William Shakespeare William Shakespeare was a great English playwright, dramatist and poet who lived during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Shakespeare is considered to be the greatest playwright of all time. No other writer's plays have been produced so many times or read so widely in so many countries as his. Shakespeare was born to middle class parents. His father, John, was a Stratford businessman. He was a glove maker who owned a leather shop. John Shakespeare was a well-known and respected man in the town. He held several important local governmental positions. William Shakespeare's mother was Mary Arden. Though she was the daughter of a local farmer, she was related to a wealthy family. Mary Arden and John Shakespeare were married in 1557.
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford in 1564. He was one of eight children. The Shakespeare's were well-respected prominent people. When William Shakespeare was about seven years old, he probably began attending the Stratford Grammar School with other boys of his social class. Students went to school year round attending school for nine hours a day. The teachers were strict disciplinarians. Though Shakespeare spent long hours at school, his boyhood was probably fascinating. Stratford was a lively town and during holidays, it was known to put on pageants and many popular shows. It also held several large fairs during the year. Stratford was an exciting place to live. Stratford also had fields and woods surrounding it giving William the opportunity to hunt and trap small game. The River Avon, which ran through the town, allowed him to fish also. Shakespeare's' poems and plays show his love of nature and rural life which reflects his childhood.