The life of William Shakespeare Parents/Family His father, John, trained as a glove-maker and married Mary Arden, the daughter of Robert Arden, a farmer from the nearby village of Wilmcote. John and Mary moved to Henley Street, Stratford, the house now known as Shakespeare’s Birthplace. John Shakespeare was a good citizen, he was on the town council for many years and he became Bailiff, or Mayor, in 1568. Besides being a glover, he traded as a wool dealer and was also involved in money-lending. John and Mary lost two children before William was born. They had five more children,but another one died young. Education Because William was the son of a leading townsman, it was very likely he went to Stratford’s ‘petty’ or junior school before moving on, maybe at the age of seven, to the Grammar School, which is still around today. The grammar school taught Latin, both written and spoken. Marriage In November 1582 he married Anne Hathaway, the daughter of Richard Hathaway, a local farmer. Her home, now known as Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, still stands in the village of Shottery, a mile from Stratford. At the time of their marriage William was eighteen and Anne was twenty-six. Their first-born child, Susanna, was baptised on 26 May 1583. Two years later twins followed, Hamlet and Judith. Early Career Shakespeare’s reputation was established in London by 1592. Shakespeare’s earliest plays included the three parts of Henry VI, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Titus Andronicus. Shakespeare’s first printed works were two long poems, Venus and Adonis (1593) and The Rape of Lucrece (1594). These were both dedicated to the Earl of Southampton. Most of the Sonnets were probably written about this time, too, although they were not published until 1609. 1n 1594, Shakespeare joined others in forming a new theatre company, with Richard Burbage as its leading actor. For almost twenty years Shakespeare was its regular dramatist, prod…
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