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William Shakespeare the best-known figure in Renaissance literature if no t all of literature was born April 23 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon Warwickshire a town near London His father John Shakespeare held many jobs from leather goods salesman to ale taster culminating in a position as Stratfords High Bailiff or town mayor Shakespeares mother Mary Arden Shakespeare had eight children with John Because Shakespeares paren t were well off he was able to atten grammar school- a luxury not every household could afford in 16th century England For thos e who could afford it however a quality grammar school rivaled any school citing tath no records exist to verify his education but he clearly was not a self-taught genius His knowledge of the world and human psychology did not come fromt he streets but from the writing of Seneca Cicero Ovid and Virgil Shakspeare married at age 18 to Ann Hathwey of Stratford who was eight years older The date was November 28 1582 Their first child Susanna was born May 26 1583 only six months after the wedding They even had twins-Judith and Hamnet-were born February 2 1585 Thaey were named for the couples neighbors and lifelong friends In the late 1580s Shakespeare moved his family to London where he served as a theater apprentice handling everything from management ot water the horses It wasnt until 1592 that he began to achieve distinction as an actor and playwright In 1593 he became a published poet with the long narrative poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece He wrote these poems because the plague which was crushing London had closed all the theaters Shakespeare began writing plays for the Lord Chamberlines Men acdting troupe when the theater was reopened Lord Chamberlains Men was the most important company of players in all of England In 1598 the company built a theater across the Thames River from London and named it the Globe Queen Elizabeth I
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