Saturday, 30 May 2015

Shakespeare - "To be, or not to be"

Lego Shakespeare 
William Shakespeare was born in 1564 at Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire. His father was John Shakespeare, a glove maker and wool merchant and his mother was Mary Arden. He was most likely educated at the local King Edward VI Grammar School in Stratford. He married at the age of 18 to Anne Hathaway in 1582.

The years between 1585 and 1592 are known as the 'Lost Years' as it is not known what Shakespeare achieved in the period. We find him in London and became an actor. He also became one of the managing partners of the Lord Chamberlain's Company. The company acquired interests in only two theatres in Southwark area of London near the south bank of the Thames, The Globe and The Blackfriars.

In 1593 and 1594 Shakespeare wrote his first poems, 'Venus and Adonis' and 'Rape of Lucrece'. Both published by Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton and his patron. According to the records he wrote his first play in 1594. Making about two plays a year until 1611. His earliest plays were mainly historical and comedies, such as 'Henry VI' and 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. Then later on he moved onto tragedies, such as 'Romeo and Juliet'.

In 1596 John, Shakespeare's father was granted to have a coat of arms. In 1597, Shakespeare bought a larger house in New Place, Stratford. By the last years of the Elizabeth I's reign he was called upon to perform several of his plays before the Queen and court.

William Rowley 
you got the lines all wrong.
 It's "Alas poor Yorick,
 I knew him".
In 1602, Shakespeare's success enabled him to move upmarket in Silver Street, London. While he was living here he wrote some of his greatest tragedies, such as 'Hamlet' and 'Macbeth'.

After his long career, he spent the last five years of his life in the family home in New Place, Stratford. He died on 23rd April 1616 at the age of 52 and buried in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. He bequeathed his property to the male heirs of his eldest daughter, Susanna and his 'second best bed' to his wife.

The first collected edition of his works was published in 1623 and was known as the 'First Folio'. 

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