William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was born in 1564, in the small market town of Startford-Upon-Avon. He was the third of eight children. Shakespeare was born to what today would be called middle-class parents. William was baptized on April 26. According to the custom at that time, infants were baptized about three days after their birth. At age 7, William attended the Stratford grammar school with other boys of his social class. He spent nine hours a day in school. He attended class year round, except for three brief holiday periods. His teachers enforced strict discipline and physically punished students, who broke the rules. In grammar school he basically studied Latin, the language of Ancient Rome. In spite of the long hours he spent in school, Shakespeare's boyhood was not all spent on studying.

John Shakespeare, William's father, was a glove maker who owned a shop in the town of Stratford. His father was a respected man in the town. His father held several important positions in the local government. Many Arden, William's mother was the daughter of a farmer but related to a family of considerable social standings in the county. William's parents married in 1557. William was a Roman Catholic. His family went to the Church of England, the state church.

William became an English playwright and poet. He was generally considered (the greatest dramatist the world had written in the English language.) He was also the world's most popular author. No other writer's plays were produced so many times or read so widely in so many countries. He created characters that had meaning beyond their time and place of his plays. Yet his characters were not symbolic figures. They were remarkable, individual human beings. They had struggles just as people do in real life, sometimes with painful and tragic failure. He wrote at least thirty-seven plays. One of which, King Richard II was "a play of deposing and killing."(3.184) The plays which traditionally divided in comedies, histories, and tragedies. William had deeply understood human nature; Shakespeare had knowledge in a wide variety of other subjects. Scholars thought that Shakespeare had no professional experience in any field except the theater.

After leaving Stratford to go to London, within a few years he had an enormous influence on cultures throughout the world. His works have helped shape the literature of all English-speaking countries and of such countries as Germany and Russia. Shakespeare freely experimented with grammar and vocabulary and helped prevent literary English from becoming fixed and artificial. Shakespeare's influence on language has not been limited to writers and scholars.

"Shakespeare has influenced our thinking even historians themselves have been influenced by Shakespeare's greatness. Shakespeare's widespread influence reflects his astonishing popularity."
(2.3) After about 1608, Shakepeare's dramatic productions lessened and it seemed that he spent more time in Stratford, where he had established his family in an imposing house called New Place and ad become a leading local citizen. He then died in 1616, and was buried in the Stratford church.