William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's preeminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon."

50,692 Questions
History of England
William Shakespeare

Who were William Shakespeare's children?

William Shakespeare's children

William Shakespeare, the great playwright, poet and actor, married Anne Hathaway in November 1582.

In May, 1583 she gave birth to a daughter, Susannah.

In January/February 1585 Anne gave birth to twins, Hamnet (a boy) and Judith.

On 5th June 1607 Susannah married Dr John Hall, a respected physician from Stratford-Upon-Avon and in February 1608 had a daughter who was named Elizabeth. Susannah died in 1648.

Hamnet died aged 11 from unknown causes.

Judith married Thomas Quiney, a local Wine Merchant and local politician on 10th February 1616. Judith had three children Shakespeare, a boy, born in November 1616 and died in May 1617; Richard born around February 1618 and died February 1639; Thomas born January 1620 and died January 1639. Judith died in February 1662.

A link to the Wikipedia article on Shakespeare is provided. susanna, hamnet and judith

William Shakespeare

Which two monarchs reigned when William Shakespeare was alive?

William Shakespeare, the great English playwright, poet and actor, was born in April 1564, and died on 23 April 1616.

The two monarchs whose lives coincided with his were:

  • Queen Elizabeth I - reigned from 17th November 1558 until her death on 24th March 1603.

This was the Elizabethan Era, sometimes known as The Golden Age.

  • King James I (who was also King James VI of Scotland) reigned in England from 24th March 1603 until his death on 27th March 1625.

His reign is known as the Jacobean era, Jacob being an alternative form of James.

William Shakespeare
Globe Theatre

What theaters are associated with Shakespeare?

The theatre most often associated with William Shakespeare is the The Globe Theatre, which opened in 1599 in Southwark, London. At that time Shakespeare had already established himself as an actor and playwright. Shakespeare previously acted in a number of theatres in Shoreditch and Southwark such as the Curtain, the Rose, Newington Butts, and The Theatre prior to the Globe being constructed. These theatres were roughly circular in shape with an open roof, which led to the Curtain being called the "Wooden O" in Shakespeare's play Henry V. The Theatre was the first successful purpose-built playhouse in London, and the Globe was the first such playhouse to be built by an acting company.

The timber frame of the Globe came from the older theatre The Theatre in Shoreditch, which was demolished following a dispute with the landlord.

The original Globe burned down in 1613, following an accident with on-stage pyrotechnics, and was rebuilt in 1614. It was finally closed down in 1642, and demolished in 1644 to make way for housing.

Later in Shakespeare's career, he and his acting company, the Kings Men, performed at The Blackfriars Theatre (an indoor theatre) in the winter and at The Globe in summer. Shakespeare had a share in both theatres but he was not in charge of managing either of them.

A replica of The Globe has been built in London near the original site using traditional techniques. The modern Globe was finished in 1997. This is the only theatre which you can actually call "Shakespeare's Globe".

History of England
William Shakespeare

Where did William Shakespeare live?

William Shakespeare, the great playwright and poet, was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, in Warwickshire, England in April 1564. Very little is known about his early life and the best known documentary evidence relating to him are the records of his baptism, his marriage and his death.

His parents, John Shakespeare and his wife, Mary Arden, lived on Henley Street in Stratford-Upon-Avon. There is a house still standing in Henley Street, which is a tourist attraction as "Shakespeare's birth place" but it is uncertain whether this is the actual house.

On 29th November 1582, William married Anne Hathaway at Temple Grafton or possibly Shottery, near Stratford. She gave birth to a daughter, Susanna, in May, 1583, and to twins, Hamnet and Judith in January/February 1585. There are records of the baptisms of these children in Stratford so it may be assumed that Shakespeare still lived there at this time.

The first record of his plays being performed in London appears in 1592, and the period between 1585 and 1592 is known as "Shakespeare's lost years" because there are no official records relating to him during that time.

There has been some speculation that he worked as a schoolteacher in Lancashire, in the North of England, but the evidence on which this is based may relate to someone else.

