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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 childhood Family • In November 1582, Shakespeare married Anne Hatheway – 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 Religion • 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 1592 • 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 (paraphrased) – 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 1500-1650 Education • 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 activities. • 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 OLD ENGLISH!!! • 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!