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On April 23, 1564, John Shakespeare and Mary Arden gave birth to William Shakespeare. He grew up in a civilized market town of Stratford upon Avon in England. Shakespeare grew up in a charismatic and religious household. It was very important to his family that he was baptized and accepted God into his heart. He was responsible for learning various sermons, the Apostles Creed and The Lord's prayer. He was taught to speak and recite these prayers in tongues. Shakespeare was finally granted the sacrament of baptism on April 26, 1564, a huge milestone in his adolescent life. William was christened by the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford upon Avon. During the Elizabethan time, the Anglican faith "favored the presentation of apostle-spoons or christening shirts to the infant" (Ackroyd 4). These gifts are given to the infant by the god-parents; this is a significant moment in a child's life. It was believed that if an infant was baptized and for some reason died, they would be saved for eternity.
Much of William Shakespeare's adolescence is unknown. It is believed that he attended a free grammar school in Stratford but there are no official records for Shakespeare actually attending the school. The grammar school was "geared to teaching pupils Latin, both spoken and written." Scholars have debated upon the fact that Shakespeare's literary quality and detail express his educational background. Scholars feel that he had to have attended school or else he would not created masterpieces based on "Ovid's tales, the plays of Terence and Platus, and Roman history."
At the age of eighteen, Shakespeare married twenty-six year old, Anne Hathaway on November 28, 1582. They had their first daughter, Susanna on May 26, 1583 and two years later had their fraternal twins, Judith and Hamnet on February 2, 1585. The family resided in Stratford for many years until the death of Hamnet, Williams only son. Hamnet was eleven years old and died on August 11, 1596 from the Bubonic plague or as it was well known "The Black Death". "Fleas infected with plague carry the bacteria in their digestive systems. When they bite a human, the bacteria are released into the humans body and travel to the lymph nodes" (Person 10). The Bubonic plague was very fierce; the fear of this disease was so great that it caused many public places such as theatres to shut down. Unfortunately, the Bubonic plague claimed many of William's family member's lives. Shakespeare was heavily affected by the death of his son and soon after left Stratford and his family for seven years. This period in Shakespeare's life was known as the "Lost Years."
After the death of his son, Shakespeare fled to London where he began to playwright and became a part owner in a theatre company. There are many stories about Shakespeare's "Lost Years," telling tales of how he was "caught poaching a deer in Charlecote Park, near Stratford and fled to London to avoid prosecution." There is another story that Shakespeare was a school master during the "Lost Years" time period. Scholars also said that "Shakespeare worked for a wealthy Catholic landowner in Lancashire and later for the Earl of Derby" (Honigmann 173).
It was in 1952 that Shakespeare decided to pursue a career in acting a playwriting. William was very talented and showed great potential, he was severely envied by other play writers. Most notably, Robert Green, who held a forceful and verbal attack on Shakespeare. "For there is an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tygers hart wrap in a Players hyde, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of yew: and being an absolute Johannes factotum, is in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrey."
Greene was a very bitter towards Shakespeare, possibly because success came very quickly to him. In 1954 Shakespeare began acting with Lord Chamberlains Men, where he worked with celebrities like Will Kempe, a master comedian and Richard Burbage, a famous tragic actor. (Shakespeare Resource) Shakespeare continued to write and direct plays for many years he became increasingly famous and which eventually led to great success and much wealth. Shakespeare was able to return home and provide for his family but much of his work life took place in London. A great accomplishment and honor was granted to Shakespeare and his acting company in 1603 by James I of Scotland; he was granted royal patronage. It is said that the majority of Shakespeare's most famous tragedies were written in the early 1600s, such as, Macbeth, Hamlet, and Othello.
William Shakespeare died April 23, 1616 in Stratford at age 52. He was survived by his wife Anne, and his two daughters Suzanna and Judith. Shakespeare created several masterpieces that are still studied and performed today. His playwrights have been deemed so powerful that they are incomparable to any other author known to date. Shakespeare was a great writer that will probably continue to display for many more years to come.
1594, By. "Shakespeare's Biography." Shakespeare Resource Center. Web. 16 Nov. 2010.
Ackroyd, Peter. Shakespeare: the Biography. London: Chatto & Windus, 2005. Print.
"Bubonic Plague and Shakespeare." William Shakespeare Biography. Web. 16 Nov. 2010.
Honigmann, E. A. J. Shakespeare: the Lost Years. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1998. Print.
"Outline of Shakespeare's Life." Welcome to the Shakespeare Houses Website. Web. 16 Nov. 2010.
Person, Stephen. Bubonic Plague: the Black Death! New York: Bearport Pub., 2010. Print.
"Shakespeare's Lost Years." Shakespeare Resource Center. Web. 16 Nov. 2010.
"Upstart Crow." Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet. Web. 16 Nov. 2010.