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Romeo And Juliet

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Romeo And Juliet

Post  MBAstudent on Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:20 am

Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, these amazing plays all originated from the single mind of William Shakespeare. The plays in which Shakespeare wrote, he wrote out of a very small educated mind a distinct love for the bible and of course, an imagination. The plays in which Shakespeare wrote were all written as an adult to, leaving his past to be misled into false claims. Shakespeare never wrote and autobiography and much is not known about his childhood sense it was never a real corner stone for people who enjoyed his plays and poems to think about, but as the saying goes, you can’t understand your future till you understand your past. This strictly helps us interpret why each and every persons childhood, famous or not, is important. Do you know what kind of childhood Shakespeare had? Do you know where he started from? William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in the Province of Warwickshire England in 1564 to John Shakespeare and Mary ( Arden ) Shakespeare. Stratford was a relatively prosperous market town ( Loxton 13 ) in middle England, which had a fairly large population. When William was three months old, the plague raged in Stratford ( Lee 10 ) and took the lives of many, and killed one out of every seven that was living in the town at that time. Lucky William and the Shakespeare family escaped the plague, and as from records, no one in the Shakespeare family had contracted the awful illness. The Shakespeare family was a close-knit one, and they had to be in those days. William Shakespeare’s family consisted of John, the father, Mary the mother, 3 brothers, Gilbert, Edmund, Richard, 4 sisters, Joan, Ann, another Joan, and Margaret, along with Shakespeare’s Grandfather and Grandmother( rarely heard of ). Although they could escape the plague they could not escape the overwhelming commonness of the death of infants in that time ( Lee 10 ). Mary the mother of William Shakespeare was the daughter of Robert Arden and Had, In all, Eight Children with John Shakespeare ( Gray 3 ). The first daughter of Mary and John was Joan, who died at birth in 1558. The second born to the couple was the daughter Margaret, which was born in 1562 and died a year later in 1563. The third child born to John and Mary, in 1564 finally was William Shakespeare and as we all know lived into adulthood ( Fido 11 ). April 1564 is the month in which Shakespeare was baptized but no exact birth date was ever given, but since he died close to his birthday which happened to fall on the 23rd of April, the same date as St. George’s birthday, the people recognize this as his official birth date ( Loxton 10 ). The next member of the Shakespeare family was William’s brother was Gilbert and he also lived into adulthood. He was born in 1566 and later died in 1612, a fairly short life but this was common back in his time ( Kay 17 ). The next born, the second Joan in the Shakespeare family also lived to be an adult, as she was born in 1566 and later died in 1612. The 6th born child, who was Anne, died at age 8, when William was only 15. The death of his sister probably caused great pain to William and the whole family as most deaths do, and was just another loss to add to the family at that time. She was born in 1571 and later died in 1579. Richard Shakespeare, named after his grandfather, was the 7th born and also lived into adulthood, but by no means was it a long adult life. I lived till 1613 and was born in 1574. The last child, Edmund, like Richard was also named after a relative in the family. He was named after his uncle Edmund on his mothers side. Edmund also like Richard didn’t live a very long adult life, living only a mere 28 years. Richard lived from 1580 till 1608. This was the immediate family to William Shakespeare and undoubtedly influenced his life a great deal, as all families do ( Lee 18-19 ).The most important figure in Shakespeare’s childhood life was, undoubtedly his father, John Shakespeare. In 1551, John Shakespeare left Snitterfield, which was his birthplace, to seek a career in the neighboring town of Stratford-Upon-Avon ( Lee 4 ). At one point John Shakespeare purchased 500 pounds of wool to start his new wool and glove selling business which he brought to the Stratford markets every Thursday to sell ( Lee, 6-7) By this time he had already married his wife Mary whom grew up in a tiny farm village of Wilmcole, ( Wright 13 ) and was moving up the social and economic ladder. He was later appointed as the towns tester to test the freshness of Ale and Bread ( Fido 12 ), was later placed as alderman, and still moving up the ladder to finally being elected town bailiff (essentially mayor) in 1568 ( Kay 7 ). He Bought 2 houses on Henley Street in Stratford and they still stand to this day and some houses in Stratford with their projecting second stories and small windows are medieval and still look much as they did in Shakespeare’s time (Wright 11 ). This was undoubtedly the birthplace of William and many believe he was conceived in the upstairs bedroom ( Wright 12 ). William grew up admiring his father and the bible. ( the bible was a large part of life in those days ).The interaction between father and son was evident. John, William’s father, who could be