KAUNAS JUOZAS GRUŠAS SECONDARY SCHOOL
1564 – 1616
Who was William Shakespeare? More has been written about him than about any other writer. Yet we know very little about his life, and there are some things in his biography that historians cannot state with any degree of certainty.
William Shakespeare was born at Stratford – upon – Avon, a small town in the middle of England. His grandfather was a farmer, his father was a wool and leather merchant who, unable to write, used a simple crross instead of a signature, while Shakespeare himself became a playwright. A note made in the church register at Stratford reads that on the 26th af April, 1564, was christened William, son of John Shakespeare. This shows that he was born on the 23rd of April, because at that time children were usually christened the third day after birth. According to popular belief, on the very same date, the 23rd af April, 52 years later, William Shakespeare died.
At the age of seven Shhakespeare went to the local grammar school which he attended for six years. Besides reading and writing, he was taught Latin and Greek. In 1577 William was taken from the school by his father whose affairs took a turn for the wo
When Shakespeare was young , a girl, Anne Hathaway, was growing up in the village of Shottery, just a mile away. William married her at the end of 1582. Like Romeo in his famous tragedy Romeo and Juliet , Shakespeare was eighteen then. The church register confirms the birth of their first child Susanna in 1583. Twins, Judith and Hamnet, were born two years laater. Soon afterwards the young Shakespeare left Stratford for London, probably to seek his fortune. And here breaks off the chain of documentary facts in his biography. What did the young man do during the first seven years of his lefe in London? Nobody can say. The only thing we know for certain is that Shakespeare, in one way or another, became acquainted with the theatre and several theatrical companies. By the end of the 1580s he is known to ha
The theatres in those times were quite different from our modern theatres. The Globe was a round wooden building. Its floor where the spectators were consisted of ordinary beaten earth. In the middle there was a kind of house where the actors dressed and kept the things which were used in the performance. In front of it there was a platform. This platform, together with the balcony over it, was the stage on which the actors played. They came out of the house onto the stage through two large doors. In front of the stage was a large yard. Round the yard there were three balconies, one over the other. By the main entrance there was a picture of the globe with these words on it: “All the world is a stage”.
Performances always began at three o’clock in the afternoon. From beginning to end, people could see a flag fluttering over the theatre. Londoners liked The Globe very much, so the theatre was always full of people. Those who co
In a sh
“Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbear
To dig the dust enclosed here;
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones.”
Who wrote these lines is not known, they don’t seem to be Shakespeare’s, although the threat of such a curse has left the playwright’s remains undisturbed since his death. A much better and often quoted epitaph is one of Shakespeare’s own from his tragedy Julius Caesar:
“His life was gentle, and the elements
So mixed in him that nature might stand up
And say to all the world, ‘This was a man’ ”.
Shakespeare’s most famous comedies are: The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado about Nothing, As You Like It and Twelfth Night. The most famous tragedies: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra and others.
Used literature: Gražvydas Kirvaitis