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INTRO 1564-1616 English dramatist and poet b Stratford-on-Avon He is considered the greatest playwright who ever lived HIS LIFE His father John Shakespeare was successful in the leather business during Shakespeares early childhood but later met with financial difficulties During his prosperous years his father was also involved in municipal affairs holding the offices of alderman and bailiff during the 1560s While little is known of Shakespeares boyhood he probably attended the grammar school in Stratford where he would have been educated in the classics particularly Latin grammar and literature Whatever the veracity of Ben Jonsons famous comment that Shakespeare had small Latine and less Greeke much of his work clearly depends on a knowledge of Roman comedy ancient history and classical mythology In 1582 Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway eight years his senior and pregnant at the time of the marriage They had three children Susanna born in 1583 and twins Hamnet and Judith born in 1585 Nothing is known of the period between the birth of the twins and Shakespeares emergence as a playwright in London c1592 However various suggestions have been made regarding this time including those that he fled Stratford to avoid prosecution for stealing deer that he joined a group of traveling players and that he was a country schoolteacher The last suggestion is given some credence by the academic style of his early plays The Comedy of Errors for example is an adaptation of two plays by Plautus In 1594 Shakespeare became an actor and playwright for the Lord Chamberlains Men the company that later became the Kings Men under James I Until the end of his London career Shakespeare remained with the company it is thought that as an actor he played old mens roles such as the ghost in Hamlet and Old Adam in As You Like It In 1596 he obtained a coat of arms and by 1597 he was prosperous enough to buy
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