Spotlight: William Shakespeare

Name: William Shakespeare

Title/s: Poet / Playwright / Actor

Birth / Death: 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616

Spouse: Anne Hathaway c.1555-1623

Children: Susanna 1583-1649 / Hamnet 1585-1596 / Judith 1585-1662

Parents: John Shakespeare c.1531-1601 & Mary Arden c.1537-1608

Siblings: Joan c.1558 / Margaret 1562-3 / Gilbert 1566-1612 / Joan 1569-1646 / Anne 1571-9 / Richard 1574-1613 / Edmund 1580-1607

Noble Connections: It is not thought that Shakespeare had any noble connections.

Events of their Lifetime: Death of Elizabeth I 1603, invasion of the Spanish Armada, England and Scotland come under the same monarchy 1603, Gunpowder Plot 1605

Controversy: There has been much controversy within Shakespeare’s plays and poetry, like how far Shakespeare’s own life influenced his poems and plays – like the similarity between Hamlet and Shakespeare’s own son, Hamnet.

Works of Fiction:
Jennifer Lee Carrell, Interred with their Bones (2008)
Karen Harper, Shakespeare’s Mistress (2011)
Sarah Hoyt, All Night Awake (2013)
Sarah Hoyt, Any Man So Daring (2013)
Sarah Hoyt, Ill Met by Moonlight (2013)
Grace Tiffany, My Father had a Daughter (2004)
Grace Tiffany, Will (2005)
Leonard Tourney, Time’s Fool (2004)

Portrayals on Screen:
Joseph Fiennes, Shakespeare in Love, 1998, directed by Richard Madden
Rafe Spall, Anonymous, 2011, directed by Roland Emmerich
Xander Williams, Blank Verse, 2013, 15 episodes

Further Reading:
John F. Andrews, William Shakespeare: His World, His Work, His Influence (1985)
Jonathon Bates, The Genius of Shakespeare (1997)
E.K. Chambers, The Elizabethan Stage (1923)
E.K. Chambers, A Short Life of Shakespeare (1946)
Terry Eagleton, William Shakespeare (1991)
Stephen Greenblatt, Will in the World: How Shakespeare became Shakespeare (2004)
Dennis Kay, Shakespeare: his Life, Work and Era (1992)
A.L. Rowse, William Shakespeare (1963)


Chandos Portrait of William Shakespeare 1610 possibly by John Taylor
Chandos Portrait of William Shakespeare 1610 possibly by John Taylor
Droeshout Portrait of William Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout c.1622
Droeshout Portrait of William Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout c.1622

Author: Helene Harrison

I have an MA in History, with a thesis entitled 'The Many Faces of Anne Boleyn: Perceptions in History, Literature and Film'. I have an interest in the Tudors and the Wars of the Roses along with my love of reading and literature.

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