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									English 9
Mrs. Fritz
Who was Shakespeare? Some say that he didn’t exist. He
didn’t leave any journal, and we have no proof that any of his
surviving portraits are authentic.
However, the story of his life has been preserved in court
documents and official records. So let’s get to know this guy and
his writing. Then we’ll decide whether he really was THE BARD.

                       “All the world's a stage,
                       And all the men and women merely players.
                       They have their exits and their entrances,
                       And one man in his time plays many parts,
                       His acts being seven ages."
                       --From As You Like It (II, vii, 139-143)
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Shakespeare’s    Shakespeare in   Shakespeare’s
  Early Life        London          Later Life

Shakespeare’s    Shakespeare’s
    Plays         Authenticity        Quiz

               The Bard is Born
 We are not sure of the exact
 date of Shakespeare’s birth.
 However, we do know that he
was baptized on April 26, 1564.
His parents’ names were John
Shakespeare and Mary Arden.
His father was a merchant and
 glover, and his mother was a
member of the landed gentry.

                                            Tour Shakespeare’s
                  Shakespeare may have           Stratford
                   been born here at this
                  house on Henley Street
                       in Stratford.
        The Bard Goes to School
   Shakespeare refers to mythology and
classical literature, so we know that he had
   a good education. We do not have his
 school records, since they have been lost
        or may not have been kept.
  Shakespeare probably went to the local
  Grammar School in Stratford. There he
   would have studied grammar, logic,
rhetoric, Latin, and literature. It seems that
he dropped out of school at age 15 to help
           provide for his family.

                                                         What was it like to
                                                         go to school in the
                            This shows the interior of     Renaissance?
                             the Grammar School in
       The Bard gets Married
 At 18, Shakespeare married Anne
Hathaway, who was eight years his
  senior. Some have argued that
Shakespeare, the playwright, never
  married Anne since the records
badly misspell his name. However,
Shakespeare did leave things to his
wife in his will. Since Shakespeare
  spent most of his life away from
Anne, it is argued that they did not
      have a happy marriage.
                                               Find out more
                                                about Anne
                        This is a drawing of
                         Anne Hathaway’s
                         Childhood home.
       The Bard Has Kids
Shakespeare had three children. His
eldest child was named Susanna. She
was born on May 26, 1583. He also had
twins, Hamnet and Judith. They were born
on February 2, 1585. Sadly, while
Shakespeare was in London, Hamnet died
at age 11.

           This is a Horn       What was it
          Book with letters   like to be a kid
            printed on it.
                              in Elizabethan
           This was how
          children learned        Times?
          their alphabet at
              this time.
     The Bard’s Dark Years
   There are several years of
Shakespeare's life for which we
     have no records. After
 Shakespeare’s marriage, we
   lose track of him for a few
years. From 1585 to 1592, it is
  believed that Shakespeare
 started acting and working on
his plays. However, we are not
                                                    This shows a dramatic
                                                    scene preformed by a
                                                     traveling troupe in a

                         You are at the end of
                      “Shakespeare’s Early Life.”
                      Return to the Main Menu for
                            more options.
         The Bard goes to London
 Shakespeare’s name first
  appears in connection to
   the London theatre in
 1572. Was he recruited in
     his hometown by a
traveling acting troupe? Or
 did he travel to London to
 make a name for himself?
   Again, we don’t know.

                               This is how
      Tour the London            London
                               would have
      of Shakespeare’s        looked in the
            Time              year of 1616.
The Bard becomes a Bard
    Shakespeare probably began
   writing plays between 1592 and
1595. His first comedies may have
   been Love’s Labour’s Lost and
   Comedy of Errors. Romeo and
Juliet was written probably in 1595
or 1596. It was probably one of his
first tragedies. Early plays included
Richard III and the Henry VI trilogy.

                                   This is a
     A Chronology of              of Romeo
     Shakespeare’s                and Juliet.
The Bard and The Chamberlain’s Men
     Although we have no evidence, it is
    believed that Shakespeare originally
 belonged to Pembroke’s Men, since many
  of his early plays were performed by this
    company. In 1594, Shakespeare had
 joined The Chamberlain’s Men. He wrote
  many plays during this time period. The
 patron of the company was Lord Hudson,
      the Queen’s Chamberlain. Queen
 Elizabeth I was never an official patron of
  Shakespeare’s companies. However, we
    know that Shakespeare’s companies
   performed frequently before her. When
     Elizabeth died in 1603, King James
 granted The Chamberlain Men a patent to
  perform, and they renamed themselves
        The King’s Men to honor him.

