The Mysterious Life of William Shakespeare

By | May 31, 2019

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William Shakespeare. Source: (

The most famous playwright of all time, William Shakespeare, is also the most controversial. While his plays are the most read and performed of any playwright in history, there are those who believe he did not actually write the work for which he has received credit. Still, others doubt whether the playwright existed at all. However, it is clear that someone by the name of William Shakespeare existed as much of the information known about him is derived from official documents.

According to church records, he was baptized on April 26, 1564, at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon. Historians estimate his birthdate to have been April 23, 1564. He was the son of a leather merchant named John Shakespeare and a land heiress named Mary Arden. He had five siblings - two older sisters, Joan and Judith, and three younger brothers, Gilbert, Richard, and Edmund. In addition to being a successful merchant, John Shakespeare held the official positions of alderman and bailiff, a position similar to that of mayor; however, there is evidence that the family fortune declined during the 1570s.

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King Edward VI School in Stratford-upon-Avon. Source: (

The grammar school of Stratford during the 16th century was tuition-free, and, despite the lack of attendance records, it is assumed that young William would have attended King’s New School. There his education most likely consisted of Latin studies, reading and writing as well as studying the works of classical historians and poets. However, there is no evidence to suggest that he went on to university. The lack of information concerning his education has led many to doubt the authorship of his work.