The Winter's Tale
The Winter's Tale is a play by William Shakespeare published in the First Folio of 1623. Although it was grouped among the comedies, some modern editors have relabelled the play as one of Shakespeare's late romances; some critics consider it to be one of Shakespeare's "problem plays" because the first three acts are filled with intense psychological drama, while the last two acts are comedic and supply a happy ending. The play has been intermittently popular, revived in productions in various forms and adaptations by some of the leading theatre practitioners in Shakespearean performance history, beginning after a long interval with David Garrick in his adaptation Florizel and Perdita; the Winter's Tale was revived again in the 19th century, when the fourth "pastoral" act was popular. In the second half of the 20th century, The Winter's Tale in its entirety, drawn from the First Folio text, was performed, with varying degrees of success. Following a brief setup scene the play begins with the appearance of two childhood friends: Leontes, King of Sicilia, Polixenes, the King of Bohemia.
Polixenes is visiting the kingdom of Sicilia, is enjoying catching up with his old friend. However, after nine months, Polixenes yearns to return to his own kingdom to tend to affairs and see his son. Leontes attempts to get Polixenes to stay longer, but is unsuccessful. Leontes decides to send his wife, Queen Hermione, to try to convince Polixenes. Hermione agrees and with three short speeches is successful. Leontes is puzzled as to how Hermione convinced Polixenes so and so he begins to suspect that his pregnant wife has been having an affair with Polixenes and that the child is Polixenes'. Leontes orders Camillo, a Sicilian Lord, to poison Polixenes. Camillo instead warns Polixenes and they both flee to Bohemia. Furious at their escape, Leontes now publicly accuses his wife of infidelity, declares that the child she is bearing must be illegitimate, he throws her in prison, over the protests of his nobles, sends two of his lords and Dion, to the Oracle at Delphos for what he is sure will be confirmation of his suspicions.
Meanwhile, the queen gives birth to a girl, her loyal friend Paulina takes the baby to the king, in the hopes that the sight of the child will soften his heart. He grows angrier and orders Paulina's husband, Lord Antigonus, to take the child and abandon it in a desolate place. Cleomenes and Dion return from Delphos with word from the Oracle and find Hermione publicly and humiliatingly put on trial before the king, she asserts her innocence, asks for the word of the Oracle to be read before the court. The Oracle states categorically that Hermione and Polixenes are innocent, Camillo is an honest man, that Leontes will have no heir until his lost daughter is found. Leontes shuns the news, refusing to believe it as the truth; as this news is revealed, word comes that Leontes' son, has died of a wasting sickness brought on by the accusations against his mother. At this, Hermione falls in a swoon, is carried away by Paulina, who subsequently reports the queen's death to her heartbroken and repentant husband.
Leontes vows to spend the rest of his days atoning for the loss of his son, his abandoned daughter, his queen. Antigonus, abandons the baby on the coast of Bohemia, reporting that Hermione appeared to him in a dream and bade him name the girl Perdita, he leaves a fardel by the baby containing gold and other trinkets which suggest that the baby is of noble blood. A violent storm appears, wrecking the ship on which Antigonus arrived, he wishes to take pity on the child, but is chased away in one of Shakespeare's most famous stage directions: "Exit, pursued by a bear." Perdita is rescued by a shepherd and his son known as "Clown." "Time" announces the passage of sixteen years. Camillo, now in the service of Polixenes, begs the Bohemian king to allow him to return to Sicilia. Polixenes refuses and reports to Camillo that his son, Prince Florizel, has fallen in love with a lowly shepherd girl: Perdita, he suggests to Camillo that, to take his mind off thoughts of home, they disguise themselves and attend the sheep-shearing feast where Florizel and Perdita will be betrothed.
At the feast, hosted by the Old Shepherd who has prospered thanks to the gold in the fardel, the pedlar Autolycus picks the pocket of the Young Shepherd and, in various guises, entertains the guests with bawdy songs and the trinkets he sells. Disguised and Camillo watch as Florizel and Perdita are betrothed. Tearing off the disguise, Polixenes angrily intervenes, threatening the Old Shepherd and Perdita with torture and death and ordering his son never to see the shepherd's daughter again. With the aid of Camillo, who longs to see his native land again and Perdita take ship for Sicilia, using the clothes of Autolycus as a disguise, they are joined in their voyage by his son who are directed there by Autolycus. In Sicilia, Leontes is still in mourning. Cleomenes and Dion plead with him to end his time of repentance. Paulina, convinces the king to remain unmarried forever since no woman can match the greatness of his lost Hermione. Florizel and Perdita arrive, they are greeted effusively by Leontes.
