-I was born April 26, 1564, in a place called Stratford Upon Avon. It's on the Avon River. It's a little over 100 miles west of London. I was third of eight children in my family.
My childhood home
My dad was a leather worker, making gloves and such. He was a land owner and had a pretty good amount of power in the neighborhood. He was a Burgess, which is like a City Council member.
What was your schooling like?
My dad was able to get me into good schools in the area. I studied Latin and writing and stuff.
Did you go to college and study writing?
No....we had money, but not that much money. I had studied enough, I thought. I wanted to act and to write. You couldn't get a degree in that, at the time. Besides, education wasn't really the be all and end all that some people think it is today. But, now it's a brave new world.
When I was 18, I married Anne Hathaway, who was 26. Don't confuse her with the Anne Hathaway that's what you call a film star today.....two completely different people.
And I'd like to clarify that, while I was accused of poaching (stealing) deer and rabbits off the land we lived on, I never did that. Well, not that much...And I moved to London because I wanted to, not to escape being punished for anything. In fact, I call that a barefaced lie.
The Globe Theatre in London. I chipped in money to help build it, although we did "recycle" (not steal) timbres from another theatre being dismantled, to build the Globe in 1599. A lot of my plays are still performed here.
We had three children: Susannah, and Hamnet and Judith, who were twins. Hamnet only lived to be 11. He died of (bubonic) plague.
What did you do, career-wise?
I started an actors group, we called ourselves Lord Chamberlain's Men. Later on we re-named ourselves The Kings' Men.
What do you think of the earring? I can't decide.
I continued to write and eventually, I wrote 38 plays, 154 sonnets, 2 narrative poems, and miscellaneous verse here and there as inspiration struck me.
We heard rumors that you are not, in fact, the author of the work you have credit for. Would you care to comment on that?
Some of that balderdash was strictly that. I heard someone say that my friend and classmate, Edward deVere, (the 17th Earl of Oxford and a relative of Queen Elizabeth) was the one who actually wrote my stuff. My challenge to you? Prove it!
Anything else you'd like to share?
I'm quite proud of the fact that I was tall: 6'4" ! That's exceedingly tall, don't you think?
Most people weren't as tall as me. And since clothes make the man, it was a challenge to find things to fit and that made me look good.
Oh, and there's always been a big deal made of the fact that I left my "second best bed" to my wife in my will. You have to understand: Usually, the man of the house (me) would leave the best parts of his estate to his children, even if they were girls. The wife then got the second best of everything. What I left to her was not a snub. In fact, that was the bed we used....it was a good bed. Don't be mad at me for that. This is one instance where you should not give the devil his due.
My Sonnet #116
Do you have any advice for those who might want to pursue a career in writing?
I suppose one of the best bits would be to remind that person: To thine own self be true. That is, don't do something you don't like just to fit in or to please someone. That kind of thinking is all greek to me. Don't be afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve; that way there's no doubt as to how you feel about things. Oh, and don't try to accomplish everything in one fell swoop. Give it time.
A partial listing of works by William Shakespeare:
*phrases in green are Things Shakespeare Said.