Shakespeare: Who Was He Really?

The world is full of legends and stories, myths and tales that captivate our attention and keep us glued to our screens or books. Some of these tales are about actual myths and mythological beings or people, while others are stories about actual historic figures.

Some of these figures are enveloped in an aura of legends and it is hard to tell where the story of a person starts and where the legend ends.

Such a person is William Shakespeare, playwright and actor, known for plays such as Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, The Tempest, and many more. There are plenty of stories surrounding Shakespeare, but little talk about his actual biography. Who was Shakespeare? Let us take a look.

Early Life

Shakespeare was born to John Shakespeare and Mary Arden. His exact date of birth is not known, we only know that his birth was around this date: 26th April, 1564. Some say that he was born on 23rd of April, but the rumors about this date started to spread because he died on this date. Little is known about Shakespeare in his early years. His father used to make gloves and he worked with leather. Interestingly enough, he later became the mayor of Stratford upon-Avon. He belongs to the famous Arden family, because of his mother who was of their origin. This family can trace its lineage back to the Anglo Saxons. 

There are multiple opinions that agree that Shakespeare was educated in King’s New School in Stratford. Schools at the time taught standardized Latin. 

Middle and Playwright Years

Shakespeare began his marriage with  Anne Hathaway on November 27, 1582. He was 18 at the time and Hathaway 26. Not six months into their marriage, Anne gave birth to Susanna, their first daughter, who was baptized on May 26, 1583. They also had twins, called Hamnet and Judith, however, Hamnet died on August 11, 1596, out of unknown reasons.

Shakespeare was not present in the media, to say, from 1585, until 1592. There were little to no traces of the playwright during those years. In 1592, however, he was known enough to have been attacked by another playwright, in written form, of course. In 1594, his plays were played exclusively by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a group of actors led by Shakespeare. They became the King’s Men after King James I was crowned in 1603.

Shakespeare wrote a lot of plays between 1592 and 1616. He moved between Stratford and London during his playwright years.

Later Years and Death

Shakespeare was thought to have retired a couple of years prior to his death. He still worked in London around 1608, but theaters were not open, due to an outbreak of the Bubonic plague. His last play, Henry VIII, was published in 1613. No works were credited to Shakespeare after 1613.

He died three years later, on April 23 1616, at the age of 52. The cause of death is unknown but he died not a month later after signing his will, in which he described himself as being in perfect health. 

William Shakespeare was a playwright and actor, known for writing amazing plays and sonnets. His works are the most performed out of any playwright, still relevant to this day.