William Shakespeare - Sample Essay

William Shakespeare was to English literature what water is to life. It is difficult to imagine one without the other. This paper is a biography on this great man who dazzled the world with his creativity. We find that despite his amazing creativity and awesome understanding of human nature, Shakespeare was but a man who was just like other common men. For example: (1) He was not born with a silver spoon. His parents though reasonably well off, were obviously not nobility. (2) His education was not sterling.

He attended a reputed grammar school but did not go to university. (3) His marriage, albeit mysterious in some ways, was just like a normal marriage and his children led simple lives. (4) His struggle for fame is noteworthy. He got criticized by famous critics, yet worked on and achieved the deserved fame. This simply goes on to show that common men go on to become uncommon by that heady mix of talent and perseverance. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE William Shakespeare is probably the most famous English playwright of all times.

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His fame is such that his name is almost synonymous with English Literature. Even though more than 400 years have passed since his time and much water has flown under the bridge, yet his incisive and engrossing plays remain just as famous and inspire number of modern day novelists, movie makers, artists and common people as well. He gave us the memorable tragedies like Othello and Romeo and Juliet, amusing comedies like The Comedy of Errors and A Midsummer Night’s Dream and unforgettable historical plays like Henry VI.

This biography seeks to highlight the various aspects of this great man’s life. Part of Shakespeare’s charm is probably the enigma attached to his personality. Even though his fame was noteworthy, many aspects of his life are under a cloud. There are basically two sources of information about his life- one of them is obviously his literature and the other are the various legal and Church documents that have been discovered.

Shakespeare’s father John Shakespeare was an apprentice glover and tanner of leather and had migrated to Stratford from Snitterfield before 1532. He married Mary Arden, a landed local heiress, probably between 1556 to 1558. William Shakespeare was born to Mary and John Shakespeare probably on April 23, 1564 as he is known to have been baptized at the Holy Trinity Church at Stratford on April 25, 1564. However, his actual birth date is not known with certainty.

He was the third child of the eight children that John and Mary sired, three of whom died in early childhood. No concrete records exist about Shakespeare’s childhood and education and the little knowledge that we have is based on conjecture. His father, John Shakespeare, held important official positions as alderman and high bailiff during William’s childhood and this lends support to the fact that William attended a free grammar school (in Stratford) which had a sterling reputation.

In Shakespeare’s first biography (written in 1709, infamous for its inaccuracy), biographer Nicholas Rowe also agrees with the above fact. Of course, Shakespeare’s knowledge of Latin and Classical Greek as well as the high quality of his works points to the fact that he had a strong foundation in education at least at the school level. It is, however, known with certainty that Shakespeare did not attend university.

On November 28, 1582, Shakespeare married a pregnant orphan called Anne Hathaway (from recordings in the Episcopal register at Worcester). There is a large amount of controversial data regarding this marriage and it is not known certainly whether Shakespeare married the woman he loved or not. However, it is known with certainty that Anne and William Shakespeare had three children – Susanne and the twins Hamnet and Judith.



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