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Early years and early adulthood
Shakespeare was born to John Shakespeare and Mary Arden in Stratford-upon-Avon. Though the actual date of his birth is not known, it is speculated to be on April 23, 1564. He was baptized three days later on April 26, 1564. He attended King's New School; a free chartered grammar school situated in Stratford. Most grammar schools at that time taught Latin and the classics, a curriculum stated by the law in the whole of England. He married aged 18 years in 1582 and began a family. After the birth of his twin children, little is known of Shakespeare up to 1592 when he is talked about as a member in a London theatre scene.
It is not clear when Shakespeare started his career but most scholars propose the year 1592. He authored many works of literature comprising of several plays and poems (Meagher, 2003). These plays can be categorized as comedies, histories, and tragedies. Some of his best known plays include Romeo and Juliet, Othello, The Tempest, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, and Julius Caesar. Some of his famous poems include Venus and Adonis, A Lovers Complaint, and Shakespeare's sonnets. His writing style is rather unique and stands out among most authors of his genre.
His early plays and poetry was written using a lot of rhetorical language that utilized a lot of elaborate metaphors and conceits that required the actors to rather declaim than speak. By the mid 1590s, he began writing his poems using the blank verse that was composed in iambic pentameter (Meagher, 2003). This entails writing verses that are usually rhymed and comprised of ten syllables in a line that are spoken with emphasis being placed on the second syllable.
This form of blank verse is characterized by sentences starting, pausing and ending where lined end, numerous run-on lines, extreme variation in the structure and length of sentences, and irregular stops and pauses (Berry, 2005). In his later poems, he used a poetic style characterized by short and long sentences with objects and subjects reversed, piling up of clauses and omitting some words creating a spontaneity effect.
Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway at 18 years. Anne was aged 26 at the time of their marriage, 8 years older than Shakespeare. A marriage license was issued November 27, 1582 by the consistory court. The marriage ceremony was done in a rush since the chancellor of Worcester permitted the reading of marriage banns to be done only once rather than the customary three times. Their first daughter was born six months after the marriage and baptized Susana on May 26, 1583. Their twin daughter and son Judith and Hamnet were born two years later and were baptized on February 2, 1585. Hamnet became ill and died aged 11 of unknown causes and was buried August 11, 1596.
Shakespeare passed away on April 23, 1616 and left his wife and two daughters who had already been married (Greenblatt, 2005). He left a will that entrusted most of his estate to his eldest daughter Susana and had instructed her to pass it down to her first son. She did not get a son but a daughter Elizabeth who got married twice but died without getting a child. Shakespeare was buried two days following his death in the Holy Trinity Church's chancel. His epitaph carved on the stone slab that covers his grave contains a curse that warns against anyone moving his bones and reads as follows;
"Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear,"
"To dig the dust enclosed here."
"Blessed be the man that spares these stones,"
"And cursed be he who moves my bones". (Taylor, 1987).