William Shakespeare's Background

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William Shakespeare, who is often referred to as the , which merely means poet, was born in the year in , which is a town in . William Shakespeare's dad Shakespeare was a merchant. Because of his father's social standing, William was able to attend Stratford Grammar School until the age of fourteen for free. Here he studied Latin and Greek. Historians lose track of what happened to William Shakespeare after school until he marries . There is another time for which historians cannot account; these years are known as the "."

William Shakespeare eventually leaves his family behind and arrives in where he joins the 's Men, a successful theater company. This company changes its name to Men in 1603. Shakespeare stays a member of this company until he in 1610. While in the company, Shakespeare made his living three ways: he was part owner of the theatre, he was an , and he was a playwright.

Shakespeare was alive during the late , which in England is referred to as the Era. This Era is named after Queen I, who was Britain's first female monarch. She was the daughter of Henry VIII, who had her mother's head chopped off for not producing a male child. Shakespeare and his fellow theatre colleagues were fortunate that the Queen enjoyed theatre because the theatres were constantly closed because of the and the queen was good about having the theatres reopened. Otherwise, some would have liked to see these theatres, such as the Globe, which held about 2,500 to 3,000 spectators, closed for good.

When we study William Shakespeare's plays, we usually categorize them into three genres: comedy, tragedy, and . Romeo and Juliet, which was written in Shakespeare's early years, is considered a . Romeo and Juliet, however, is not an original story; Shakespeare retells a story that can be dated back to as early as fourth century Greece. Shakespeare uses a narrative poem called "Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet," which is written by Arthur Brook, to get most of his information for his play. Shakespeare sets his Romeo and Juliet in Verona, .

In the Burbage brothers built the Globe Theatre, of which William Shakespeare owned percent. This theatre, like most theatres, had a flag on the top of it, which indicated to people that there would be a play that day. Plays were performed during the afternoon because they needed to take advantage of the . Like all other theatres in Elizabethan England, it had only perform on stage because were not allowed to act. In 1613 the theatre burned down during a performance of Henry VIII. A canon was accidentally shot into the thatched roof and the whole theatre was set ablaze. The theatre was rebuilt in 1614 without Shakespeare, for he had retired. Shakespeare dies in at age 52. About 30 years later, Puritans assume power in England and have the theatre torn down.