England's greatest poet and playwright was born in Stratford, the son of a tradesman and Alderman of Stratford, John Shakespeare in 1564. William, the eldest son, and third child of eight, was baptized on the 26th April 1564. He received his early education at Stratford Grammar School, but little is known of his life up to his eighteenth year. His Grammar School curriculum would have provided a formidable linguistic, and to some extent literary education. It is noted that he did not like grammar but did have a love for dramatics.
Shakespeare attended Kings New School in Stratford which was one of the best grammar schools. Shakespeare read many books. He used some of these books as sources for his plays.
One of his most prominent sources of literature was the book The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre families of Lancaster and York written by Hall. Shakespeare used this book to help inscribe his plays about many kings including three plays about Henry VI and a play written about Richard III. Also he wrote Othello on the basis of Hecatommithi and Twelfth Night on the basis of His Farewell to Military Profession. More than fifty percent of Shakespeares plays were influenced from various groups of topics.
Other things that influenced Shakespeares plays were his life experiences. As a young boy dramatic events that occurred led to his writing of Hamlet. The drowning of a girl named Katherine he knew was also a source of his playwriting.
History affected his writing as well. One of Shakespeares most heralded plays was based on the life and demise of Julius Caesar. He gathered information about Caesar, and with his literary brilliance wrote about Caesar and his story in a unique perspective. Also the life of Marc Antony was very influential in one of Shakespeares great plays, as well as the bible and other chronicles. Many of these influences were brought upon by his education, which taught his a lot about history and its figures.
Many reasons can be given for Shakespeare's enormous appeal. His fame basically is from his great understanding of human nature. He was able to find universal human qualities and put them in a dramatic situation creating characters that are timeless. Yet he had the ability to create characters that are highly individual human beings. Their struggles in life are universal. Sometimes they are successful and sometimes their lives are full of pain, suffering, and failure.
In addition to his understanding and realistic view of human nature, Shakespeare had a vast knowledge of a variety of subjects. These subjects include music, law, Bible, stage, art, politics, history, hunting, and sports. Shakespeare had a tremendous influence on culture and literature throughout the world. He contributed greatly to the development of the English language. Many words and phrases from Shakespeare's plays and poems have become part of our speech. Shakespeare's plays and poems have become a required part of education in the United States. Therefore, his ideas on subjects such as romantic love, heroism, comedy, and tragedy have helped shape the attitudes of millions of people. His description of historical figures and events has influenced our thinking more than what has been written in history books. The world has admired and respected many great writers, but only Shakespeare has generated such enormous continuing interest.