On April 26, 1564 in the prosperous English town of Stratford-upon-Avon, the first son of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden was baptized and christened William Shakespeare. John Shakespeare was a glove, wool and leather merchant as well as a prominent Stratford citizen. As William grew up he attended the Stratford grammar school. A demanding curriculum emphasized the study of Latin and classical writers. Perhaps the base for young William's later works began to take form in his early years.
Upon leaving the grammar school, William did not become his father's apprentice or continue to university. What he did do for much of his youth is a mystery. In 1582 at the age of 18, the young Mr. Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway. Anne was the daughter of a farmer, 26 years old and pregnant. Their first child, Susanna, was born the following year and was followed by twins, Hamnet and Judith, in 1585. However, between the birth of the twins and 1592, the happenings of Shakespeare's life once again become a mystery.
By 1592 Shakespeare had become involved with the theatre in London. He wrote several poems which became popular and he came to own a share of a theatrical company known as the Lord Chamberlain's Men. The theatres reopened in 1594 after being shut down by the plague. The first of Shakespeare's plays was performed later that year. During most of his working life Shakespeare wrote at least two plays a year. However, it was his share in the acting company that gave him his wealth. For the playwriting itself, he received nothing. In 1597 he moved to New Place, a three-story house in Stratford. With the opening of the famous Globe theatre in 1599, Shakespeare's fortunes increased substantially. In 1608 the acting company began performing at Blackfriars after having changed their name to the King's Men.
In 1596 William's only son died at age 11. In 1601 his father John passed away. Elizabeth the first died in 1603.