William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564 in Stratford-on-Avon, England. His father, John Shakespeare, was a glover. He was very successful and well respected in society, as a mayor, town council man, and justice of peace. Mary Arden, Shakespeare's mother, was from a wealthy family and with John Shakespeare, they had eight children.
Shakespeare went to Stratford Grammar School where he studied the Greek and Latin, and grew to love to read. It is said that his formal education ended here. On November 27, 1582, Shakespeare married Ann Hathaway who was twenty-eight years old. They had their first daughter, Susanna, on May 26, 1583 and after two years they had a twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet died at the age of eleven in 1596. There are no written documents or evidence of Shakespeare between the years 1585-1592.
In 1593, after establishing himself as an actor and play writer, Shakespeare with the help of his friend, Henry Wriothsley who sponsored him, wrote two long poems. His first poem, "Venus and Adonius", was written in 1593 . Then in 1594, he wrote his second long poem, "Rape of Lucrece". During that year the theatres in London opened up again after the plague. Shakespeare began to work for the "Lord Chamberlain's Men" company who later became known as "The King's Men" in 1603 after King James took over. This company became the largest and most famous acting company in London, due to Shakespeare's plays and works. In 1599, "The Globe" theatre was built, a many of Shakespeare's plays were performed there, and soon other theatres followed such as "The Curtain" and "The Rose" theatres.
As an actor, director, writer, and stockholder in his acting company, Shakespeare soon became a very wealthy man. In 1597, Shakespeare brought "New Place", which was a very large house for his family to live in. In 1611, Shakespeare left London and retired. On March 25, 1616, Shakespeare made a will and he died on April 23, 1616 at the age of fifty-two. The cause of his death is unknown, however many believe that Shakespeare knew he was dying.
In 1623, Shakespeare's first folio was published. The folio included: 154 sonnets, 37 plays, and 2 long poems. His friends compiled all of his work into this folio before anyone could reproduce his plays and claim them as their own. Many of his plays are famous and are still performed, read, and studied today.