                                 Elizabeth I defined and
     Learn More                  dominated the English
        About                    culture and society of
                                   Shakespeare’s day
     Elizabeth I
       The Bard and The Plague
     When the theatres were closed in 1592
       because of an outbreak of plague,
Shakespeare turned to writing his non-dramatic
 poetry. The Earl of Southampton became his
  patron. Venus and Adonis was published in
1593. He began composing his sonnets in 1592
  or 1593. He wrote over 154 sonnets. During
  this time, he may also have traveled with a
     troupe of actors outside the city limits.

                                                   Several plagues struck
                                                 England during Elizabeth’s
                Learn more about
                   The Plague
The Bard and The Globe Theatre
 In 1599, Shakespeare and his fellow actors
   leased land for the Globe Theatre, which
    they built a year later. The building was
     open at the top, and had three seating
  levels, plus space in front of the stage for
 people to stand. The Globe burned down in
  1608, and was rebuilt on the other side of
                  The Thames.

                             Take a Virtual Tour
                                of the Globe
  This is a picture of the
stage of the reconstructed
 Globe as it looks today.
          The Bard’s Fellow Actors
    William Kempe was a actor, who frequently
   played the clown in Shakespeare’s plays. He
   played Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing,
 Peter in Romeo and Juliet, and probably Bottom
    in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He liked to
  improvise, and this made Shakespeare angry.

Richard Burbage was an actor from the age of 20.
  He played many of the great Shakespearean
  roles, including Lear, Hamlet, Richard III, and
Othello. He was a member of The Chamberlain's
 Men and remained in the group when it became
                  The King’s Men.

                                  You are at the end
                                  of “Shakespeare in
                                  London.” Return to
                                    the Main Menu.
  The Bard Retires
 In 1597, Shakespeare bought
New Place in Stratford. His last
appearance on the stage was in
1603. It appears that he retired
   permanently to Stratford in
  1610. Although he had been
 gone for 20 years, he still had
family and business interests in
Stratford. Shakespeare as a co-
 owner of The Globe continued
   to receive money from the
                                   This is how New
    theatre. He also probably      Place may have
  visited London to see further        looked.
     productions of his plays,
   namely The Tempest, The
  Winter’s Tale, and Macbeth.
                    The Bard Dies
     At age 52, Shakespeare
    died on April 23, 1616. He
   was buried in the chancel of
      Stratford’s Holy Trinity

                                         You are at the end
                                         of “Shakespeare’s
    These words are written on
                                         Later Life.” Please
    Shakespeare’s Tomb Stone:            return to the Main
Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare,
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones.
The Play is the Thing
          Many of the scripts of acting companies had
            dual or multiple authorship. Sometimes
         actors added lines as they were on the stage.
         Manuscripts did not belong to the author, but
                    to the acting company.
            Plagiarism was not viewed negatively in
           Elizabethan times. Many writer’s borrowed
          from other writers of the past. For example,
             Shakespeare often used material from
         Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland,
                and Ireland for his history plays.

      The Globe as it
       looks today.
    How the Plays Survived
After his death, Shakespeare’s fellow
   actors compiled 36 of his plays.
  Eighteen of these had never been
 published before. However, the rest
  had already appeared in quartos.
Some of these previous quartos had
contained many mistakes. The First
 Folio probably used these quartos.
  However, the First Folio also had
  many corrections based on some
    original manuscripts or prompt

                             The title
                           page of the
                            First Folio
  Folios and Quartos

  The word folio means that the book is
made from a sheet of paper folded once to
    make two leaves or four pages.

 The word quarto refers to a book made
  from a sheet of paper folded twice to
    make four leaves or eight pages.
           Comedy and Tragedy
  Shakespeare’s plays are often divided into
three categories: tragedy, comedy, and history
 What is the difference between Tragedy and
Tragedy involves a hero who falls from a great
position. This could be because he has a fatal
flaw, fortune is against him, or both. Tragedies
 are profoundly sad and are meant to provoke
                                                     Shakespeare Nursed by
our sympathies. Shakespeare’s tragedies often         Tragedy and Comedy
                  end in death.                     Painting by George Romney
                                                    and engraved by Benjamin
In comedy, we are meant to see ourselves and                   Smith
 our society in a new way and hopefully learn
  something through laughter. The characters
often are in disguise, and things are not as they
appear. Comedies often have a happy ending,
               such as a marriage.
       Shakespeare and Words
    When Shakespeare couldn’t think of a word that was appropriate for
     his meaning, he made one up. Some claim that he invented up to
           2000 words. We use many of these words everyday.
                           Take a look at these:
       lonely          addiction            bedroom                  mimic
                hint               bump                    torture
      label            secure               summit                   champion

