William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. The third of eight children, Will was schooled at a local grammar school where he studied Latin, logic and literature.
Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway when he was 18 and she 26. Very little is known of his life from 1585 until the beginning of his career as a playwright. By 1594, he had written at least six plays, and from then until 1608 was a chief member of London’s theatrical world.
In 1599, he, along with six other friends, became owners of the Globe, a new outdoor theatre. The Globe became the home theatre of his acting company, called The King’s Men. By the time of his death, on April 23, 1616, he had written 37 plays.
Is it possible one of your ancestors was at the Globe, watching a Shakespeare play?
The range of Shakespeare’s work remains impressive. He delved into the history of British monarchy in plays such as Henry IV, Henry V and Richard III. He reveled in hopeless romantic love and mistaken identities in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Comedy of Errors and All’s Well That Ends Well. Life’s painful drama was portrayed in historic tragedies like Othello, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth.
Although he died when he was only 52-years-old, he is still considered the greatest playwright the world has ever seen. He penned his own epitaph, which read:
“Good Friends, for Jesus’ sake forbear,
To dig the bones enclosed here!
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
And curst be he that moves my bones.”
Read more about the Bard of Avon