Florizel pretends to be on a diplomatic mission from his father, but his cover is blown when Polixenes and Camillo, arrive in Sicilia. The meeting and reconciliation of the kings and princes is reported by gentlemen of the Sicilian court: how the Old
Antony and Cleopatra
Antony and Cleopatra is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. The play was first performed, by the King's Men, at either the Blackfriars Theatre or the Globe Theatre in around 1607; the plot is based on Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's Lives and follows the relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony from the time of the Sicilian revolt to Cleopatra's suicide during the Final War of the Roman Republic. The major antagonist is Octavius Caesar, one of Antony's fellow triumvirs of the Second Triumvirate and the first emperor of the Roman Empire; the tragedy is set in the Roman Republic and Ptolemaic Egypt and is characterized by swift shifts in geographical location and linguistic register as it alternates between sensual, imaginative Alexandria and a more pragmatic, austere Rome. Many consider Shakespeare's Cleopatra, whom Enobarbus describes as having "infinite variety", as one of the most complex and developed female characters in the playwright's body of work, she is vain and histrionic enough to provoke an audience to scorn.
These contradictory features have led to famously divided critical responses. It is difficult to classify Cleopatra as belonging to a single genre, it can be described as a history play, as a tragedy, as a comedy, as a romance, according to some critics, such as McCarter, a problem play. All that can be said with certainty is that it is a Roman play, even a sequel to another of Shakespeare's tragedies, Julius Caesar. Mark Antony – one of the triumvirs of the Roman Republic, along with Octavius and Lepidus – has neglected his soldierly duties after being beguiled by Egypt's Queen, Cleopatra, he ignores Rome's domestic problems, including the fact that his third wife Fulvia rebelled against Octavius and died. Octavius calls Antony back to Rome from Alexandria to help him fight against Sextus Pompey and Menas, three notorious pirates of the Mediterranean. At Alexandria, Cleopatra begs Antony not to go, though he affirms his deep passionate love for her, he leaves; the triumvirs meet in Rome, where Octavius put to rest, for now, their disagreements.
Octavius' general, suggests that Antony should marry Octavius's sister, Octavia, in order to cement the friendly bond between the two men. Antony accepts. Antony's lieutenant Enobarbus, knows that Octavia can never satisfy him after Cleopatra. In a famous passage, he describes Cleopatra's charms: "Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale / Her infinite variety: other women cloy / The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry / Where most she satisfies." A soothsayer warns Antony that he is sure to lose if he tries to fight Octavius. In Egypt, Cleopatra learns of Antony's marriage to Octavia and takes furious revenge upon the messenger who brings her the news, she grows content only when her courtiers assure her that Octavia is homely: short, low-browed, round-faced and with bad hair. Before battle, the triumvirs parley with Sextus Pompey, offer him a truce, he can retain Sicily and Sardinia, but he must help them "rid the sea of pirates" and send them tributes. After some hesitation Sextus agrees.
They engage in a drunken celebration on Sextus' galley, though the austere Octavius leaves early and sober from the party. Menas suggests to Sextus that he kill the three triumvirs and make himself ruler of the Roman Republic, but he refuses, finding it dishonourable. After Antony departs Rome for Athens and Lepidus break their truce with Sextus and war against him; this is unapproved by Antony, he is furious. Antony returns to Alexandria and crowns Cleopatra and himself as rulers of Egypt and the eastern third of the Roman Republic, he accuses Octavius of not giving him his fair share of Sextus' lands, is angry that Lepidus, whom Octavius has imprisoned, is out of the triumvirate. Octavius agrees to the former demand, but otherwise is displeased with what Antony has done. Antony prepares to battle Octavius. Enobarbus urges Antony to fight on land, where he has the advantage, instead of by sea, where the navy of Octavius is lighter, more mobile and better manned. Antony refuses. Cleopatra pledges her fleet to aid Antony.