considered wealthy at the time, brought his son to fairs and together watched many plays (Wright 15 ). This is most likely William got his taste for plays and poetry. The plays consisted of six or seven actors and would be going from town to town to promote their plays ( Wright 14 ). Most of the plays brought to towns and cities in provincial England were full of moral preachments and lessons of richeousness ( Wright 19 ). If the children didn’t understand the message or moral, they would be entertained by it nonetheless. The provincial theater left much imagination to its audience and children were often stirred by its physical action ( Wright 19 ). One example of this physical action, was the involvement of violence in the plays. Violence was an essential ingredient in sixteenth century plays ( Wright 19 ) and it was used to convey messages better to children and to make the moral more believable or realistic. Sometimes an actor would carry a concealed bladder of animal blood and to be used to spurt forth at the critical moment in an axing or stabbing ( Wright 19 ). William no doubt, got the best seat for these events, for his father was the most important official in the town at that time. Violence and action that portrayed messages in these plays most likely sculpted the mind of the young playwrite. Another interaction between father and son was the sharing of the fathers wool business. William would help out his father as would most men and boys would do, spend most of their time outside and working ( Levi 5 ). Apart from learning skills and gaining recognition from his father William attended Kings new Grammar school in Stratford ( Gray 8 ). In this school, and with most schools throughout England at this time, language was extensively taught thoroughly and to children at an early age. The children from around age 4 to 7 would begin to learn the language of Latin and would rarely be spoken to in English at school, so that they had to learn Latin. Shakespeare often had to write letters using the Latin text. In school he was also taught how to speak and write his old English text which is basically the language in many of his plays. Shakespeare was taught how to read the Aesops fables in Latin. During his school career he had many teachers who based their teaching style on the famous educators of the era. The system was based off of the teachings of Sir Thomas Elyot, Roger Ascham, Juan Luis Vives, Richard Mulcaster, John Brinsle, Edward Coote, and James Cleland. The Educational system Shakespeare was brought up on, in these times, was of the views and opinions of these extremely powerful popular educators. The material Shakespeare was supposed to learn varied but mostly just English and Bible type studys. He was to learn the A-B-C’s in English, the Catechism, the Book of Prayer, the New Testament, the Queens Grammar, Latin, Aesops Fables, in Latin and in Greek, and wide variety of books and history ( Plimpton 3-45 ). He was also to learn the physical education of swimming, tennis, how to throw spheres and bars, hunting, wrestling, and riding ( Plimpton 5 ). Amazingly William Shakespeare had to drop out of school at the age of 13 ( Gray 9 ) and is quoted by a friend in school, Ben Johnson to have only learned, “Greek and Latin” ( Fido 11 ). This was due to the Shakespeare Families financial difficulties. In 1586, John, William’s Father, was kicked out of the Stratford council for not attending meetings, and he later was reprimanded for not going to church for the fear of receiving his debt to the church ( Gray 2 ). William’s father, for an unknown reason, withdrew from public life, whereas a prosperous merchant, he was now forced to live off of the sale, leasing and mortgaging of much of his wives property ( Wright 22 ). By no means did the family go poor, just they they lost respect and most of their money and social status, thus putting up William to quit school and most likely support his family by working. Little is known about William during this time. Some biographers think Shakespeare was arrested for stealing and selling deer, and some think that he was a butchers apprentice ( Wright 22 ) Still others think he helped his father with the glovemaking business. The Following years after many years of darkness and mystery, William would emerge a married man and begin writing the most popular well liked poems and plays that would be passed down from generation to generation. A persons childhood, many people think, generally will effect the way their life will be in the future, or as they would be as adults. Sometimes a childhood can be a surprise to many and sometimes they aren’t. Whether it be Einstien’s childhood of being a poor student and eventually dropping out of school to have become one of the worlds most prominent remembered scientists, or the childhood of Tiger Woods, of him being a golf prodigy who ended up fulfilling the same expectations as he was given when he was a little boy. Generally speaking, a childhood is just a time for discovery, imagination and wonder. When we think about a famous persons childhood we always assume many things. Things in your childhood may or may not accentuate the results of your adult life. A childhood is the basic part in which all men start, and Shakespeare’s was in the town of Stratford. Without the childhood we wouldn’t have the adulthood of Shakespeare, thus making Shakespeare’s childhood, equally as important as he was when he was an adult.

