"This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."
- Polonius, in Hamlet
The great writer was born at Startford-upon-Avon, England, in the year 1564. The exact day of his birth is not known, but it is celebrated on 23rd of April. His father, John Shakespeare, was one of the most prosperous men of Stratford and his mother, Mary Arden, was a daughter of a wealthy farmer. John and Mary got married in 1557. William was their third child and at the same time the oldest son.
Little is known of the youth of William Shakespeare. Apparently he studied at Free grammar school of Stratford. Apparently his studies came to an end when he was not admitted to the university. November 28, 1582, 18-year-old William married Anna Hathaway, who was eight years older than he. Anna was already pregnant, so the wedding was quickly organized. Nowhere is mentioned whether or not their marriage was happy, but few years later Shakespeare put his characters say things, which seem to bitterly reference to his own experiences. William? and Anna? first child Susanna was baptized on May 6, 1583, at the Holy Trinity? Chruch and twins Hamnet and Judith on February 22, 1585. They settled down on Henley Street, but there is no knowledge how long William stayed with them. From 1585 to 1592 nothing is known of William Shakespeare.
Shakespeare arrived in London before the year 1592. There he worked as an actor and a playwright. 1594 William joined the Lord Chamberlain? company, which performed at Theatre and Curtain. At December Shakespeare? play "Comedy of Errors" was performed for the very first time. Shakespeare? reputation grew as his plays were performed and even though he became famous, he returned to his family to Stratford.
On August 20, 1596, Hamnet died at the age of 11. At the same year John Shakespeare and his family received a noble rank. After becoming aristocratic William bought a large house in the centre of Stratford. In spite of his posessions in Stratford, Shakespeare stayed almost permanently in London.
On December 28, 1598 the Theatre was demolished and a new playhouse was built in place of the Theatre. This playhouse was named the Globe. To finance the building a company was formed. William was one of the partners. On March 24, 1603, Queen Elizabeth died. Her successor King John took the Lord Chamberlain? company, which was soon known as King? Men, under his protection. No one performed at the Court so often as they: during the years 1603-1616 as much as 187 times. William Shakespeare was now one of the most important directors of the group, and no longer performed as an actor.
In the year 1607 Shakespeare? older daughter Susanna married doctor John Hall, and in 1608 William? mother Mary died. At the same time in London King? Men acquired a second playhouse, an indoor private theatre of Blackfriars. After that Globe was used only during the summers. 1613 the Globe burnt down during the performance of Henry VIII. Burning of the Globe meant the end of dramaproduction for Shakespeare. He ceased writing, retreated once and for all to Stratford and spent peaceful life with his family in the region he was born.
In 1616 Judith got married with winestorekeeper Thomas Quiney. The marriage was unhappy, filled with conflicts and all of their three sons died. Due to these sad events Shakespeare? family? only scion was Elizabeth, Susanna and John Hall? daughter born in 1608.
On March 25, 1616 Shakespeare signed his last will after numerous inspections. Then at April he died and was buried in Stratford? church. In his gravestone stands this obituary:
Good friend for Jesus sake forbear,
To dig the dust enclosed here:
Blessed be the man who spares these stones,
And cursed be who moves my bones.
It is, according to several evidences, written by Shakespeare himself.