However, during the Battle of Actium off the western coast of Greece, Cleopatra flees with her sixty ships, Antony follows her, leaving his forces to ruin. Ashamed of what he has done for the love of Cleopatra, Antony reproaches her for making him a coward, but sets this true and deep love above all else, saying "Give me a kiss. Octavius sends a messenger to ask Cleopatra to come over to his side, she hesitates, flirts with the messenger, when Antony walks in and angrily denounces her behavior. He sends the messenger to be whipped, he forgives Cleopatra and pledges to fight another battle for her, this time on land. On the eve of the battle, Antony's soldiers hear strange portents, which they interpret as the god Hercules abandoning his protection of Antony. Furthermore, Antony's long-serving lieutenant, deserts him and goes over to Octavius' side. Rather than confiscating Enobarbus' goods, which Enobarbus did not take with him when he fled, Antony orders them to be sent to Enobarbus. Enobarbus is so overwhelmed by Antony's generosity, so ashamed of his own disloyalty, that he dies from a broken heart.
Antony loses the battle as his troops desert en masse and he denounces Cleopatr
Love's Labour's Lost
Love's Labour's Lost is one of William Shakespeare's early comedies, believed to have been written in the mid-1590s for a performance at the Inns of Court before Queen Elizabeth I. It follows the King of Navarre and his three companions as they attempt to swear off the company of women for three years of study and fasting, their subsequent infatuation with the Princess of France and her ladies makes them forsworn. In an untraditional ending for a comedy, the play closes with the death of the Princess's father, all weddings are delayed for a year; the play draws on themes of masculine love and desire and rationalisation, reality versus fantasy. Though first published in quarto in 1598, the play's title page suggests a revision of an earlier version of the play. While there are no obvious sources for the play's plot, the four main characters are loosely based on historical figures; the use of apostrophes in the play's title varies in early editions, though it is most given as Love's Labour's Lost.
The historical personages portrayed and the political situation in Europe relating to the setting and action of the play were familiar to Shakespeare's audiences. Scholars suggest that the play lost popularity as these historical and political portrayals of Navarre's court became dated and less accessible to theatergoers of generations; the play's sophisticated wordplay, pedantic humour and dated literary allusions may be reasons for its relative obscurity, as compared with Shakespeare's more popular works. Love's Labour's Lost was staged in the 19th century, but it has been seen more in the 20th and 21st centuries, with productions by both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, among others, it has been adapted as a musical, an opera, for radio and television and as a musical film. Love's Labour's Lost features the longest scene, the longest single word'honorificabilitudinitatibus', the longest speech in all of Shakespeare's plays. Ferdinand, King of Navarre, his three noble companions, the Lords Berowne and Longaville, take an oath not to give in to the company of women.
They devote themselves to three years of fasting. The King declares. Don Adriano de Armado, a Spaniard visiting the court, comes to tell the King of a tryst between Costard and Jaquenetta. After the King sentences Costard, Don Armado confesses his own love for Jaquenetta to his page, Moth. Don Armado asks Costard to deliver it; the Princess of France and her ladies arrive, wishing to speak to the King regarding the cession of Aquitaine, but must make their camp outside the court due to the decree. In visiting the Princess and her ladies at their camp, the King falls in love with the Princess, as do the lords with the ladies. Berowne gives Costard a letter to deliver to the lady Rosaline, which Costard switches with Don Armado's letter, meant for Jaquenetta. Jaquenetta consults two scholars and Sir Nathaniel, who conclude that the letter is written by Berowne and instruct her to tell the King; the King and his lords lie in hiding and watch one another as each subsequently reveals their feelings of love.
The King chastises the lords for breaking the oath, but Berowne reveals that the King is in love with the Princess. Jaquenetta and Costard accuse him of treason. Berowne confesses to breaking the oath, explaining that the only study worthy of mankind is that of love, he and the other men collectively decide to relinquish the vow. Arranging for Holofernes to entertain the ladies the men dress as Muscovites and court the ladies in disguise; the Queen's courtier Boyet, having overheard their planning, helps the ladies trick the men by disguising themselves as each other. When the lords return as themselves, the ladies expose their ruse. Impressed by the ladies' wit, the men apologize, when all identities are righted, they watch Holofernes, Sir Nathaniel, Costard and Don Armado present the Nine Worthies; the four lords and Boyet heckle the play, saving their sole praise for Costard, Don Armado and Costard come to blows when Costard reveals mid-pageant that Don Armado has got Jaquenetta pregnant. Their spat is interrupted by news.
