How was William Shakespeare's acting style

William Shakespeare - Fragments of a Life

Regardless of the question of whether Shakespeare really was the author of the works ascribed to him, at least his existence is attested. Unfortunately not so much more - which on the one hand raises the well-known question about the authorship of his works, on the other hand the hit movie "Shakespeare in Love" allowed to create his very own image of the bard.

The parents

Shakespeare's picture, found
at the German Shakespeare

Although Shakespeare's life is better documented than that of many of his contemporaries, his biography can only be roughly reconstructed - especially as regards the period of his late youth. According to the church register, William Shakespeare was baptized on April 26, 1564 in Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, and for the sake of simplicity his birthday is now dated April 23 - Shakespeare died on the same day in 1616.
His father, John Shakespeare, was a respected farmer and trader. He was elected to the city council in 1565, later was city administrator (a position comparable to a mayor). Records tell of some failures in business, which in the meantime have probably led to the family's impoverishment. William's mother, Mary Arden of Wilmcote, came from an old but insignificant noble family and was the heir to a small piece of land. According to the social structure of the time, the marriage of Mary Arden should have been equivalent to a rise in the local hierarchy for John.

Williams youth

Stratford-on-Avon had a school in good standing and entry was free as the upkeep of the school was borne by the county. This fact and the official position of the father suggests that William received a good education. This concentrated at the time on the study of the Latin language, poetry and history. William did not attend university - whether this was due to financial reasons can no longer be answered today.

Family man

In 1582 - at the age of 18 - he married Anne Hathaway, who was a few years his senior. When exactly and where is not known in detail, but the Episcopal Secretariat of Worcester registered a bond (guaranteed by two Stratford farmers named Sandells and Richardson) as security for a marriage license from William Shakespeare and "Anne Hathaway of Stratford". On May 26, 1583 Williams daughter Susanna was baptized in Stratford, and his twins Hamnet and Judith on February 2, 1585. Hamnet, Shakespeare's only son, died at the age of 11. The cause of his death is unknown.

The early years

It is not known exactly when Shakespeare moved to London. There are some reports - but these were written down long after his death - of problems with the local aristocracy, of theft, or of working as a schoolmaster at the local school and various ancillary activities in his early days in London. In any case, the author is not aware of any reliable documentation of Shakespeare's work between 1585 and 1592.

In any case, as an alleged upstart, he had already managed to attract the envy of other playwrights in 1592. Graham Greene, a playwright, wrote the following words on his deathbed in '92:

There is an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tygers heart wrapt in a Players hide supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you; and, being an absolute Johannes Factotum, is in his own concept the only shake scene in a country.

Roughly translated, Greene refers to a "crow that adorns itself with our feathers" and clearly means the young Shakespeare. These words appeared after Greene's death (Greene's, groats-worth of witte, bought with a million of Repentance, 1592), accompanied by a foreword by a mutual acquaintance in which Shakespeare excuses and emphasizes his talent. This also shows that Shakespeare knew how to secure important friendships, as his later friendship with Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southhampton, proved. William also dedicates his first published poems to him, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrecia.

From 1594 he belonged as an actor to the "Lord Chamberlain's Men" (from 1603 according to a license from James I. "King's Men"). This troupe had the best actor of the time, Richard Burbage, later the best theater, namely the Globe, and the best playwright - William Shakespeare.

The climb

Proof of the growing prosperity of Williams was the granting of a family coat of arms in 1596. The coat of arms is emblazoned on the Shakespear monument (in Stratford Church, built before 1623). He also bought a large house on the outskirts of Stratford. He retired there in 1611

From 1599 the company played mainly in its own famous Globe Theater, in which Shakespeare was also a financial partner. Shakespeare was considered a skilled businessman. Only a few details are known from his private life; private letters have never come to light.

The last will

Shakespeare's last will, written on March 25, 1616, is still available in the original. In the lengthy and very detailed document, he bequeathed most of his considerable fortune to the son of his eldest daughter, who was married to Thomas Quiney, the son of Shakespeare's friend Richard Quiney. But also the second daughter, who was married to John Halle, a respected medic from Stratford, and of course Anne Hathaway were given appropriate consideration.
The signature under the document was already written with a trembling hand - the testator was already seriously ill.

William Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616.

He was buried in the choir of Stradford parish church. No name adorns his grave plaque - just the following lines (possibly from himself:

Good frend, for Jesus' sake forbeare

To digg the dust encloased heare.

Blest be the man that spares these stones,

And curst be he that moves my bones.


There is a well-prepared biography in English here

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