Although William Shakespeare is one of the most revered authors of all time, his biography is full of mystery and curiosity. His actual birth date is unknown, the correct spelling of his name is also uncertain and his parents were likely illiterate.Continue Reading
Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon around April 23, 1564. In 1582, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway. Anne was 26 years old and pregnant, while Shakespeare was only 18. Shakespeare's life is largely unrecorded from 1585 to 1592, what historians call his "lost" years. By 1592, Shakespeare had made a name for himself as a writer, and in his writing are the first written records of hundreds of modern phrases and words, such as "fashionable," "assassination," "birthplace," "majestic" and "cold-blooded."
Shakespeare receives credit for a total of 37 plays and 154 sonnets. Curiously, the majority of the sonnets were written for an unnamed young man whom the speaker of the poems seems to love very much.
Some scholars believe Shakespeare was actually a fraud. Given his upbringing as a commoner in an illiterate family with limited experience or access to courtly life, academics question whether Shakespeare could have been capable of writing his plays, which often deal with the politics of high society. Some theorize that the name William Shakespeare may have been a cover for one other or a group of other writers.
Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616. Eager to thwart grave-robbers who were known for ravaging grave sites at the time, Shakespeare had his epitaph read, "Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbeare/ To dig the dust enclosed here/ Blessed be the man that spares these stones/ And cursed be he that moves my bones.”Learn more about Plays