By 1592 we know that Shakespeare was living in London. In 1593 Shakespeare lived in Bishopsgate (we know this because there are court records dated 1597 saying that he owed taxes here). In 1596 he was living in the parish of St Helen's in Bishopsgate. 1599 he had moved across the river to Bankside on property owned by the of the Bishop of Winchester's estate, the Liberty of the Clink, where the Globe Theatre was also built. In 1604 Shakespeare is known to have moved back to the city and rented lodgings at the house of Christopher and Mary Mountjoy in on the corner of Monkwell and Silver Street in Cripplegate, not far from St Paul's.

By 1597 William Shakespeare was rich enough to purchase his own property. He bought New Place, described as the second largest house in Stratford-Upon-Avon, for £60. In 1613 he invested £140 in a gate-house near the Blackfriars theater. It was located in Ireland Yard which joins Blackfriars Lane via, would you believe, Playhouse Yard!. The former gatehouse had been the main entrance to the vast monastery of the Blackfriars which had been seized and sold off during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. In 1615 litigation over legal title to the gatehouse showed that he had made improvements to the property.

He seems to have retired in 1613 and gone to live in New Place, where he died on 23 April 1616.

Stratford is now the home of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, a Charity which owns and maintains various buildings as visitor attractions. These are Mary Arden's House, Shakespeare's Birth Place, Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Hall's Croft - the home of Shakespeare's daughter, the garden of New Place (the building itself has been torn down) and Harvard House, once the home of the parents of John Harvard, founder of Harvard University in USA.
once upon a time in stratford-on-avon he did dwell,

but now he doth live underground, and just as well.

William Shakespeare

What type of plays did Shakespeare write?

Traditionally, his plays have been put into the categories of Histories (stories taken from English history), Tragedies (stories that end badly for the main characters), and Comedies (stories which end well for the main characters). Sometimes people invent new categories for the plays which do not fit into those three. It's also fair to say that Shakespeare's plays do not as a rule have realistic dialogue; the characters speak often in heightened poetic dialogue. Nor are the plots naturalistic--some are fantasies, and others have a folk-tale quality.

William Shakespeare

How many plays did William Shakespeare write?

A Collection of Shakespeare's plays was published by his colleagues in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare's death. This was titled Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories and Tragedies, and is also known as The First Folio.

It included 36 of the plays.

There are also two others, Pericles, Prince of Tyre and The Two Noble Kinsmen which were included in later editions and were probably written in collaboration with other authors (the latter is credited to Shakespeare and Fletcher). Pericles was added to the second Folio since it had already appeared in Quarto form under Shakespeare's name as early as 1609.

There are documents referring to two other plays - Love's Labours Won and The History of Cardenio of which only the titles are known; the text has not survived. Some scholars believe that Love's Labours Won may be an alternative title for one of the original 36 plays. Then there are other more dubious attributions (such as Edward III, The Second Maiden's Tragedy).

There has been speculation that there may be another three or four plays of which neither the titles nor the text has survived.

So the upshot is, he certainly wrote 36, wrote or co-wrote another 2, and may have written up to 6 others which haven't survived or are misattributed.

William Shakespeare

What did William Shakespeare write?

William Shakespeare wrote plays, narrative poems and a particular type of poem called sonnets. William Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, 2 poetic narratives with erotic themes (The Rape of Lucrece, and Venus and Adonis), and at least two other poems .

He wrote 38 plays at least.

It has been suggested, without any proof whatsoever, that the Bard may have functioned as an advisor in the language editing-grammatical aspects of the now-familiar King James Bible. Since Shakespeare was not a Biblical scholar, and knew "small Latin and less Greek" his usefulness on such a project would be minimal. This story, like the idea that he was familiar with Elizabeth I, is wishful fantasy.

William Shakespeare

What plays did William Shakespeare write?

William Shakespeare's plays are categorized as Histories, Comedies, and Tragedies.


