23rd Apr2013

Today in History – April 23 -Shakespeare is born and dies

by Ken Clarke

On this day in 1564 William Shakespeare is born in Stratford-on-Avon and in a weird twist 52, years later he dies on the same day.

Little is known about the younger years of Shakespeare, arguably the greatest writer in history, as he was the son of a leather trader and town bailiff and records of non-nobles at that time were scarce, but what is known is that he may have had traditional schooling but he did not attended college, instead at 18 he married Anne Hathaway, who was eight years older than him and pregnant at the time of the marriage. Six months after getting married his daughter Susanna was born and in 1858 he and Anna had twins Hamnet and Judith. His only son Hamnet died at the age of 11.

Between the birth of his twins and his emergency as a playwright in the early 1590’s little is known about his life but it is speculated he joined a group of traveling players became a schoolteacher and served as a solider.

In 1593 his poem Venus and Adonis was published, a year later he became an actor and playwright for what would become the King’s Men, which grew into the country’s finest acting troupe performing at the best theater the Globe. Shakespeare, who had become the main dramatist, stayed with the group until he retired.

The group began performing some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays such as Romeo and Juliet, Richard II and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

In 1599 after producing his great historical series, the first and second part of Henry IV and Henry V Shakespeare became a partner at the Globe Theater.

The beginning of the 1600’s saw Shakespeare release the first of his great tragedies Hamlet, followed by The Merry Wives of Windsor. Over the next decade he produced Othello, King Lear, Macbeth and the Tempest. In 1609 his 154 sonnets were published.

On April 23,1616 on the same day he was born 52 years earlier, Shakespeare died.

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