Shakespeare’s                        This is the end of
notebook page                         “Shakespeare’s
                                   Plays.” Return to the
                                        Main Menu.
The Shakespeare Identity Debate
        We do not have any of
   Shakespeare’s plays in his own
   handwriting. Many discredit his
    authorship. Some say that the
  records, including Shakespeare’s
       marriage certificate, are
 questionable. Was The Bard really
     the William Shakespeare of
   Stratford-on-Avon? Some have
     argued that Shakespeare of
   Stratford could not have had the
 education and intelligence to write
  the plays. Some have suggested
 that the real author was a member
    of Queen Elizabeth’s court, Sir
Francis Bacon or the Earl of Oxford.
           What do you think?
 The class system in England was still very strong during the
 Elizabethan era and remained so. The Royal Shakespeare
  Company has suggested that class snobbery was a major
 motive for various scholars discrediting Shakespeare. They
  didn’t want their nation’s greatest playwright to come from
such humble beginnings. So they claimed that his plays were
                 really written by a noble-man.
Others perhaps fuel the debate because they like the mystery
and intrigue of the story. Or they enjoy sleuthing out the clues
       to find the “real” author to the magnificent plays.

                                  This is the end of
                                  Authenticity.” It’s
                                  time to take The
Test your Knowledge!!

 1. Shakespeare was born on what date:
         a. April 23, 1616
         b. April 26, 1564
         c. May 26, 1583
         d. We don’t know.
Sorry! Try Again.

         Remember, much of
         my life is unknown
         to you. You have to
         depend on court and
         clerical records for
         most of the details.
                  You didn’t get confused.
   We do know Shakespeare’s death date: April 23, 1616
   We also know that he was baptized on: April 26, 1564
  His eldest daughter Susanna was born on: May 26, 1583
But we just don’t know the exact date of Shakespeare’s birth.
  Since some couldn’t accept the fact that the Bard had no
 birthday, they adopted his death date, April 23, as his birth
           On to the next tricky detail!

2. Shakespeare was a member of what group of actors:
a. The Queen’s Men
b. The Chamber Men
c. Pembroke’s Men
d. There is no evidence that Shakespeare belonged to an acting company.

     many acting
     were named
   after the patron
   of the company.
               You weren’t going to be stumped!
   The Queen’s Men did not exist. Although Queen Elizabeth
enjoyed plays put on by Shakespeare’s company, she was never
                         their patron.
The Chamber Men did exist, but they weren’t an acting company.
    The correct name of Shakespeare’s company was The
                     Chamberlain Men.
 Many believe that Shakespeare was a member of Pembroke’s
    Men, whose patron was the Earl of Pembroke. Many of
  Shakespeare’s early plays were performed by this company.
 We do have evidence that Shakespeare was a member of The
           Chamberlain Men and The King’s Men.
    Can you tackle this Question?
3. Shakespeare’s plays were first published in what form:
    a. Folio
    b. Quarto
    c. Prompt Book
    d. Pamphlet
Come on!

       Remember, for a book
     to be published it has to
       be read by the public.
       What form would be a
      cheap way to distribute
      the plays? Remember,
     the plays are quite long.
                 That was one tough question!
Shakespeare’s friends did publish his plays in what is called The
                          First Folio.
However, eighteen of these plays had already been published in
Quarto editions. Some of these were not very accurate though.
The Prompt Book was the copy of the play used by the actors in
        the theatre, and so no one else ever read it.
   People were just beginning to write pamphlets during the
 Renaissance, but they were not a good way to publish lengthy
     This is the Last Question!
What is NOT an issue in the Shakespeare identity debate:
a. Shakespeare’s marriage certificate is inaccurate.
b. Shakespeare’s name never appears in connection with the
   London theatres.
c. There are no school records surviving for Shakespeare.
d. Some of Shakespeare’s plays were plagiarized from other

     Think carefully.
       What do you
      know for sure
       about me?
       What do you
        not know?
                                 You did it!
           In answering this tough question you remembered:
 …that Shakespeare of Stratford, the one who supposedly married Anne
               Hathaway, is doubted to be The Bard.
 …that Shakespeare’s name is indeed mentioned in the London theater
 scene, so we know he was an actor and contributed to the company’s
…that, in fact, we have no school records for Shakespeare, which actually
 isn’t significant to the debate, since records at his school may actually
                            never have been kept.
…the fact that Shakespeare plagiarized a little is not to doubt his identity,
         since many writers borrowed from others at this time.                     You are
                                                                                   done the
                                                                                  Click here
                                                                                 to go to the
                                                                                final screen.
Alas, Shakespeare is dead, but his plays live on.

                            “Out, out, brief candle!
                  Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
                 That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
                     And then is heard no more. It is a tale
                    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
                              Signifying nothing.”
                                  Excerpt from Macbeth

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