  • The Tempest *
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor
  • Measure for Measure **
  • The Comedy of Errors
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Love's Labour's Lost
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • The Merchant of Venice **
  • As You Like It
  • The Taming of the Shrew
  • All's Well That Ends Well**
  • Twelfth Night or What You Will
  • The Winter's Tale *
  • Pericles, Prince of Tyre * (not included in the First Folio)
  • The Two Noble Kinsmen * (written jointly with John Fletcher, not included in the First Folio)


  • King John
  • Richard II
  • Henry IV, part 1
  • Henry IV, part 2
  • Henry V
  • Henry VI, part 1
  • Henry VI, part 2
  • Henry VI, part 3
  • Richard III
  • Henry VIII (written jointly with John Fletcher)


  • Troilus and Cressida
  • Coriolanus
  • Titus Andronicus
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Timon of Athens
  • Julius Caesar
  • Macbeth
  • Hamlet
  • King Lear
  • Othello
  • Antony and Cleopatra
  • Cymbeline (often classed as a comedy today)
William Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet

Who or what is responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet?

It is difficult to understand why this is such a persistent question. Surely in a world where lawsuits can be brought against anyone, blaming them for any misfortune, we can now understand that blame is not an objective concept, nor a particularly useful one. It is quite possible to build a case that EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE PLAY is to blame for Romeo and Juliet's deaths, as follows:

1. Juliet. She shouldn't have taken up with a man who hangs around her backyard trying to peek into her window, but should have listened to her parents. She should not have gone along with Friar Lawrence's crazy scheme, or pushed him into proposing it.

2. Romeo. He shouldn't have poisoned himself just because Juliet is dead. His commiting suicide drove Juliet to commiting suicide. If he hadn't gone for suicide, they'd both be alive.

3. Friar Lawrence. Once he knew that his message to Romeo had miscarried, there's no way he should ever have left Juliet's side. He got her into this situation but didn't have the guts to see she got out of it. In addition, it was irresponsible to marry these two people who had just met without the consent of their parents.

4. Friar John. What was he doing, messing around in a plague house? Didn't he know that the message he was carring meant life or death??

5. The Nurse. If you are someone's advisor, give them reasonable advise. Counselling bigamy is ridiculous. If the Nurse hadn't alienated Juliet, she might have approached the issue more calmly and found a solution that wasn't so crack-brained.

6. Capulet. Trying to force his daughter to marry someone she could not marry caused her to take the actions which brought about her death and Romeo's.

7. Montague and Capulet. They had the power to end the feud and reconcile but they did not make the move to do it. If they had, they might have found themselves to be the parents of a happily married couple.

8. Lady Capulet. When you are a mother, you have a responsibility to your children. You can't just brush them off. Lady Capulet was never "there for" Juliet, so Juliet felt abandoned and alone.

9. Tybalt. Here's a guy who was looking for trouble. He wanted to start a fight with Romeo even though Capulet told him not to. The result? He and Mercutio die, Romeo is banished, and Juliet is on her own. If Romeo had been with her, there would have been no suicides.

10. Mercutio. He had no business getting into Romeo's fight. If he had left it alone, Tybalt would not have dared to kill Romeo and might have got into trouble for trying to start a fight.

11. The Prince. He admits it himself--if he had clamped down harder and earlier on street brawling Tybalt would not have tried to start a fight in the market.

12. Samson, Gregory, Abram et al. Have you noticed that it isn't Capulet and Montague who start the fights? No, it's their servants, their wife's relatives (Tybalt) and their friends (Mercutio) who start the thumb-biting. If everyone else wasn't trying to perpetuate the feud, maybe Montague and Capulet would have been able to end it. As it is, they end up being dragged into these conflicts to vindicate those who are "on their side".

13. Benvolio. Not much to blame, perhaps, but who was it that wanted Romeo to go to the party where he would be shown swans that would make Rosaline look like a crow? Also, his efforts to stop Tybalt from fighting with Mercutio were pathetic.

14. The Illiterate Servant. What was he doing, showing the guest list to the first dude he sees walking up the street? If he'd used some sense and asked a Capulet, there would have been no party-crashing and no tragedy.

