William Shakespeare

April 15, 1564 - April 15, 1616

BACKROUND

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England on April 23, 1564. He attended King Edward VI Grammar School in Stratford, where he learned Latin grammar and literature. In 1582, he married 26 year-old Anne Hathaway at the age of 18. In 1583, William’s first child, Susanna was born. In 1585, he had twins, Hamlet and Judith. Between 1589 and 1590, William is believed to have written his first play, Henry VIII. By 1592, William had begun a career as a playwright in London. Two years later, he was an actor and part-owner of a playwright company, Lord Chamberlain’s Men. The company was successful and was adopted by King James I. It was then renamed The King’s Men.

To be or not to be, that is the question —
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep —
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to — ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep —
To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life,
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch[1] and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,

And lose the name of action