The History of SHAKESPEARE – Made Simple!

Since I’m a theater major and I’m supposed to care direly about Shakespeare and his antics, considering today is the last day anybody has record of his magnificent presence, let’s talk about Shakespeare. Shakey was born… well, nobody actually knows, but it’s speculated that he was born April 23rd, 1564, due to a tiny Shakey being baptized on April 26th (of the same year). So little Willy was born right about here in England in the market medieval town of Stratford-upon-Avon (previously Stratford-on-Avon) Oh yeah, and Shakespeare was born during Queen Elizabeth I’s, aka the Virgin Queen’s rule, who, conveniently enough was super open to the expansion of art & theater, Unlike her predecessor Queen Mary I, who was her sister, and is commonly known as Bloody Mary. But, back to Shakespeare. He was born to a glove maker and leather worker, John Shakespeare, and his mother Mary Arden, aka Mary Shakespeare, who was the daughter to a guy who had a lot of land. Mary gave birth to eight children, One of them being little Shakey, who dreamed of one day of being an actor. He was supposedly educated at the King’s New School, which was a free school, because his parents weren’t very wealthy. He learned a lot of good grammar skills and some Greek mythology here, amongst some other pretty rad things that will help him to become who he will be. So after Willy was done with all the educational stuff and moved on, he met Anne Hathaway, who he was married to at 18, with her being 26. Some people were against it, but he got through it relatively fast. After being married for a whopping six months, Willy fathered Susanna Shakespeare, and also had twins Hamnet and Judeth almost 2 years later. So after the birth of (not dead yet) Hamnet and Judeth, Shakey went off to explore the world in the theater department. So off he went, to somewhere nobody knows. Because nobody does know what happened to Shakespeare between 1585 and 1592, but we can speculate that he was pumping out and making magic and making great things. But even before that time, Shakespeare was an actor, and a pretty decent one at most. He was found to be playing a crow on a pamphlet in London in 1592. Conveniently enough though, it was found that some of Shakespeare’s works were being performed between 1590 and 1592, including some great works you most certainly heard of from your English class, such as his series of King Henry VI, Richard III, and the Comedy of Errors. Nice. Inconveniently enough, this nasty thing called the Bubonic Plague swept over London in 1593, and almost all the theaters closed down due to health precautions. Sadly back then, they did not have this thing called hand soap, because it was found that this actually cured the Bubonic Plague. Ironically, nobody really bathed at the time, maybe once or twice a year. In this time, Willy sat and wrote some cool poems, Including Venice and Adonis, and the Rape of Lucrece. It’s also speculated during this, he started writing some neat stuff like his sonnets. He wrote a lot of these, But only 154 of them survived. A chunk of these written out in love to another man, and to “The Dark Lady.” They’re… pretty cute and comical. During the Plague, he also lost his sisters Joan, Margaret and Anne, and his brother Edmund. He also lost his son Hamnet at the time, but nobody knows if this was due to the Plague or what. Kind of tragic. Speaking of tragic, let’s talk about what I like to call Shakey’s Golden Ages. There was nothing tragic about it, just what he mainly wrote were tragedies. and histories. and also some comedies here and there. So now that Shakey’s an established actor and writer, he became a shareholder to the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, which were essentially a bunch of acting nerds who were pretty famous in London for the time. He (Shakespeare) was with these guys for the rest of his acting career and occasionally played for the Virgin Queen herself. Whether this would be for his acting or his plays. Mostly his plays though, don’t get confused. During this time in 1595, some of his more known plays were written, Including Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the Merchant of Venice. He somehow from this began bathing in wealth, because plays were the equivalent to American football back in the day, and bought a very large home in Stratford in 1597. For some awful reason. Because he continued living in London anyways. So after all of this, Him (Shakespeare) and his smelly nerds established the Globe Theater, On the outskirts of London, right about here. This is because people believed theater was a sin at the time because it was deceitful and challenged many religious ideals. It was also said to be disease-ridden, due to many sickly people gathering here, even though people did the same thing at churches. Which were in the center of London. He also wrote Hamlet and Othello during this time. So then King James I came to the throne in 1606, and he was also a pretty chill guy. He gave a special licence to Shakespeare and the smelly men, licencing them as “The King’s Men.” This is just a big status thing in London at the time, and it was seen as a pretty big thing. So now that the Lord Chamberlain’s Men were even more powerful and more wealthy, even more power and prosperity came to them when Shakespeare wrote some more plays like Macbeth, King Lear, and Antony and Cleopatra in 1609. Shakey slowly started to begin a little sick and began to die in 1616, which was 400 years ago from today. Conveniently, and tragically on the same day as his birthday. Shakey left most of his wealth to his daughters, and a little bit went to his sister, theatrical partners, friends, the neighbor’s dog, and all the poor in Stratford. As for his wife, she just got the mattress. He then died, leaving the world with a high score of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, and 2 poems. Many people at the time also tried bootlegging his work and selling it. It came to show that Hamlet became one of the world’s most performed plays, if not the world’s most performed play(s). He left behind a legacy that would be taught through high schools and theater enthusiasts everywhere. And that’s a wrap. Thank you for watching my very first episode of Made Simple. If you enjoyed this, share it with a friend, subscribe, and write in the comments what you’d like to learn next. Have a great day! Stay awesome. And, Shakespeare, I love you man, but, I mean, Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Kyd deserve some recognition, too. (you know?)


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