15. The Apothecary. Selling poisons is illegal and wrong, and it doesn't matter how poor you are.

16. Paris. If you are going to marry someone, don't you think it's a good idea to talk frankly to them and find out if they really want to marry you? He was just as responsible for forcing Juliet into the unwanted marriage as Capulet.

17. Balthazar. He should have made sure of his facts by talking to the friar before blabbing to Romeo.

18. Rosaline. If she hadn't been so cold to Romeo, then maybe he wouldn't have gone after Juliet.

19. Romeo and Juliet seperately. They are ultimately responsible for their own deaths; they both committed suicide, after all.

Pointing the finger of blame is very, very easy, and does not help us or anyone in the least. At the end of the play, we do not see the characters blaming each other. The message is reconciliation and forgiveness

In addition to those who want to blame some person for the tragedy, there are also those who want to blame some larger intangible concept. Frontrunners for this distinction are:

1. The Family Feud. The star- crossed lovers were doomed from the start entirely because of their families hatred of one another.

2. Fate. The Prologue suggests this when it calls them "star-crossed lovers" and talks about "their death-mark'd love"

3. Lack of perspective. They were young, and they couldn't see past their fear of living without each other to make the right choice to go on living. If they could have done that, they probably would have ended up together in the end

4. Love. The love between Romeo and Juliet not only gave them happiness, it caused them pain and heartache, and eventually their lives.

5. Impetuousness. If they had only waited then time would have kept them apart and alive.

6. Society. A conveniently vague concept which can encompass everything else. Could be another way of saying "Everybody".

Perhaps it is very human to want to point the finger at something, but it is hard to know how saying "They died because of Fate" or "They died because of Love" really helps our understanding of the play.

William Shakespeare

What did William Shakespeare have written on his gravestone?

Do not edit spelling.

This is exactly the way it is written on his gravestone (with spelling errors).

Please see related source link below.

Good frend for Iesvs sake forbeare,

To digg the dvst encloased heare.

Bleste be ye man yt spares thes stones,

And cvrst be he yt moves my bones

To this day, his bones have not yet been touched or moved.

There is no reason to believe that Shakespeare had anything to do with what was written on his tombstone. It was probably chosen and written by his family after his death. There is no instruction in his will or elsewhere written by Shakespeare about how he was to be buried.
Good frend for jesus sake forbeare to
digg the dust encloased heare.
Blest be ye man yt spares thes stones and
curst be he yt moves my bones

William Shakespeare

What was the name of William Shakespeare's theatre company?

William Shakespeare's theatre company was The Chamberlain's Men, named after The Lord Chamberlain, an official responsible for royal and public entertainment.

In 1603, when Queen Elizabeth I died and King James I became king, the new king became their patron and the name was changed to The King's Men.

Shakespeare stayed with the Chamberlain's men (later King's men) throughout the last part of his career as an actor, playwright and administrator. Other companies he had worked with to perform his plays include the Earl of Derby's, The Earl of Pembroke's and the Earl of Sussex' men.

Before Lord Hunsdon became Lord Chamberlain, and for a brief period after his death, before his son also became Lord Chamberlain, they were Lord Hunsdon's Men.

William Shakespeare

When was Shakespeare by Matthew Arnold written?

"Shakespeare" appeared in "The Strayed Reveller and other poems", first published in 1849.

Drama and Acting
William Shakespeare
Globe Theatre

How did the theater goers during Shakespeare's time know that a play was going to be performed?

they used a flag. A flag was raised on the day of the performance that sometimes showed a symbol or picture that indicated what play was being performed.

Books and Literature
William Shakespeare

Why did Thomas Hardy disapprove establishing a Shakespeare Memorial Theatre?