The Princess makes plans to leave at once, she and her ladies, readying for mourning, declare that the men must wait a year and a day to prove their loves lasting. Don Armado announces he will swear a similar oath to Jaquenetta and presents the nobles with a song. Love's Labour's Lost is, along with Shakespeare's The Tempest, a play without any obvious sources; some possible influences on Love's Labour's Lost can be found in the early plays of John Lyly, Robert Wilson's The Cobbler's Prophecy and Pierre de la Primaudaye's L'Academie française. Michael Dobson and Stanley Wells comment that it has been conjectured that the plot derives from "a now lost account of a diplomatic visit made to Henry in 1578 by Catherine de Medici and her daughter Marguerite de Valois, Henry's estranged wife, to discuss the future of Aquitaine, but this is by no means certain." The four main male characters are all loosely based on historical figures. Biron in particular was well known in England because Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, had joined forces with Biron's army in support o
Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare early in his career about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths reconcile their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare's most popular plays during his lifetime and along with Hamlet, is one of his most performed plays. Today, the title characters are regarded as archetypal young lovers. Romeo and Juliet belongs to a tradition of tragic romances stretching back to antiquity; the plot is based on an Italian tale translated into verse as The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke in 1562 and retold in prose in Palace of Pleasure by William Painter in 1567. Shakespeare borrowed from both but expanded the plot by developing a number of supporting characters Mercutio and Paris. Believed to have been written between 1591 and 1595, the play was first published in a quarto version in 1597; the text of the first quarto version was of poor quality and editions corrected the text to conform more with Shakespeare's original.
Shakespeare's use of his poetic dramatic structure has been praised as an early sign of his dramatic skill. The play ascribes different poetic forms to different characters, sometimes changing the form as the character develops. Romeo, for example, grows more adept at the sonnet over the course of the play. Romeo and Juliet has been adapted numerous times for stage, film and opera venues. During the English Restoration, it was revived and revised by William Davenant. David Garrick's 18th-century version modified several scenes, removing material considered indecent, Georg Benda's Romeo und Julie omitted much of the action and added a happy ending. Performances in the 19th century, including Charlotte Cushman's, restored the original text and focused on greater realism. John Gielgud's 1935 version kept close to Shakespeare's text and used Elizabethan costumes and staging to enhance the drama. In the 20th and into the 21st century, the play has been adapted in versions as diverse as George Cukor's 1936 film Romeo and Juliet, Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 version Romeo and Juliet, Baz Luhrmann's 1996 MTV-inspired Romeo + Juliet.
The play, set in Verona, begins with a street brawl between Montague and Capulet servants who, like their masters, are sworn enemies. Prince Escalus of Verona intervenes and declares that further breach of the peace will be punishable by death. Count Paris talks to Capulet about marrying his daughter Juliet, but Capulet asks Paris to wait another two years and invites him to attend a planned Capulet ball. Lady Capulet and Juliet's nurse try to persuade Juliet to accept Paris's courtship. Meanwhile, Benvolio talks with Montague's son, about Romeo's recent depression. Benvolio discovers that it stems from unrequited infatuation for a girl named Rosaline, one of Capulet's nieces. Persuaded by Benvolio and Mercutio, Romeo attends the ball at the Capulet house in hopes of meeting Rosaline. However, Romeo instead falls in love with Juliet. Juliet's cousin, Tybalt, is enraged at Romeo for sneaking into the ball but is only stopped from killing Romeo by Juliet's father, who does not wish to shed blood in his house.
After the ball, in what is now called the "balcony scene", Romeo sneaks into the Capulet orchard and overhears Juliet at her window vowing her love to him in spite of her family's hatred of the Montagues. Romeo makes himself known to her and they agree to be married. With the help of Friar Laurence, who hopes to reconcile the two families through their children's union, they are secretly married the next day. Tybalt, still incensed that Romeo had sneaked into the Capulet ball, challenges him to a duel. Romeo, now considering Tybalt his kinsman, refuses to fight. Mercutio is offended by Tybalt's insolence, as well as Romeo's "vile submission", accepts the duel on Romeo's behalf. Mercutio is fatally wounded. Grief-stricken and wracked with guilt, Romeo slays Tybalt. Benvolio argues; the Prince, now having lost a kinsman in the warring families' feud, exiles Romeo from Verona, under penalty of death if he returns. Romeo secretly spends the night in Juliet's chamber. Capulet, misinterpreting Juliet's grief, agrees to marry her to Count Paris and threatens to disown her when she refuses to become Paris's "joyful bride".