Bibliography

Fido, Martin,. Shakespeare. New York: Hamlyn Publishing, 1978 p.(8-14) (P Cool “Father was a successful glove maker” (P 11 ) “Ben Johnson a friend of Shakespeare claimed he learned Greek and Latin” (P 11 ) “April 1564 was the month William was baptized” (P 12 ) “ Father John Inspected bread and ale” Gray, Terry A.,. “William Shakespeare,” “The Birth and Early Years of Shakespeare” 1998 http:// ( paragraphs 2-9 ) (para 2) “In 1586 John was replaced as alderman fo not going to meetings and in 1592 was reprimanded for not coming to church for a fear of process of debt.” (para 3 ) “Mary, the daughter of Robert Arden, had in all, eight children with John Shakespeare.” Kay, Dennis,. “ William Shakespeare:His Life and Times,.” New York: Twayne Punlishers 1995 (p 1-11, 17 ) (17 ) “In 1568 father John is elected town bailiff and by 1577 due to offenses and debts the title is withdrawn, prmarily with financial difficulties” Lee, Sidney,. “Life of William Shakespeare.” New York: The Macmillan Company 1909 (p 4-19) (4) “About 1551, John shakespeare left Snitterfield which was his birthplace to seek a career in the neighbooring bourough of Stratford-Upon-Avon.” (10) “When william was three monthes old, the plague raged in Stratford, killing one out of every seven, but luckily the disease escaped the Shakespeare family.” Levi, Peter,. “The Life and Times of William Shakespeare.” New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1988 (1-7, 17 ) (17) “He is not only the greatest but also the most interesting of all the English Poets” (5) “Men and boys spent most of their time outside and working” Loxton, Howard,. “Shakespeare Country.,” New York: Regency House Publishing, 1995 (p. 10-13 ) (10) “Williams birthday has been ascribed to the 23rd of april, St. georges birthday.” (13) “Stratford was a relatively prosperous market town in middle England of Warwickshire.” Plimpton, George A., “The Education of Shakespeare.,” New York: Oxford University Press, 1933 ( P 3-45 ) (45) “The Courses taught in Shakespeares day were A-B-C’s in English, the Catechism, the Book of common prayer, Aesops fables as will a having to read Cicero, Sallust and Ceaser.” Wright, Louis B. and Editors. “Shakespeares England.” New York: American Heritage Publishing ( P 11-22) (11) “Some houses in Stratford, with projecting second stories and small windows are medieval and still look much as they did in Shakespeares day.” (15) “No doubt Shakespeare had the best seat in the house, for he was the towns more important official. Son William had to have seen many performances.” (19) “A Bladder of animal blood might be concealed in the actors costume to spurt forth at the crirtical moment in an axing or stabbing.” (22) “ Father carrer took a downward turn in 1576. He ceased attending meetings to the town council and for an unknown reason withdrew from public life, whereas a prosperous merchant, he was now forced to live off the sale, leasing and mortgaging of much of his wives property.”

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