Thomas Hardy was once invited to join a committee to establish a Shakespeare Memorial Theatre. His reply was that he was feeling against the desirability of such a memorial to Shakespeare. His observations and opinions on Shakespeare were uncommon but genuine. Hardy believed that Shakespeare did not particularly belong to the theatre world. His distinction as a theatre man was infinitesimal beside his distinction as a poet and as a man of letters. That his expression of himself was cast in the form of words for actors on the stage and not in the form of books to be read, was an accident of his social circumstances which he himself despised. Thomas Hardy here also made the prophetic remark that, of all poets of high rank whose works have taken a stage direction, Shakespeare will someday cease altogether to be acted on stage, and simply begin to be studied. Hardy thus proclaimed his stand against any material monument to the poet, as his works were a great monument. However he later consented to the commissioning of some 'colossal' statue in some place public. Hardy himself has noted these in his Life. He specifically noted the word 'colossal' to denounce the tastes of the vulgar minds of his times, which are exactly applicable to us in our modern times. Vulgarity never changes with Ages.

William Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet

What does she hangs upon a cheek of night mean?

It's a metaphor. Romeo is comparing Juliet to an earring which dangles against a person's cheek. The person's skin, like the night, is dark, and Juliet shines in the dark the way a jewelled earring might shine against the skin of a dark-skinned person. It is surely one of Shakespeare's most beautiful and evocative metaphors.

William Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet

Metaphor from Romeo and Juliet balcony scene?

"What light from yonder window breaks? It is the east and Juliet is the sun."

William Shakespeare
History of England
Century - 1600s

What did it mean to be a Moor in Shakespeare's time?

It meant someone of African extraction. It especially meant people from North Africa, but the same word was used to describe people from Sub-Saharan Africa, some of whom lived and worked in London at the time (usually as household servants).

English Language
William Shakespeare

How would Shakespeare say the date?

Something like "the twenty-sixth day of January in the year of our Lord two thousand and twenty", I should think.

William Shakespeare

Who were the friends of Claudius in Hamlet?

Polonius is about the only friend Claudius had and maybe the faithful guards and courtiers. Though even his allegiance is questionable, as he also would have served Hamlet Sr. similarly. Truly, Claudius does not have any notable friends in the play as most of the major roles are taken by his subordinates and enemies. For instance, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern followed their orders until their doom; however they were really just doing their jobs. It can be argued that Gertrude was Claudius' friend, considering she was his wife. But it is possible that like Polonius, she just shifted loyalties to suit who ever was in the seat of power.

William Shakespeare

What does the soothsayer say to Portia?

He doesn't know of any plot against Caesar but he fears it could happen. He's going to talk to Caesar

William Shakespeare
Globe Theatre

What theater company did William Shakespeare belong to after 1594?

The Lord Chamberlain's Men was formed in 1594 and Shakespeare was one of its charter members, so he didn't actually join it. He had by that time already written a few plays and was an actor. Later, under King James I, the Lord Chamberlain's men changed their name to the King's Men.

This company did not own the Globe Theatre or any theatre; that was a different group of partners, one of whom was also Shakespeare.

William Shakespeare

Who says O Hamlet what a falling off was there?

The Ghost, in Hamlet, Act 1 Scene 5

William Shakespeare

What is the resolution in the play Macbeth?

Macbeth and Macduff fight to the death, and Macduff comes out victorious. Malcolm becomes King of Scotland.

Drama and Acting
William Shakespeare

What does lusty winter Frosty but kindly mean in As You Like it mean?

The line is said by Adam, Orlando's elderly and faithful retainer. Adam is applying for the job as Orlando's servant. He says:

Let me be your servant;

Though I look old, yet I am strong and lusty;

For in my youth I never did apply

Hot and rebellious liquors in my blood,

Nor did not with unbashful forehead woo

The means of weakness and debility;

Therefore my age is as a lusty winter,

Frosty, but kindly. Let me go with you;

I'll do the service of a younger man

In all your business and necessities.

Adam is saying that he's in pretty good shape for an old man. Winter is often a symbol for old age, but Adam says that he is like a robust winter: although his hair is white ("frosty") he is helpful ("kindly").

Literature and Language
William Shakespeare

What conventions did Shakespeare use when writing his plays?

Very few. The only convention which he adheres to strictly is the convention that an actor should not exit at the end of one scene and enter at the beginning of the next. When the action is continuous, you can see how that might be useful.


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