William  Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)

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William "The Bard of Avon" Shakespeare
Born in Stratford, Warwickshire, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Stratford, Warwickshire, Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 7 Aug 2008
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Categories: This Day In History April 23 | Notables | English Poets | English Playwrights.

William Shakespeare is notable.
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William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright who is widely believed to have been born on April 23rd 1564. Shakespeare is known for his many contributions to literature including the 154 sonnets among other highly popular plays such as Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet. Many consider Shakespeare to be the best English language writers of all time. His works are still very influential and are studied in schools all over the world. Although Shakespeare is best known for his works in literature, many people also know him for the controversy his name brings up. There are many different views on different aspects of Shakespeare's life including his religious affiliations, whether or not he actually wrote his plays or stole them from someone else, his sexual orientation, among many other things.

Touted as the world’s greatest poet and playwright to ever live, William Shakespeare is beloved and admired for his lasting impact on the humanities, art and literature. Although the actual date is not recorded (not common with births in the sixteenth century), Shakespeare was born to John and Mary Shakespeare in April of 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire (approximately 100 northwest of London). Stratford was at the time an epicenter of agriculture and an important market town.

Shakespeare would marry Anne Hathaway in 1582, and father three children; a daughter, Susanna and twins, Hamnet and Judith, who were named after two of Shakespeare’s lifelong friends. Very little information is available on Shakespeare’s life and times between the years 1585 and 1592. Some have speculated that Shakespeare left Stratford to pursue the entertainment business in London and to better support his family. Others claim he was engaged in law, was a ‘horse holder’ outside London theaters and was a runaway butcher who had visited Italy.

In 1592, Robert Greene referred to Shakespeare as an ‘upstart crow’ which is the first evidence of the playwright’s rise in London theater. By this time it is thought that he had already written Taming of the Shrew, The Comedy of Errors and parts of Henry VI, among others. The highlight years for Shakespeare were 1594-1599. During this time, he produced a wide array of notable plays, sonnets and narrative poems including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare’s popular acting company, The Chamberlain’s Men, would also perform for the entertainment of Queen Elizabeth I and her court. Later they would also perform for James I under the company name The King’s Men.

Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616 from an undocumented illness.


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Images: 3

Stratford Mill by John Constable
Stratford Mill by John Constable

The Cobbe Portrait
The Cobbe Portrait


On 30 Aug 2017 at 13:25 GMT Roger Hancock wrote:

The picture of Stratford Mill by John Constable has nothing to do with William Shakespeare. The picture by John Constable is of the River Stour in Suffolk in 1820 over 200 years after Shakespeare's death


On 26 Jan 2017 at 02:11 GMT Cynthia (Wilfong) Mangiafico wrote:

On 26 Apr 2016 at 10:02 GMT Michele (Britton) Camera wrote:

In light of these arguments (circumstantial though they may be) and absent a Catholic Baptism and or Confirmation certificate, I think we can say that Shakespeare was suspected of being a Catholic in his own time and present day scholars are inclinded to agree with that suspicion.

On 26 Apr 2016 at 09:58 GMT Michele (Britton) Camera wrote:

B) circa 1676, while speaking of Shakespeare's death 60 years in the past, protestant clergyman Richard Davis said the writer "died as a papist".

4. Shakespeare's daughter, Susanna, had refused to take the oath of supremacy which affirmed the English monarch as the head of the church. That refusal was a position held by many Catholics and one that landed Susanna in the court of the Recusant.

5. In 1613 Shakespeare purchased the Blackfriars Gatehouse in London and leased it out as a safehouse for Catholics fugitives and priests.

6. Brother of the Gatehouse tenent went to Rome to study for the priesthoid after such activity was banned in England.

On 26 Apr 2016 at 09:28 GMT Michele (Britton) Camera wrote:

Arguing for Shakespeare's clandestine Catholicism are the following:

1. Shakespeare's writings "clearly point to somebody who was not just saturated in Catholicism, but occasionally argued for it," said Claire Asquith, a scholar and author of "Shadowplay: The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare.

Asquith continues on by discussing Hamlet and how it portrays a Catholic's point of view.

2. "Author of 'Through Shakespeare's Eyes: Seeing Catholic Presence in the Plays', scholar Joseph Pearce takes this conflict a step further by saying the play is speaking out against England's persecution of Catholic priests. "The play illustrates the venting of Shakespeare's spleen against the spy network of England which had led to many a Catholic priest being arrested, tortured and martyred," said Pearce, who is director of the Center for Faith and Culture in Nashville, Tennessee and author of three books on Shakespeare."

3. Contemporary instances of Shakespeare having been recognized as Catholic:

A) In 1611, John Speed, a protestant & government propagandist accused Shakespeare if being "a Papist" after Shakespeare wrote a parody about the protestant martyr, John Oldcastle.

On 26 Apr 2016 at 09:22 GMT Michele (Britton) Camera wrote:

Quoted from Schneible

"While scholars agree that Shakespeare's writings indicate sympathies for the Catholic cause, definative proof from his life that he was a covert Catholic is harder to come by. in fact, Asquith said, there is even resistance among the academic community regarding his possible relationship with the Catholic Church, despite the vast evidence from the writings of Shakespeare and his contemporaries."

On 26 Apr 2016 at 09:13 GMT Michele (Britton) Camera wrote:

Additional source

Schneible, Ann. "Was Shakespeare Actually a Secret Catholic?" CRUX. Crux Catholic Media Inc., 24 Apr. 2016. Web. 26 Apr. 2016.<http://www.cruxnow.com/church/2016/04/24/was-shakespeare-actually-a-secret-catholic>

On 11 May 2015 at 17:32 GMT Vincent Piazza wrote:

Although Shakespeare is best known for his works in literature, many people also know him for the controversy his name brings up. There are many different views on different aspects of Shakespeare's life including his religious affiliations, whether or not he actually wrote his plays or stole them from someone else, his sexual orientation, among many other things.

This whole thought I think should be deleted from the narrative because it is only modern speculation. Too little is known about Shakespeare to support this as a fact. It would also eliminate the dangling preposition phrase "brings up".

(100 _______ northwest of London)???

On 11 May 2015 at 17:18 GMT Vincent Piazza wrote:

someone else, his sexual orientation, among many other things.

there should be an "and" in this sentence or a semi-colon, I would go with an "and" before "his sexual orientation"

also, would it be amongst (I'm not an expert with that word but among doesn't sound right in this sentence)

On 11 May 2015 at 17:08 GMT Vincent Piazza wrote:

...to be the best English language writers of all time.

either "one of" (or something similar) is missing from this sentence or writers is singular.

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