John, the son ofRichard Shakespeare, was a maker, worker and seller ofleather goods like purses, belts and gloves and a dealer inagricultural commodities. He served in Stratfordgovernment successively as a member of the Council ,constable , chamberlain , alderman and finally high bailiffwhich is the equivalent of town mayor. About 1577 JohnShakespeare’s fortunes began to decline for unknownreasons. There are records of debts. William had seven siblings.
He was the third child andfirst born son. In the sixteenth centuryStratford-upon-Avon was an important agricultural centerand market town. The building in Henley street knowntoday as the birthplace of William Shakespeare was at thetime of his birth, two different buildings that JohnShakespeare bought at two different times. William went to school at the Stratford GrammarSchool. He had to show up at six or seven A. M.
dependingon the season and stay there most of the day, six days aweek. William studied many different authors anddramatists including Caesar, Cicero, Virgil, Horace, Livy,and Ovid. Ovid was his favorite. Grammar school was thebeginning of Shakespeare’s career. Almost everything hemastered he learned there.
After grammar school, Williamwent to the Warwickshire Countryside. There he playedparts in plays and wrote poetry. The years 1594-1599 were momentous forShakespeare. He produced a steady stream of plays of thehighest quality. He continued as a principal actor andmanager in the Chamberlain’s men, blessed with a stablework environment in the theater. Finally in 1599, hebecame part owner in the most prestigious publicplayhouse in London, the Globe.
His first works which were heavily influenced by theclassical examples he had learned as a student were TheComedy of Errors and Titus Andronicus. He invented anew genre called the history play. His early works in thisgenre were the three Henry VI plays, and Richard III. Hegot his idea for Venis and Adonis and Rape of Lucrecefrom his favorite author, Ovid. Over the years 1594-1599 the Chamberlain’s Men hadbecome the most popular acting company in London, beinginvited to perform at court far more often than any othergroup.
Shakespeare must have done a great deal of acting. He is listed by Ben Jonson in Jonson’s magnificent 1616Folio of his Works as having acted as the chief comedian inEvery Man In His Humour in 1598. The Globe Theaterburned down in 1613 and many of Shakespeare’smanuscripts were ruined. It was then rebuilt by a carpenternamed Peter Rose. Shakespeare’s last work before he retired was TheTemptest. Then he died in 1616 and was then buried in theParish Church.
His death was sudden and they don’t knowwhat caused it but they think he could have lived muchlonger. Almost all his things went to his oldest daughterSusanne. His younger daughter Judith got 300 pounds, andhis wife got all the furniture. After he died Judith married John Quiney. He cheatedon her and got another girl pregnant.
That baby died. Judithand John had three children together. One they namedShakespeare died as an infant. There other two, Richardand Thomas died at the ages of 21 and 19. Shakespeare was one of the greatest playwrights andpoets ever.
He was a big part in literature. He invented anew genre and made many plays that everybody loves. Hewas a great man. On his grave it says:GOOD FRIEND FOR JESUSSAKE FOR BEARTO DIG THE DUSTENCLOSED HEARBLESSED BE YE MAN WHOSPARES THESE STONESAND CURSED BE HE WHOMOVES MY BONES