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William Shakespeare Biography

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Will lived for 52 years as his biography confirms. In just 23 years, between approximately 1590 and 1613, he is attributed with writing 38 plays, Famous Shakespearean sonnets and 5 other poems.

He is the most widely read of all Authors and the popularity of the Life and Works of Shakespeare, in English speaking countries, is second only to the Bible. It is therefore no surprise that Shakespeare's biography, or bio, sparks so much interest. We have categorised this William Shakespeare Biography, or bio, into sections to facilitate easy reference.

These range from a section on Shakespeare's ancestors to his education and from William Shakespeare's brothers and sisters to Shakespeare's acting career.

Due to amount of information available we have detailed the William Shakespeare biography in to specific sections. Information about the Life and Works of Shakespeare together with the comprehensive William Shakespeare's Biography and Timelines can be accessed via the relevant links provided below.

The documented references in our William Shakespeare biography can be used as a framework on which to build a picture of the life of Shakespeare and these can be accessed via the Facts section of this site and the links below but this still leaves us with many unanswered questions and mysteries surrounding...
The 'Lost Years', William Shakespeare's actual appearance, William Shakespeare's plays, William Shakespeare's sonnets, and his breadth of knowledge and the Identity Problem to name but a few! Difficult when compiling William Shakespeare's Biography.

  • What do we know about the history of William Shakespeare's ancestors? How far can his family tree be traced ?
  • What was his mother, Mary Arden and father John Shakespeare like ? What backgrounds did they come from ? Why did they live in Stratford ? Was Shakespeare's father successful ? 
  • Who were William Shakespeare's brothers and sisters ? How many siblings did he have ? How long did they live ? What were their lives like ? Did they attend school ?
  • What was the Bard's childhood like ? What was life like for him growing up in the Elizabethan era in Stratford ? When did he get his first taste for drama ? Were plays performed at school ?
  • What sort of Education was available ? What was a Petty School ? And what was the level of education given in the Stratford Grammar School ? 
  • The Tudor Alphabet - Why old documents of the era can be difficult to read !
  • What entertainment was there in Stratford ? Which acting troupes visited Stratford and how was Shakespeare's father involved with them ?
  • Why was it difficult to travel during the Elizabethan era ?
  • Why did the Bard have to leave school ? What likely events took place before his marriage to Anne Hathaway - known as the Lost Years of  1578 - 1582?
  • What do we know of William Shakespeare's courtship and marriage to Anne Hathaway - the older woman who was pregnant ? How would the scandal have effected Shakespeare's family ?
  • And what about the life of Anne Hathaway - We have compiled a comprehensive biography piecing together her life with William Shakespeare the great Stratford Bard
  • Who were the children of William Shakespeare? What sort of lives did they lead ? Were they literate ? What scandal was caused by one of the children and rocked the family ?
  • Were there any grandchildren ? Are their any direct descendents ?
  • What were the rumours about an illegitimate son ? Who was the mother ? Facts are included in this William Shakespeare biography
  • What events may have occurred during the second Lost Years between between marriage to Anne Hathaway and the London Theatre from 1585 - 1592 ?

The life of the Bard is complex and his life has been covered in detail via the biography links below 

Biography of William Shakespeare - Ancestors of the playwright - History and facts about the family tree 
William Shakespeare Parents - Mother and Father - Mary Arden and John Shakespeare
William Shakespeare siblings -  his brothers and sisters - Joan, Margaret, Gilbert, Anne, Richard and Edmund
Elizabethan Crime and Punishment
Elizabethan Wedding Customs
Elizabethan Women
Elizabethan Education - The Petty School and Grammar School - The Elizabethan alphabet
Stratford upon Avon - Life during the Elizabethan era
William Shakespeare Biography - The Lost Years 1578 - 1582 between leaving school and marrying Anne Hathaway
Biography of William Shakespeare - His courtship, wedding and marriage to Anne Hathaway
Biography of Anne Hathaway - Wife of Shakespeare - her family, life in Stratford, marriage, children and grandchildren
Biography  - Children and Grandchildren Judith, Hamnet, Susanna - Shakespeare, Richard and Thomas
Shakespeare Biography - Sir William Davenant, actor - Godson  and rumoured to be the Bard's illegitimate child
William Shakespeare Biography - The Lost Years 1582 - 1592 between marriage to Anne Hathaway and the London Theatre

So what do we know about the life of the Bard? There are over 100 references to William Shakespeare and his family in Public records such as Registrar and Court records containing wills, baptism, marriage and Death certificates. There are also records of legal and business transactions including some theatrical and Court documents which also relate to Shake-speare. There are also documented references made about Will by some of his contempories which have helped when compiling the Biography of William Shakespear. The comprehensive timelines put the major events of the Elizabethan era and William Shakespeare's life into perspective. The following links continue with the story of the great Bard, William Shakespeare's biography.

FACTS - The Last Will and Testament of William Shakespeare - the Second best bed to his wife and gifts to fellow actors
FACTS - Family Timeline - Time lines for all  family of William Shakespeare - timelines for
ancestors, parents, siblings and children
FACTS - Elizabethan Timeline 1531 to 1592 - Time line with key dates and events of the era
FACTS - Elizabethan  / Stuart Timeline 1593 to 1646 Time line with key dates and events of the era
Shakespeare Site Map
Shakespearean Facts
First Folio
Shakespeare Quotes
Bubonic Plague
Quotes re Shakespeare
Shakespeare Dictionary
Shakespeare Plays
Pictures of Shakespeare
Globe Theater
Elizabethan Theater
Shakespeare Sonnets
Shakespeare Poems
Identity Problem
Shakespeare Index

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