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William Shakespeare
A Quick Biography
The Younger Days
• Shakespeare was born into a middle class
family and had a very basic education that
consisted of Latin, reading the Bible, and basic
• He became interested in theatre by attending
plays with his family.
• He applied for a coat of arms for his family to
make it look as though they came from
• He earned a living as an actor, playwright, and
• His primary patron was King James who
supplied money, costumes, and raises to all of
the actors in Will’s company.
• He married Anne Hathaway and together they
had 3 children: Hamnet, Judith, and Susanna.
Life Accomplishments
• Shakespeare is known for writing over 36
plays and 150 poems throughout his lifetime.
• Romeo and Juliet is the most often taught play
of all of Shakespeare’s works.
• The most controversial of all plays was
• He was known for his tragedies, comedies,
and histories.
Shakespeare’s personal tragedies
• He lost his theatre, the Globe in 1613. It
burned down during a show where they used
a live cannon for special effect.
Did Shakespeare really write his plays?
• Many believe it is impossible for Shakespeare
to have written his plays
– Lacks heights and depths of passion
– could not learn aristocratic sports and manners
– lacked schooling
The Theater
Plays produced for the general public
Roofless>open air
No artificial lighting
Courtyard surrounded by 3 levels of
• Wealthy got benches
• “Groundlings”>poorer people
stood and watched from the
courtyard (“pit”)
• All but wealthy were
• Much more interaction than today
• Only men and boys
• Young boys whose voices had not
changed play women’s roles
• Would have been considered
indecent for a woman to appear on