Shakespeare – Module 2: Shakespeare’s Life, Influences and Craft – 1 of 5

Objective: To explore Shakespeare’s life, the events that influenced him and how he still influences us today.

I can feel the groan and the rolling of eyes…Shakespeare! Ugh, why does everyone go on about him? Well, as he once said “all the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.” Basically, he felt that his plays represented things that were happening in the world and the stories behind the plays are pretty good too (don’t let ye olde Shakespearean be a barrier)!

Task 1: Make a mindmap of everything you already know about Shakespeare. Consider what you may already know about life in Elizabethan/ Jacobean England. When was he born? How many wives did he have? What did he write?

Task 2: See if you can put the events, of Shakespeare’s life, in the order that they happened.

1 William acted in a play at the theatre for the last time.
2 William started school.
3 William and Anne had more children, twins Judith and Hamnet.
4 William married Anne Hathaway.
5 William and Anne’s first child Susanna was born, five months after their wedding.
6 After Hamnet’s death, William bought ‘New Place’, a big house in Stratford.
7 William’s parents, John Shakespeare and Mary Arden, were married.
8 William died in Stratford-upon-Avon.
9 When the twins were born, William started working in the theatre in London.
10 William was born in Stratford-upon-Avon.
11 William and Anne’s son Hamnet died, aged eleven.
12 William and Anne had more children, twins Judith and Hamnet.
13 After he started working in the theatre, William wrote his first plays.

1557 – William’s parents, John Shakespeare and Mary Arden, were married.
1564 – William was born in Stratford-upon-Avon.
1571 – William started school.
1582 – William married Anne Hathaway.
1583 – William and Anne’s first child Susanna was born, five months after their wedding.
1585 – William and Anne had more children, twins Judith and Hamnet.
1585 – When the twins were born, William started working in the theatre in London.
1589 – After he started working in the theatre, William wrote his first plays.
1596 – William and Anne’s son Hamnet died, aged eleven.
1597 – After Hamnet’s death, William bought ‘New Place’, a big house in Stratford.
1603 – William acted in a play at the theatre for the last time.
1616 – William died in Stratford-upon-Avon.

In the timeline above, Shakespeare’s career in writing and producing plays looks fairly straightforward. However, very few actors and playwrights earned any money at all…so how did Shakespeare do it? Well, he got himself a patron…

The only difference between the normal type of patronage show in the diagram and Shakespeare’s patronage was that Shakespeare’s patrons were monarchs (Queen Elizabeth I until 1603 and King James I until Shakespeare’s death).

Task 3: Watch the video below and add to your mindmap about Shakespeare. You need to add a minimum of 15 extra things that you learn from this video.

Task 4: Write 2 short summaries of no more than 80 words each.

A) Write one summary about the events that influenced Shakespeare.

B) Write one summary about how Shakespeare has influenced our world.

So, there we have it. Now you have a good grasp of the things that influenced Shakespeare and the ways that he has influenced our world and the English language.