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William Shakespeare is most arguably the best English poet and story writer the English literature world has ever known. Some of his famous works that one may recognize includes Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and many others. But there were plenty of other things happening in England during the sixteenth and seventeenth century. Important events like the defeat of the Spanish Armada, treaty of peace between England and France, alliance between England and Netherlands, discovery and exploration of the new world, and the rise/fall of plenty of English rulers. All of these events impacted Shakespeare in one way or the other which could make one want to study Shakespeare's work and compare/contrast the real world events with his work.
If one doesn't know of William Shakespeare then they've been hiding under a rock for centuries. William was a son of a wealthy business owner and active citizen of Stratford-upon-England. Shakespeare father then married Mary Arden in 1557 and had William on April 23, 1564. The black plague was decimating England in the fifteenth century and William was lucky that he survived. He lost several siblings to the plague including his older sisters Joan and Margaret. During that time period William and his brother Gilbert escaped the grasp of the deathly plagued and would both grow up to become successful people.
William started school at the age of six at the Stratford grammar school. He was taught primarily in Latin but he also learned in English. Some believe that William was taken out of school at the age of thirteen due to financial problems but that wouldn't stop young William from learning. When he was about the age of eighteen he married a woman named Anne Hathaway, who was older and pregnant at the time. They had their first born in 1583 and they named her Susanna. Two years later they had twins by the name of Hamnet and Judith. Sadly one of the twins, Hamnet, died in 1596 due to unknown causes which affected William deeply.
During this time, England was in a time of military dominance and golden age. They were about to go explore the new world and had "unofficially involved in hostilities against Spain since the 1570's"(Patrick, Pg 331). They were starting to gain wealth and power at a rapid rate. This certainly affected the citizens of England by ways of culture and entertainment. During this time, Shakespeare around the late 1500's was an inspiring actor and playwright. After gaining prominence in London, he became part owner of the Globe Theater and Blackfriars Theater in 1603. He continued acting until 1613 where he went to his hometown of Stratford to retire and sadly die in 1616, exactly 52 years to the day of his birth.
William Shakespeare died in a time of religious controversy, exploration of life and values, and the start of personal freedom and protection. England was a country with many problems but that was only inspiration for Shakespeare along with personal events affected him. For example the death of his son caused sorrow for him which in turn was expressed in his writing. The sorrow also came through when he joined different acting troupes which also helped him to gain ideas and thoughts about drama. All of these events and tragedy's eventually combine and come through Shakespeare writing and with his fame that he found during acting, it only took a matter of time for his writing to gain popularity.
Though William Shakespeare was never a rich man, he still continued to follow what he loved most. He lived comfortably in Stratford which was all that he wanted for he would continue writing drama's and comedy's that all would become famous either back then or right now. But people of England were not an easy crowd to please back in the 16th and 17th century. There was much upheaval in their government around this time which consisted of executions of political members to the public or assassinations. The Irish and Scots also were trying to gain their own independence from England around the late 1500's which made England be in constant war with country's all around them.
But even after Shakespeare's death there was war and political unrest. The "Thirty Years' War begins, lasts until 1648,"(britannia.com) and the exploration of the new world is fully underway which lead to England becoming more resourceful. Around the 1620's, ten years after the death of Shakespeare, King Charles I is forced to accept parliament's statement about civil rights in return for money so he can continue fighting his wars. This really marked the first time other then the Magna Carta that the king of England gives the people rights and civil liberties but of course they had to bargain for it. But not long after that King Charles I actually dissolve the parliament and rules England himself for the next 10 years. Dissolving the parliament wasn't actually a bad idea because King Charles I made peace with Spain and France which wouldn't of happened if parliament was still running.
There has been many changes to England all during this time but its important to look back at history and truly see. William Shakespeare was in some way a motivator or influencer of England and its people who were in constant war and in chaos. If one looks back and compares the history of England to Shakespeare's stories then they can see the similarities between them. When a reader today picks up a Shakespeare book or tale and reads it, its almost like looking back at England in that time period as if you were there and witness what it was like. Shakespeare gives us imagery and passion about England and that's why with his skills of writing and interesting dramatic stories that we still read about him and his tales today.
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WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE. Web. 11 Nov. 2010. <http://www.william-shakespeare.info/>.
James A. Patrick. Renaissance And Reformation. New York: Marshall Cavendish,
Giovanni Caselli. The Renaissance And the New World. New York: Peter Bedrick Books, 1986.
Catherine de Medicis. Reformation, Exploration, & Empire. Danbury: Grolier,