When she pleads for the marriage to be delayed, her mother rejects her. Juliet visits Friar Laurence for help, he offers her a potion that will put her into a deathlike coma for "two and forty hours"; the Friar promises to send a messenger to inform Romeo of the plan so that he can rejoin her when she awakens. On the night before the wedding, she takes the drug and, when discovered dead, she is laid in the family crypt; the messenger, does not reach Romeo and, Romeo learns of Juliet's apparent death from his servant, Balthasar. Heartbroken, Romeo goes to the Capulet crypt, he encounters Paris. Believing Romeo to be a vandal, Paris, in the ensuing battle, Romeo kills Paris. Still believing Juliet to be dead, he drinks the poison. Juliet awakens and, discovering that Romeo is dead, stabs herself with his dagger and joins him in death; the feuding families and the Prince meet at the tomb to find all three dead. Friar Laurence recounts the story of the two "star-cross'd lovers"; the families are reconciled by their children's deaths and agree t
King John (play)
The Life and Death of King John, a history play by William Shakespeare, dramatises the reign of John, King of England, son of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine and father of Henry III of England. It is believed to have been written in the mid-1590s but was not published until it appeared in the First Folio in 1623. King John receives an ambassador from France who demands with a threat of war, that he renounce his throne in favour of his nephew, whom the French King Philip believes to be the rightful heir to the throne. John adjudicates an inheritance dispute between Robert Faulconbridge and his older brother Philip the Bastard, during which it becomes apparent that Philip is the illegitimate son of King Richard I. Queen Eleanor, mother to both Richard and John, recognises the family resemblance and suggests that he renounce his claim to the Falconbridge land in exchange for a knighthood. John knights the Bastard under the name Richard. In France, King Philip and his forces besiege the English-ruled town of Angiers, threatening attack unless its citizens support Arthur.
Philip is supported by Austria, believed to have killed King Richard. The English contingent arrives. Kings Philip and John stake their claims in front of Angiers' citizens, but to no avail: their representative says that they will support the rightful king, whoever that turns out to be; the French and English armies clash. Each army dispatches a herald claiming victory, but Angiers' citizens continue to refuse to recognize either claimant because neither army has proven victorious; the Bastard proposes that England and France unite to punish the rebellious citizens of Angiers, at which point they propose an alternative: Philip's son, Louis the Dauphin, should marry John's niece Blanche, a scheme that gives John a stronger claim to the throne, while Louis gains territory for France. Though a furious Constance accuses Philip of abandoning Arthur and Blanche are married. Cardinal Pandolf arrives from Rome bearing a formal accusation that John has disobeyed the pope and appointed an archbishop contrary to his desires.
John refuses whereupon he is excommunicated. Pandolf pledges his support for Louis, though Philip is hesitant, having just established family ties with John. Pandolf brings him round by pointing out that his links to the church are firmer. War breaks out. Eleanor is left in charge of English possessions in France, while the Bastard is sent to collect funds from English monasteries. John orders Hubert to kill Arthur. Pandolf suggests to Louis that he now has as strong a claim to the English throne as Arthur, Louis agrees to invade England. Hubert finds himself unable to kill Arthur. John's nobles urge Arthur's release. John is wrong-footed by Hubert's announcement that Arthur is dead; the nobles, defect to Louis' side. Upsetting and more heartbreaking to John is the news of his mother's death, along with that of Lady Constance; the Bastard reports. Hubert has a furious argument with John. John, sends him to report the news to the nobles. Arthur dies jumping from a castle wall; the nobles believe he was murdered by John, refuse to believe Hubert's entreaties.
John attempts to make a deal with Pandolf, swearing allegiance to the Pope in exchange for Pandolf's negotiating with the French on his behalf. John orders the Bastard, one of his few remaining loyal subjects, to lead the English army against France. While John's former noblemen swear allegiance to Louis, Pandolf explains John's scheme, but Louis refuses to be taken in by it; the Bastard arrives to no avail. War breaks out with substantial losses on each side, including Louis' reinforcements, who are drowned during the sea crossing. Many English nobles return to John's side after a dying French nobleman, warns them that Louis plans to kill them after his victory. John is poisoned by a disgruntled monk, his nobles gather around him. The Bastard plans the final assault on Louis' forces, until he is told that Pandolf has arrived with a peace treaty; the English nobles swear allegiance to John's son Prince Henry, the Bastard reflects that this episode has taught that internal bickering could be as perilous to England's fortunes as foreign invasion.
