William Shakespeare has written some of the most romantic plays , sonnets and poems in existence today. One of his most famous sonnets, Sonnet 116: Let me not to the marriage of true minds, is about how true love will never be vanquished with the passing of time.
Another, Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day?, tells of a lady more beautiful than a lush summer’s day. Within his repertoire Shakespeare has also written many romantic comedies and tragedies, from A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Romeo and Juliet. One of the best lines from Shakespeare’s entire works is "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?"
But who is this man to have penned such beautiful words?
William Shakespeare is said to have been born in the town of Stratford-Upon-Avon on the 23rd of April, 1564. Three days later he was baptised a Catholic, which has been verified by the register of the Holy Trinity Parish Church.
His father, John Shakespeare, was a commoner, while his mother, Mary Arden, was from an aristocratic family. John and Mary had two children before William, but both children died from the Black Plague when they were young. This made William the firstborn son. He had five brothers and sisters: Gilbert, Joan, Anne, Richard and Edmund.
Unfortunately for William, when he was 18 years old, he brought home a woman named Anne Hathaway, believed to be 26 years old at the time, and also three months pregnant. After much scandal and gossip, the pair were quickly married in May of 1583, and their first child, Susanna Shakespeare, was born six months later.
Two years after Susanna’s birth, Mary gave birth to twins, Hamnet and Judith Shakespeare. Again, tragedy hit the family; young Hamnet died at age 11, most likely killed by the Black Plague.
Sometime between 1585 and 1592, William left his home Stratford, and went to London to make his fortune as a famous playwright and poet. However, his wife, Anne and family did not join him on this venture.
Instead they stayed in Stratford, only seeing William when he visited them in between writing plays and staging theatrical productions in the city.
It seems odd that William would live in London, hardly seeing his children or wife. Perhaps this suggests William and Anne never truly loved each other, and their marriage was only for the sake of society.
When William died on the 23th of April, 1616, he left behind his last will and testament, which reveals much about his relationships with the women in his life. To his daughter Judith, William left her money that her future husband would not be able to use.
To his sister Joan, William left her a small sum and the house of their father. To his granddaughter Elizabeth, William left her all his silver.
To his wife, William left her his ‘second best bed’, and 1/3 of his estate. William left a little bit of money to his friends, nephews and the poor of Stratford.
But to his daughter Susanna, and her husband Dr John Hall, William left everything else. Susanna and Dr John Hall took care of William in his final months, and it seems that William loved Susanna more than his wife.
It remains a mystery how a great a writer as William Shakespeare could compose such beautiful words and poetry, when he himself was never in love.
Anonymous is released 28th October.