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Younger Years
• Born in Avon, England
• Parents
– John and Mary
• He was baptized on April 26, 1564
– Important because we don’t know his real birthday so
people assume his birthday is on April 23, 1564
– Baptisms typically happened a few days after the birth
• He grew up in Stratford, England
• That’s pretty much all we know about his
• In November 1582, Shakespeare married Anne
– Shakespeare was 18
– Anne was 26
• They had 3 children
– Susanna (born only 6 months after they were married
which caused speculation of their relationship)
– Judith
– Hamnet
• The boys were twins born in February 1585
• Shakespeare followed the
Church of England
– However, he kept his Roman Catholic Roots
• He zings the Church of England within his plays.
Leaving his Family and
Going to London
• We don’t know anything else about Shakespeare until
• Shakespeare is living in London
• He angers a fellow poet, Robert Greene
– Robert Greene wrote a statement saying that Shakespeare
thinks he is just as good as the other playwright's of the day
– This is important because it shows that Shakespeare’s
reputation for poetry had become significant enough to make a
failing competitor (Robert Greene) envious.
• At this time, a playwright had to live in London in order to
ever be successful
• He had to leave him family behind in Stratford
– He couldn’t afford to bring his family with him because he still
wasn’t making any money.
English Renaissance
• Middle class is educated.
• Guild schools (trade schools) are formed
and take over most of the education of the
middle class.
• Also, there are secular schools which are
not concerned with religion.
• During the Renaissance 50% of the
population was literate
Class Structure
• Middle class jobs became more stable and
more highly paid.
• Therefore, they were able to afford
luxuries like nicer homes and leisurely
• They started to go to the playhouses,
enjoy music, and art.
Shakespeare’s Lexicon
• Lexicon is a list of words that a person
uses and understands.
• An average person’s lexicon consists of
9,000 to 10,000 words.
• Shakespeare had a lexicon of 30,000 40,000 words!!!
• Shakespeare also added 2,000 words to
the English language!!
Shakespeare does not write in
• English Language History
– Old English
– Middle English
– Modern or Shakespearean English
– Present Day English
The Theatres in England
The Theatres were closed in 1593
due to the plague! They reopened
21 months later in 1594.
Shakespeare and his Men
• Shakespeare was one of the founding
members of the theatre group The Lord
Chamberlain’s Men in 1594
• Shakespeare’s theatre group also owned
The Blackfriars, another theatre in London.
• After Elizabeth I died, the name was
changed to The King’s Men for King
James I
Shakespeare’s Globe
• In 1613, the Globe Theatre opened.
• It could hold about 3,000 people
• The second was used until 1644, but the
Puritans tore it down due to their beliefs
that theatrical arts were “uncivilized”
• The third one was built in 1997 and you
can visit it today!
After Shakespeare’s Death
• Seven years after his death, the first
collection of his works were printed by
John Eminge and Henry Condell. It was
called the First Folio.
• It consisted of 36 plays!