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Shakespeare was the most popular playwright in London.at that time. As centuries have passed, his genius eclipses all others of his age; Jonson, Marlowe, Kyd, Greene, Dekker, Heywood-none approach the craft or the humanity of character that marks William Shakespeare’s work.
He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, on April 23, 1564. Church records from Holy Trinity Church indicate that he was baptized there on April 26, 1564. Young William was born of John Shakespeare, a glover and leather merchant, and Mary Arden, a landed local heiress. William, according to the church register, was the third of eight children in the Shakespeare household-three of whom died in childhood. John Shakespeare had a remarkable run of success as a merchant, alderman, and high bailiff of Stratford, during William's early childhood
At the age of eighteen Shakespeare got married ; Anne Hathaway, a woman of twenty-six, became his wife. Their first child, Susanna, was born five months after the wedding (baptized May 1583). Twins, Hamnet and Judith, were born in February 1585. Before he was twenty-one, Shakespeare was the father of three young children, with a wife nearing thirty. There were no more children, and, though Stratford remained his home, Shakespeare lived his professional life in London, several days' journey away (unless you were extravagant enough to hire post-horses).
His presence in London in 1592 is known from an attack on him by Robert Greene (1558-92), man of letters and playwright, who deeply resented Shakespeare coming from the ranks of the actors to undertake the writing of plays. Greene, six years Shakespeare's senior, came from a back¬ground of provincial trade very similar to his, his father being a Norwich saddler. But his distinction from Shakespeare was that he had won his way to Cambridge, and was Master of Arts of that university. He considered Shakespeare as a threat to educated university men like himself as provider of plays to the young professional theatre.
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