King John is related to an anonymous history play, The Troublesome Reign of King John, the "masterly construction" but infelicitous expression of which led Peter Alexander to argue that Shakespeare's was the earlier play. E. A. J. Honigmann elaborated these arguments, both in his preface to the second Arden edition of King John, in his 1982 monograph on Shakespeare's influence on his contemporaries; the majority view, first advanced in a rebuttal of Honigmann's views by Kenneth Muir, holds that the Troublesome Reign antedates King John by a period of several years. Shakespeare derived from Holinshed's Chronicles certain verbal points of action. Honigmann discerned in the play the influence of John Foxe's Acts and Monuments, Matthew Paris' Historia Maior, the Latin Wakefield Chronicle, but Muir demonstrated that this apparent influence could be explained by the priority of the Trou
William Shakespeare was an English poet and actor regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon", his extant works, including collaborations, consist of 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men known as the King's Men. At age 49, he appears to have retired to Stratford. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive; such theories are criticised for failing to adequately note that few records survive of most commoners of the period.
Shakespeare produced most of his known works between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were comedies and histories and are regarded as some of the best work produced in these genres; until about 1608, he wrote tragedies, among them Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, all considered to be among the finest works in the English language. In the last phase of his life, he collaborated with other playwrights. Many of Shakespeare's plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy in his lifetime. However, in 1623, two fellow actors and friends of Shakespeare's, John Heminges and Henry Condell, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of Shakespeare's dramatic works that included all but two of his plays; the volume was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Jonson presciently hails Shakespeare in a now-famous quote as "not of an age, but for all time". Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, Shakespeare's works have been continually adapted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance.
His plays remain popular and are studied and reinterpreted through various cultural and political contexts around the world. William Shakespeare was the son of John Shakespeare, an alderman and a successful glover from Snitterfield, Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent landowning farmer, he was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and baptised there on 26 April 1564. His actual date of birth remains unknown, but is traditionally observed on 23 April, Saint George's Day; this date, which can be traced to a mistake made by an 18th-century scholar, has proved appealing to biographers because Shakespeare died on the same date in 1616. He was the third of eight children, the eldest surviving son. Although no attendance records for the period survive, most biographers agree that Shakespeare was educated at the King's New School in Stratford, a free school chartered in 1553, about a quarter-mile from his home. Grammar schools varied in quality during the Elizabethan era, but grammar school curricula were similar: the basic Latin text was standardised by royal decree, the school would have provided an intensive education in grammar based upon Latin classical authors.
At the age of 18, Shakespeare married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway. The consistory court of the Diocese of Worcester issued a marriage licence on 27 November 1582; the next day, two of Hathaway's neighbours posted bonds guaranteeing that no lawful claims impeded the marriage. The ceremony may have been arranged in some haste since the Worcester chancellor allowed the marriage banns to be read once instead of the usual three times, six months after the marriage Anne gave birth to a daughter, baptised 26 May 1583. Twins, son Hamnet and daughter Judith, followed two years and were baptised 2 February 1585. Hamnet died of unknown causes at the age of 11 and was buried 11 August 1596. After the birth of the twins, Shakespeare left few historical traces until he is mentioned as part of the London theatre scene in 1592; the exception is the appearance of his name in the "complaints bill" of a law case before the Queen's Bench court at Westminster dated Michaelmas Term 1588 and 9 October 1589. Scholars refer to the years between 1585 and 1592 as Shakespeare's "lost years".
Biographers attempting to account for this period have reported many apocryphal stories. Nicholas Rowe, Shakespeare's first biographer, recounted a Stratford legend that Shakespeare fled the town for London to escape prosecution for deer poaching in the estate of local squire Thomas Lucy. Shakespeare is supposed to have taken his revenge on Lucy by writing a scurrilous ballad about him. Another 18th-century story has Shakespeare starting his theatrical career minding the horses of theatre patrons in London. John Aubrey reported; some 20th-century scholars have suggested that Shakespeare may have been employed as a schoolmaster by Alexander Hoghton of Lancashire, a Catholic landowner who named a certain "William Shakeshafte" in his will. Little evidence substantiates such stories other than hearsay collected after his death, Shakeshafte was a common name in the Lancashire area, it is not known definitively when Shakespeare began writing, but contemporary allusions and records of performances show that several of