents’ Illiteracy

      • Studied Latin, Latin Grammar, ancient writers, and mythology

      • Learned to write and recite Latin

Life of william shakespeare cont d3
Life of William Shakespeare (cont’d)

  • Education (cont’d)

    • At age 13 or 14, Shakespeare was withdrawn from school by his father so that he could help father run his business

    • Also received education from his mandatory attendance at church, where he was influenced by the Bible, The Book of Common Prayer, & Foxe’s Acts & Monuments

Life of william shakespeare cont d4
Life of William Shakespeare (cont’d)

  • Married Anne Hathaway

    • November 28, 1582

    • William was 18; Anne was 26

    • Anne 3 months pregnant when they married

    • Marriage done in haste

Life of william shakespeare cont d5
Life of William Shakespeare (cont’d)

  • Children

    • 1st child: Susanna

      • Born 6 months after William & Anne married

      • May 26, 1583

    • 2 years later:

      • Twins born: Hamnet & Judith

        • Hamnet died @ age 11 for unknown causes

Life of william shakespeare cont d6
Life of William Shakespeare (cont’d)

  • The “Lost” Years

    • 1586 to 1592

    • Shakespeare moved to London

      • Believed that Shakespeare moved to London to avoid prosecution for poaching deer

      • Leaves wife and children in Stratford

    • Became involved in the theatre

      • Lord Chamberlain’s Men

    • Began writing poetry and plays

    • No record of Shakespeare’s activities until 1592 when Shakespeare is criticized by a rival playwright

Life of william shakespeare cont d7
Life of William Shakespeare (cont’d)

  • Career

    • Gained fame about age 21

    • Member and part owner of Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later became known as King’s Men)

    • Was an actor for about 20 years, which is where he earned most of his money

    • Wrote 37 plays

      • Was paid approximately $40 to write a play

    • Wrote 154 sonnets

Shakespeare s works
Shakespeare’s Works

  • Shakespeare’s Early Works can be divided into 4 groups:

    1. The Classical Plays

    2. The History Plays

    3. The Narrative Poems and Sonnets

    4. Experiments in comedy

Shakespeare s works cont d
Shakespeare’s Works (cont’d)

  • 4 Major Works

    • Romeo & Juliet

    • Julius Caesar

    • Hamlet

    • Macbeth

Shakespeare s death
Shakespeare’s Death

  • Died April 23, 1616

    • 52 years old

    • Died of unknown causes

Facts about the globe theatre
Facts about the Globe Theatre

  • Built in 1599

  • Where most of Shakespeare’s plays were performed

  • Built of the wood

  • London’s most magnificent theatre ever seen

  • Located across the Thames River

  • Shakespeare was co-owner of “The Globe Theatre”

  • Motto: “All the world’s a stage”

  • Also known as the “Wooden O”

Facts about the globe theatre cont d
Facts about the Globe Theatre (cont’d)

  • June 1613 – Theatre burned to the ground

  • Rebuilt in 1613

  • 1642 – Closed by the Puritans

Layout of the globe theatre
Layout of “The Globe Theatre”

  • Could hold approximately 3,000 spectators

  • To advertise a play, a colored flag was flown indicating the type of play that would be performed

  • Large, circular or octagonal design, 3 stories high

  • At the base of the stage, was the “pit” for the groundlings to stand and watch the play

    • Cost to stand: one penny

  • Around the base was 3 levels of seating

    • First 2 levels = Twopenny Rooms

    • Third Level = Penny Gallery

Facts about performances
Facts about Performances

  • Minimum scenery, natural lightning, words in play gave time & day of play

  • NO female actresses

  • Minimum furniture props

  • Pig bladders filled with blood were used in death/stabbing scenes

  • No curtains


  • Had to be able to fence, tumble, dance, sing, and play two roles in one play

  • Had to have strong voices with good elocution (no microphones)

  • Lord Chamberlain’s Men

    • Acting company of “The Globe Theatre”

    • Company consisted of 10-12 adults, 6 boy apprentices & 2-3 stage hands


  • Authentic to the actor’s times

  • Received by buying costumes cheaply from servants who inherited them

  • Color of Costumes was symbolic


  • Theatre was not appropriate for women

  • Only the extremely wealthy women were allowed in the theatre but had to be escorted by a Lord

  • In the “Pit,” the Ladies of the Evening often solicited business from the groundlings before performance