400 Years of Shakespeare

by Jessica Reppert

English playwright, poet, and actor, William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564, in the Warwiskshire town of Stratford to Mary Arden, daughter of a landowner, and John Shakespeare, a glove maker and trader of farm produce. John held several of Stratford’s government positions, even serving as Mayor in 1569 (Gale Biography).

Shakespeare studied at the Stratford grammar school. In his early years, he studied Latin, later progressing to “the study of logic, rhetoric, composition, oration, versification, and the monuments of Roman literature,” (Gale Biography). It is believed that Shakespeare left school at age 13 to help his father. When Shakespeare turned 18, he married Ann Hathaway, a “Stratford girl,” (Gale Biography). Together they would have three children.

The Comedy of Errors (1590) is the first play on record for Shakespeare. Next came The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1591), followed by Love’s Labour’s Lost (1593). These three plays are considered Shakespeare’s “first comedies,” and were followed closely by his duo Henry VI (1592) and Richard III (1594).

Shakespeare turned to poetry and narrative when the theaters closed for most of 1593-1594 because of the plague (Gale Biography). Most of his poetry, however, was not published until 1609, including his 154 sonnets.

By 1594, Shakespeare became a writer for Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a leading company of actors, and was also a regular actor in the company (Gale Biography). During his time with this company, he wrote many of his most well-known plays, including:

  • The Taming of the Shrew (1594)
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595)
  • The Merchant of Venice (1596)
  • Romeo and Juliet (1596)
  • Much Ado about Nothing (1598)
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor (1599)
  • Julius Caesar (1599)
  • Hamlet (1601)
  • All’s Well That Ends Well (1602)
  • Othello (1604)
  • King Lear (1605)
  • Macbeth (1606)
  • The Tempest (1611)

NOTE: This is not a complete list of Shakespeare’s work for Lord Chamberlain’s Men.

After The Tempest, Shakespeare retired to Stratford, returning to London for a short time to attempt two more plays without avail. On April 23, 1616, Shakespeare died at age 52, forever leaving an impact on the literary world.

For more details/information about William Shakespeare, his life, and his work, check out his Gale Biography in Context.

You can also check out Films on Demand for some performances and studies regarding Shakespeare.

2 Responses to “400 Years of Shakespeare”

  1. 1 credit card processing rate September 27, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Hello! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard work due
    to no back up. Do you have any methods to stop hackers?

  2. 2 Medical Grade PEEK Sheet February 19, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Simply desire to say your article is as astounding. The clarity in your post is simply nice
    and i could assume you’re an expert on this subject.

    Well with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep
    updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the enjoyable work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,569 other followers

The Elusive Sea Cow Tweets

Rohrbach Library Tweets



Blog Stats

  • 2,079,158 hits


Kutztown University is part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

%d bloggers like this: