The Life and Times of William Shakespeare

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Shakespeare is widely regarded as the world’s greatest playwright, and there’s no real reason to dispute that. People are still seeing his plays 400 years after he wrote them, not because it’s “trendy” or “hip,” but because they’re so good. His insight into the human spirit has never been equaled. This paper is a brief biography of Shakespeare and a discussion of the times in which he lived. Discussion

His life: It’s somewhat difficult to find factual information about Shakespeare, because the “first attempts at biographical research were not begun until over half a century after Shakespeare’s death” (Best, 2005). In addition, there were few biographies written of important persons at this time, especially dramatists, since plays were not considered “serious literature” (Best, 2005). In addition, the Puritans closed the theaters in 1642, and many manuscripts and other records were lost (Best, 2005). It also doesn’t help that there are numerous spellings of his name. Nevertheless, scholars have pieced together a fairly complete picture of his life, and where facts are not known, they have drawn reasonable inferences (Best, 2005). However, the fact remains that much of what we know is based on indirect information. William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon some time in April, 1564, the son of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden (Hanna - Life). Although there is no record of the exact date of his birth, there is a baptismal record at the church, so most scholars put his birthday as the 23rd of April, 1564 (Hanna - Life). John Shakespeare was a “prominent and prosperous alderman” in Stratford, and was “granted a coat of arms by the College of Heralds” (Hanna - Life). Little is known of Shakespeare’s boyhood but it is believed that he probably attended the “Stratford Grammar School” (Hanna - Life). There is no record of him having gone on to either Oxford or Cambridge, both of which were well established by his time (Hanna - Life). Shakespeare’s name turns up...
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