William Shakespeare

April 26* 1564 – April 23 1616

It’s an odd juxtaposition that, considering he is near-universally regarded as the greatest English writer in history, so little is known about the actual life of William Shakespeare. The MAN was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK in April of 1564. By 1600, the LEGEND was already well on his way into the history books. The details of his private life are mostly lost to years and lack of records, but by 1592, Shakespeare was in London, acting and writing plays. He was most closely associated with the acting troupe, Lord Chamberlain’s Men, who originated most of his plays.  The troupe quickly became one of the most successful in London. In 1599, they built the Globe theatre where they performed to increasingly rave reviews and eventually caught the eye of newly coronated King James I.  With the monarch’s backing, the troupe rebranded in 1603 as The King’s Men. By this point, the six shareholders in the troupe, including William Shakespeare, were not only the toast of the town, but were very, very rich. Around 1613, Shakespeare retired to Stratford, where he died 3 years later at the age of 52.

In all, Shakespeare is attributed to 39 plays, more than 150 sonnets and a number of other works. His vast canon earned him the nickname “The Bard of Stratford.” His plays still rank among the most performed works even today. Classic comedies such as The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as iconic tragedies like Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, MacBeth and Othello remain as popular today as they were 400 years ago. Due to the sparse historical records of Shakespeare’s life, some believe that the LEGEND of Shakespeare is more of an amalgamation of writers at the time. Others claim that Christopher Marlowe (who was a contemporary of Shakespeare) actually wrote some of the works attributed to The Bard. Whether any of this is true is lost to history. What remains, more important today than a man or a legend, is a legacy that has endured for centuries.  A legacy that is perfectly symbolized with a single word: SHAKESPEARE.

Burial

Holy Trinity Church – Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, UK

Honesty Time: When I visited Shakespeare’s grave in the ’90s, they didn’t allow photographs inside the church. So, I bought this postcard. It totally counts.

Specific Location

Enter the cathedral and head straight back toward the altar at the eastern end. Shakespeare is buried in front of the altar on the left.

*- His exact birthdate is not known, so history attributes it to the day he was baptized.

One Response to “William Shakespeare”

  1. Such a beautiful post 😀! Thanks for sharing Shakespeare’s journey.. I never knew this much about him before 👍

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