What do you already know about
There was no freedom of religion. The
people had to be whatever religion
(Catholic or Protestant) the king or queen
Catholics and Protestants fought each
other over religious and political
Queen Elizabeth I, a Protestant, ruled
England when Shakespeare was born.
The years when she was queen are
known as the Elizabethan time period.
William Shakespeare was born to John
and Mary Shakespeare in 1564 in the
town of Stratford-Upon-Avon, England.
John Shakespeare was a glove maker and
a member of the city council.
Shakespeare went to the local school and
loved the ancient Roman poet Ovid.
When his dad’s business went bankrupt,
Shakespeare lost his chance to go to
At age 18, Shakespeare married Anne
Hathaway who was 26 and pregnant!
They would have three children.
The Shakespeare family became
unpopular with the town because they
were suspected of being Catholic and
because William’s dad had some illegal
In his 20s, Shakespeare left Stratford to go to
London where he joined an acting company.
The acting company worked for a nobleman and
built a public theater named The Globe.
Everyone, from the richest aristocrat to the
poorest peasant, went to the theater, and
Shakespeare’s plays were very popular.
Shakespeare wrote 38 plays for the acting
company and 154 sonnets (poems).
1603: Queen Elizabeth died, and her cousin
James became king of England.
Shakespeare’s plays where so popular,
King James hired Shakespeare’s acting
company to work for him. They were
called The King’s Men. (Women were not
allowed to be actors)
Shakespeare wrote Macbeth for King
1610: William retired and moved back to
Stratford to be with his wife and kids.
1616: William died. He is buried in the
church in Stratford.
“He was not of an age, but for all time” – Ben
In other words, Shakespeare didn’t write so that
English teachers could make students read his
plays. He wrote to entertain everybody.
Shakespeare’s plays remain just as popular with
actors, audiences, and readers today as they were
400 years ago. Actors from all over the world
perform his famous roles in films and on stage.
Shakespeare created characters who are not very
different from people today. His plays are for all
time and for everybody.
Film versions of
plays are hits
Many of today’s
plays or films.
Romeo and Juliet
was adapted into a
musical titled West
The Taming of
On the Globe Stage
The House Where
Shakespeare Grew Up