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Biography of William Shakespeare

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William Shakespeare Biography HЬ_2004-06-13

William Shakespeare was born to John Shakespeare and mother Mary Arden April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon. There is no record of his birth, but his baptism was recorded by the church. His father was a prominent alderman in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, and was later granted a coat of arms by the College of Heralds. Shakespeare attended the Stratford Grammar School, and did not proceed to Oxford or Cambridge. The next record we have of him is his marriage to Anne Hathaway in 1582. The next year she born a daughter, Susanna and the twins Judith and Hamnet followed two years later.

Seven years later Shakespeare is recognized as an actor, poet and playwright, when a rival playwright, Robert Greene, refers to him as "an upstart crow" in A Groatsworth of Wit. A few years later he joined up with one of the most successful acting troupe's in London: The Lord Chamberlain's Men. When, in 1599, the troupe lost the lease of the theatre where they performed, they were wealthy enough to build their own theatre which they called "The Globe." The new theatre opened in July of 1599, with the motto "Totus mundus agit histrionem" (A whole world of players). The troupe was designated by the new king as the King's Men (or King's Company). The Letters Patent of the company specifically charged Shakespeare and eight others.

Shakespeare entertained the king and the people for another ten years. In June 19, 1613, when a canon fired from the roof of the theatre for a gala performance of Henry VIII the set fire to the roof and burned the theatre to the ground. The audience ignored the smoke from the roof at first, until the flames caught the walls and the fabric of the curtains. Amazingly there were no casualties, and the next spring the company rebuilt the theatre. Although Shakespeare invested in the rebuilding, he retired from the stage to the Great House of New Place in Statford that he had purchased in 1597. He also had some considerable land holdings, where he wrote until his death in 1616 on the day of his 52nd birthday.

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