Saturday 23 April 2016

William Shakespeare

English Poet and Dramatist

William Shakespeare (1564 — 1616), born 452 years ago on this day was the world's supreme creative literary genius. Little is known of his life. While his birth date is conjectural, he was baptised in the parish church of Stratford-upon-Avon on April 26, 1564. His father, John Shakespeare, was a dealer in agricultural produce in that town; his mother, Mary Arden, was a farmer's daughter. William, their third, but eldest surviving child, is thought to have been educated at Stratford Grammar School, to have left in his fourteenth year, and (traditionally) to have been apprenticed to a butcher. In 1852, in his 19th year, he married Ann Hathaway, daughter of a farmer of Shottery whose cottage, still preserved, is now called Ann Hathaway's cottage. She was Shakespeare's senior by eight years. A daughter, Susanna, was born within six months of the marriage, and twins (Hamnet and Judith) in 1585. Hamnet died in his 12th year, but the daughters both survived their father. Shakespeare moved to London in 1887 and found employment in the theatre at Shoreditch, the only playhouse then existing. He was soon admitted as a member of a company of players to which he remained faithful for the rest of his career.

Turning playwright, Shakespeare revealed unique powers of characterisation and mastery of dramatic speech in both verse and prose, with 37 plays assigned to him in his lifetime. In 1597, he purchased New Place, the second largest house in Stratford, and retired there in 1611. He died at New Place and was buried in the Chancel of Stratford church.

Thousands of books have been written about Shakespeare and his works. His plays are acted and studied more than any other dramatist in history

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