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Why Romeo and Juliet was so popular in Shakespeares time and why even today it is still so popular William Shakespeare was born on April 23 1564 in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon England to Mary Arden and John Shakespeare He was the third of eight children He went to a local grammar school where his studies included Latin and Greek Debnam At the age of eighteen he married Anne Hathaway who was eight years older than he Their marriage was hurried because Anne was already pregnant The Tragedies 16 Shakespeare was the father of three children two daughters and one son Hamnet At this time Shakespeare was twenty-one and the way he supported his family is unknown In August of 1596 Hamnet died at the age of eleven Shakespeares History Stories say that Shakespeare began his career by holding horses outside the theaters More reliable information indicates that he acted in plays many of his own From acting Shakespeare progressed to writing plays both for the theater and for court performances The Tragedies 17 Shakespeare didnt attend college so in order to broaden his education he studied the ways of a gentleman and read widely He looked to Cambridge-educated playwright Christopher Marlowe as a mentor Marlowe was the same age as Shakespeare but who preceded him in skillfully combining drama with poetry In many plays throughout his career Shakespeare paid tribute to Marlowe though ultimately he eclipsed Marlowe as a dramatist The Tragedies 17 Shakespeare is the greatest playwright the world has ever known The thirty-seven plays he wrote more than 400 years ago are the most popular on Earth They are performed more often than those of any other playwright He also wrote sonnets a kind of poem Writing sonnets was thought to be much more important than writing plays in Shakespeares day Debnam By the time Shakespeare turned thirty years old he was an established actor and playwright
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